A walk I should not have been here for. Instead I should have been driving north and walking up Glenridding Dodd and Sheffield Pike in the Lake District. However a simple, but huge, water leak in the property we should have stayed at, has stopped any hope of a week in Lakes. The phone call came about 10 hours before we were due to be in the car, in fact the car was mostly packed. I was devastated, one of my boys cried. Its perhaps in these times that you realise what is important and what you miss most. We, as a family, value this week above any other. A virus may have stopped us but in the end it was H2O. Plans changed and visits locally were made. I needed to get away and I stuck with the coastal theme that has served me well recently. This is a walk probably with more history than is made of in this area. Slapton Sands holds a key part in the Normandy landings, as it was one of the practice sites. For 6 months the US army barrelled onto this beach until they were ready. One awful day resulted in enemy Uboats picking off the soldiers readying for their D Day, 600 plus died just practising. This walk takes you along that beach and tells its story on a small board at the south end of the beach alongside a fine Sherman tank memorial. Maybe my loss for this week was put into perspective by this walk.
|Start – Beesands parking
|Route – South west coastal path – Torcross – Slapton Ley – Slapton Sands memorial – Frittiscombe – Stokenham – Beeson – Beesands
|Distance – 6.5 miles Start time – Midday Time taken – 4hrs 30mins Highest Point –Somewhere around Frittiscombe 90metres
|Weather – Sunny and then clouds building as the walk went on
© Crown copyright 2020 Ordnance Survey FL 2020 SF
Beesands and their big boulders. I guess for defence against the sea
Beesands which is just a lovely spot. Froward Point to the right in the distance. We will climb up into the trees to the left in a bit
You climb the woodland and get these great views back to Beesands with Start Point beyond
Plenty of Speckled Wood butterflies in here
We are descending out of the woodland with Start Bay in front of us. To be honest to this point all we had spoken about was the Lake District and spending the week with cousins. It was a walk we didn’t want to be on and we struggled to get the disappointment out of our systems
Slapton Ley, now this is a natural wonder of our country. Being separated from the sea by the shingle beach and bar to the right. Its the largest freshwater lake in the south west and home to bittern and warbler. The bar stops the sea from destroying this key habitat, but is under constant erosion from the tide. Such a special place
Slapton is also home to the practice grounds of the Normandy landings. Particularly the US practice areas. This Sherman tank stands at the south end of the beach. My eldest gave me every detail of this tank whilst we looked at it. The board on the right gave nothing like his figures of range, barrel size and armour thickness!!
Slapton Sands and bar. This road was repaired recently, back in 2000 when it was damaged by tides. The Ley to the left is in danger
All calm today as we look back to Start Point
The A379 on Slapton Sands. My eldest thought this would make a good F1 starting grid!!
Beautiful here at Slapton
A fine memorial from our US counterparts to the people of this area who gave up their houses, farms and grounds to enable the US Army to practice and hone skills, which were the key to winning WW2
Heading inland and looking back to Slapton Ley
My youngest took this and I quite like it
Not our finest faces but we are all here!
Now this fella was just by the path, I’m within 3 metres here. And it didn’t budge. A couple of dogs came from the other way and I asked the owners to put a lead on them. Which they did, still this fella would not move. Eventually on his own time he strode off and back to the the marginal areas around the lake.
The boardwalk around the Ley
Away from the Ley the road climbs, giving views back down towards the Ley and the sea and the gathering cloud
Stokenham church a lovely village
Its not tools that entice a Devon local!
Back round to Beesands now and this view to the beach and the smaller lake, with Froward point in the distance. The cloud has come in now but its still humid. To finish we grabbed a bite to eat from the fine crab shack by the beach and a drink from the Cricket Inn, to keep the local businesses going.