Kingsbridge and Salcombe

The Kingsbridge Estuary at Salcombe
The Kingsbridge Estuary at Salcombe

Kingsbridge and Salcombe

The area I’m covering here is the short coastline between Start Bay and Bigbury Bay, and the small towns of Kingsbridge and Salcombe.

All of the coastline, as well as the Avon Valley that stretches northwards towards Dartmoor, is included in the South Devon Area of Natural Beauty.

Lying between the urban areas of Plymouth and Torbay. Kingsbridge is right at the heart of this mainly rural community. It’s not quite in the centre geographically (it’s too near the coast for that), but it’s the focal point for a wide area and has been ever since the Abbot of Buckfast was granted the right to hold a market here in 1219.

Steep Fore Street leads down to the head of the Kingsbridge Estuary, which finds its way out to sea at Salcombe. The estuary is in actual fact a Ria, or drowned river valley, but it’s an estuary to most people.

If Kingsbridge is the focus of attention for people living in these parts, then Salcombe is the opposite. Its waterside location attracts people who like messing about on boats, mainly those who like yachts and yachting. This has given rise to an influx of people from far and wide who find the town the antithesis to their hectic lives, and buy up second homes here.

The road that connects Kingsbridge with Salcombe is on the whole pretty good, but apart from the A379 that runs between Plymouth and Dartmouth (and beyond), the villages are connected by a maze of narrow lanes that a Canadian tourist once described to me as “like driving through a rabbit warren”. I lived in one of these small villages for ten years, and I couldn’t have put it better myself.