20090407_Morning Walk into Shaldon and other stuff
Who : Me and my family
Where : Shaldon, Near Teignmouth, River Teign, Devon
Map : 1:50,000 OS Landranger Map 202, Torbay & South Dartmoor area. (but just for ref. purposes, not needed for this little walk).
Start + End Point : 915,722 to 935,722 (very top right of the map !)
Approx Distance : about 1.5 miles, 2.5 km maybe (if that)
Heights : None
Parking : Limited on street parking in Shaldon Village; Large C.P. at The Ness.
Public Transport : Busses run along the coast road through Shaldon.
Summary : A walk from The Devon Valley Holiday Park ; River Teign & estuary ; Shaldon Village in the morning (+ a couple of revisits to Shaldon in the afternoon + evening)
We had now transferred our overnight location from Brixham to Shaldon, just a few miles further north along the Devon coastline. In effect though, we were staying a little way outside of Shaldon village in a self catering chalet on The Devon Valley Holiday Park [ http://www.devonvalley.biz/ ] and after breakfast we’d decided that the initial activity of the day (you could almost call it non-activity) was for some more crabbing, this time from a small concrete jetty on the waters-front in Shaldon itself. Justine and I have stayed in Shaldon on at least a couple of occasions and is a lovely quiet place for a holiday by the sea. In fact I think Justine used to be taken here by her parents when she was little.
As it was a fine morning (despite some ominous looking clouds), I thought I’d take a walk down the road, just to stretch my legs really, and it didn’t take long to persuade the kids it’d be good for them too … I suppose the point of this little post is just to show that I’ll try to take any opportunity for a bit of a walk, no matter how short, and even though this was pretty much a stroll almost entirely on a minor road. It also gives an opportunity to show what brill’ places there are in England and I hope my words and pic’s convey this, at least a little.
The three of us set off ,with Justine driving the car on ahead [with the bucket, crabbing lines and remaining bacon left over from the Brixham sessions] with the thought that it’d take almost as long to find a parking spot as it would for us to arrive on foot.
The start of the walk was on a minor road through pretty countryside (no footpath though), which eventually brought us into the outskirts of Shaldon and then down to the banks of the River Teign at a small park. The tidal river becomes quite broad here with lots of shallows producing a rather tranquil, gentle scene.
The main A379 road crosses the estuary over a long low bridge connecting the olde worlde, rather quaint village of Shaldon with the larger, traditional holiday resort of Teignmouth and its small working port. The picturesque black and white bridge crosses the river seemingly preventing all but the smallest of craft navigating upstream.
There are over twenty sets of supports sunk into the river bed and it effectively seems to separate the estuary/port area (known as “The Salty”) from the river upstream; the upstream section always has remarkably few boats, whenever I’ve been here.
Once on the front in Shaldon, the dominant view is past the sand spit and harbour wall on the Teignmouth side, out to “The Ness”, or “Ness Point”. The Ness is a shapely sand-stone promontory, marking the northern end of Babbacombe bay. The sand spit stretches almost all the way over to the Shaldon side. I’d say at low tide (and with a reasonably strong arm) it really is just a stones throw distance away.
However, the river Teign has got to reach the sea, and the wash through the small channel appears to be quite severe. The river outflow has to fight the tide as it comes in, and positively speeds out to sea on the ebb; I think swimming would be extremely hazardous, if not nigh on impossible when the tide is on the turn. The channel at high tide, despite it’s narrowness, is deep enough for sizeable cargo ships to enter and leave; it’s quite a remarkable sight. To make the short distance across the estuary, a foot passenger ferry (a small open boat) shuttles back and forth throughout the day so saving quite a sizeable trek via the bridge.
Anyway, that’s about it really, once my wife and kids had finished their crabbing session (37 crabs caught in just under an hour … wow!) we packed up and set off for the model village at Babbacombe, a real must-do when in the area.
We then called in at Maidencombe beach for a picnic, where the kids had a run about on the sand, which they had almost completely to themselves and also tried their hand at another spot of crabbing from the rocks (unsuccessfully this time). The South West Coast Path passes slightly inland from the beach, close to a super pub (The Thatched Tavern) but more of that in my next walks diary where I got to do a “proper” strenuous walk along the SWCP.
Later that day, we ended up back at Shaldon, hoping for a fish and chip supper overlooking the harbour … but the village “chippy” was shut ! So after a little wander along the front again, we jumped back into the car and drove over the bridge into Teignmouth where we found a fish and chip shop which was open.
We then found a spot looking out to sea in a car park (forming part of the main harbour break-water/sea defence wall) to eat them directly out of the packet with our fingers – Yummy! We all tried sitting on some steps dropping down to the sea, but the cool <actually it was cold> breeze and sea-spray forced the others back into the car, leaving hardy old me to brave the elements on my own (hardy or fool-hardy, you can decide for yourself). I was rewarded with the sight of the RNO cargo ship “Elbia” leaving the harbour through the narrow channel just as I described above. The size of the ship seemed completely out of scale to The Ness behind.
Wandering around eating the last of my chips from the packet also allowed me a mini-explore on the sheltered, harbour side of the sea wall with its selection of beach huts and rowing boats over looking “The Salty” and the dock side.
Well that was another super holiday day gone, all too soon I might add. Why is it that a day on holiday has less hours in it than a day when you’re at work ?- It’s just not fair!!!
Only a couple of days later, we were back in Shaldon Village for our last evening meal of the hol’s [at The London Inn, near the village bowling green] and a final stroll along the front, where my family took great delight in me almost getting a shoe full of sea whilst attempting a long exposure photo at the waters edge … and Yes, I think the image was just about worth it, considering it was hand-held and I was trying to dodge the waves at the time.
I hope you enjoyed my scribblings [and pic’s] ….
Next post = 20090408_SWCP-Coast Path Babbacombe-Shaldon Walk