Salcombe is a small picturesque town in the South Hams district of Devon, South-West England. The town is close to the mouth of the Estuary and lies within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
The town’s extensive waterfront and the naturally sheltered harbour formed by the estuary gave rise to its success as a boat- and shipbuilding and sailing port and, in modern times, tourism especially in the form of pleasure sailing and yachting. Apart from tourism, crab fishing still plays an important role.
The Cliffs, for the most part, belong to the National Trust and provide spectacular shelter for plants and animals alike. The sea views are breathtaking. Especially the public footpath along the top of the cliff from Sharpitor Museum towards Bolt Head early in the morning when the sun rises over the estuary with masts popping out over a thin layer of fog. Sunsets are especially beautiful when viewed from Bolberry or Hope Cove.
The Coastal Footpath has many interesting stretches, both on the Salcombe side (starting at South Sands) and on the East-Portlemouth side. Highlights include Bolt Head and Soar Mill Cove. Both of these are close to the farm and many Public Footpaths join the coastal path to South Sands valley. It sounds further than it is; but the sea is never much more that 1 km away whether go you East, West or South. Along this stretch of Coastal Footpath you may even see deer along the more remote parts of the path early in the morning or at dawn.
The Sharpitor Museum is definitely worth a visit with its sub-tropical gardens. There are numerous other National Trust properties nearby to vist: Historic Homes, Gardens, Coast- and Countryside. Please check their webside for details.
East-Portlemouth lies on the western side of the estuary and can be reached by ferry from Salcombe. It is home to some great beaches, a pleasant beach-cafe (Venus Cafe). You should also try the walk to the sea from here along the coastal footpath to Prawl Point. Along the way you will pass some secluded beaches, which, if you are lucky, you may have to yourself.
The Estuary is best seen from a boat and there are several options open to you. Either you take the Estuary Trip with the Salcombe to Kingsbridge Ferry (High Tide only) or you rent a boat either at Whitestrand or along Island Street.
Highly recommended is a trip by boat to the pub at South Pool (only possible at High Tide)
There are many things to see without travelling to far. However if you have the time there are many other destinations worth visiting.
Only a short distance away is Burgh Island near Bigbury with its famous Hotel; inspirational to Agatha Christie and many other famous visitors. This is also a good spot to learn to surf.
Go and have some lunch at the Gastrobus at stunning Bantham Beach!
To the other side of Kingsbridge is Torcross and Slapton Sands; a huge shingle beach where preparations for the D-Day landings took place.
Slapton Village itself is home to the excellent Tower Inn. Parking is difficult but the food is worth it. Not far from here is the small village of Beesands and the ruins of Hallsands; a village that was swept away in a storm.
Other places to visit are Totnes; lots of cafes, bookshops and extremely laid back. From here a steam train runs to Buckfastleigh along the river Dart. Whilst you are there, go and see the Abbey. From Totnes it is also only a short distance to Dartmouth, home to the Royal Naval Academy and a very attractive little town, from here you can head back along the coastal road to Kingsbridge and Salcome.
The Dartmoor National Park lies just the other side of the A38 (ie. near Buckfastleigh) , see the wild ponies and climb a Tor or two! On the way back, try to visit Ashburton.