For a day of seaside treats, it’s hard to beat Teignmouth and Shaldon. Separated by the Teign estuary, the two offer a host of delightful activities.
Teignmouth has the bustling air of a working coastal town (“it’s a drinking town with a fishing problem,” a local joked), while Shaldon is a pastel-pretty unspoilt village. On this circular walk, enjoy a historic ferry crossing, smugglers’ tunnel, tiny zoo, hidden beach, fish and chips, botanic gardens, grand pier, promenade, cream tea, ice cream and beach huts. Phew.
1. Merry ferry
Head south to pick up the foot ferry at the base of Lifeboat Lane. This nippy craft, strung with bunting flapping in the breeze, zips passengers over to Shaldon for £1.50.
Hop off at Shaldon Beach and walk left along Marine Parade. Just before the Ness Pub, take the footpath on your left to the peak of the Ness Cliff.
2. Cliff view and zoo
Follow the footpath south-west through shady deciduous woodland. Turn right, passing wafts of potent aromas from Shaldon Zoo. This tiny zoo houses rare animals such as golden lion tamarins and Owston’s civets. Pop in to hear keeper talks before continuing down Marine Parade.
3. Hidden Cove
Follow enticing signs for the old Smugglers' Tunnel. This dimly lit and solidly bricked passage takes intrepid explorers down to Ness Cove. Stroll along the shore or take a refreshing dip at this secluded beach sheltered by cliffs, before retracing your steps back to Marine Parade.
4. Fish and chips
Wander uphill to Café ODE for delicious fish and chips, before heading west to reach Torquay Road. Here, turn right and continue along the road for a short stretch; take the first right along Horse Lane to enter Homeyards Botanical Garden.
5. Garden gem
This tranquil sloping garden is a little gem offering enchanting views over the estuary. Meander through the park, full of quaint attractions such as the castle ruin and the witches cave. Exit the gardens and wend your way down through Shaldon’s twisting streets, thatched roofs and Georgian architecture, until you reach Bridge Road.
6. Teignmouth time
Cross Shaldon Bridge and take the footpath on the right as it skirts between the railway track and football club. Continue east until a footbridge crosses the railway tracks and takes you into Teignmouth town centre, buzzing with independent shops, cafes and restaurants.
7. Pier and Promenade
Amble south along the promenade, taking in the 152-year-old Grand Pier, or watch families playing on the sand and shingle beach, which is interspersed with wooden groynes. Enjoy a cream tea by the sea at the Beachcomber Café, or saunter along the promenade with an ice cream.
8. Harbour Views
Walk north along the estuary back to your starting point at Sea Sports SouthWest. Here you can try your hand at paddleboard yoga – or just unwind with a pint at The Ship Inn or the New Quay Inn, while watching brightly coloured boats bob as shags swoop low over the water.
Find out more about Teignmouth
Images: Alamy, Getty
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