Torcross to Beesands
This is the third in our Big Walks for Little Legs series – a chance to walk an absolutely stunning section of the South West Coast Path, from Torcross to Beesands and back again, that’s manageable for little legs.
One of the great things about this walk is that you can enjoy breathtaking views, but unlike some other sections of the coast path, the path is never too close to the cliff edge. The walk is just over a mile each way – and there are some great options for refreshments or lunch along the way.
Let’s start with the admin:
This walk starts in Torcross, at the southern end of the Slapton Line – a bar of shingle running between Slapton Ley and the sea.
There is plenty of parking at Torcross Tank Car Park (TQ7 2TQ). Like most council-operated car parks in South Hams, the car park is on the myringgo App. There are public toilets in the car park. In summer, like all beach car parks, it can be busy!
This walk is not suitable for pushchairs – there are a couple of sections with steep steps and the path is narrow is some sections.
You can just as easily do the walk-in reverse, starting at Beesands and walking over to Torcross if you prefer – but the drive to Beesands from Pitt Farm is slightly further than the drive to Torcross. If you want to start at Beesands, there is free parking along the sea front, behind the sea wall (TQ7 2EH).
Before you start
It’s worth taking a moment before you leave the car park to have a look at the preserved tank, rescued from the sea off Slapton having been lost during the catastrophic events of Operation Tiger in 1944 – you can read more about what happened here.
The walk itself…
From the car park, cross the road and head south along the sea front behind the sea wall, passing the Boathouse takeaway and the Start Bay Inn. At the end of the sea front, look for the South West Coast Path signpost/waymarker (showing a picture of an acorn) and head up some steep steps onto a wooded path.
After a short time, with the path continuing to climb, the view opens out as you reach the headland, with sensational, panoramic views of Start Bay, over Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve, Blackpool Sands and beyond to the north, and Start Point to the south. The path is relatively flat and wide through meadow grass, and is a good distance from the cliff edge – so not too nerve-wracking with little ones.
The Coast Path continues southwards, around a disused quarry where there are steps (some steep and uneven – our three-year-old needed a hand with some of them) through woodland as it gradually descends to the northern end of Beesands beach. On the way down there are some great views over Beesands and Widdicombe Ley.
The path continues along the back of Beesands beach, past the village green and along to the sea front, where there are a couple of food options (see below) and, always important, well-maintained public toilets.
This is the halfway point of the walk, and the return to Torcross is a simple matter of retracing your steps along the South West Coast Path.
A walk is never complete without a stop for a snack or lunch, and there are some great options at the halfway point when you arrive in Beesands.
We were definitely ready for lunch by the time we arrived and as the weather was amazing, we opted for a takeaway of super-local, super-fresh fish & chips from Britannia at the Beach, eaten at the picnic tables behind the sea defences and washed down (for the grown-ups) with a bottle of Stumble Bee from South Hams brewery.
We held off having any pudding so that we had the promise of an ice cream at Torcross to spur our littlies on to finish the walk (apparently the Unicorn ice-cream at The Boathouse takeaway – with a flake of course – is a winner). Another great option in Beesands is the Cricket Inn, a little further along the sea front. It’s worth booking if you’re planning lunch here as it’s a popular spot. It’s very child friendly and the food is delicious.
If you decide to eat in Torcross rather than Beesands, we can recommend the Boathouse takeaway (which has an outside seating area at the rear, overlooking Slapton Ley) or the Start Bay Inn either to eat in or to pick up takeaway – both are fantastic. Read more about recommended places to eat and drink here.