Having grown up in Cheltenham, a town with it’s own fantastic outdoor pool I feel I already have a connection to the place we’re visiting today. We are off to visit Shoalstone Lido a surprisingly little known attraction in Brixham.
This visit’s been a bit spur of the moment thing so there’s been none of the usual background research; cafe check, google explore for free parking etc. Bec’s navigation instructions are, ‘I know it’s not on the one side of Brixham’ so off we go, (to the other side). Pulling into Brixham we head for the Breakwater side of town and, low and behold, there’s the signs for the Lido. Having done no research everything we encounter will be a surprise, good or bad and straight away I’m pleased to see a rather cool looking independent bistro / cafe right on the beach at the Breakwater.
Huey, transitioning from 3 to 2 sleeps a day is firmly in the land of nod so he is yet to see the cafe or the incredibly clear sea water. Whilst he stays in car-seat slumber I get a ticket for the car park (sigh), then go and explore.
The Breakwater I presume is the long wall dividing the up the harbour into man-made and natural. The man-made side houses the RNLI lifeboat here and plethora of boats, both leisure and working. The latter for me is what makes up much of Brixham’s charm, it’s picturesque but it remains a proper working fishing harbour.
Before we get to today’s destination we decide to get lunch and nodding approvingly Bec’s agrees on a visit to the very handy Breakwater Bistro. I will write another post about this place, however I will say it was a very nice experience; fab views, nice staff and good food. Huey charmed everyone within smiles-reach, including staff even after he’d littered the floor with food.
The walk from the Breakwater to the pool takes us first along the S. W Coast then not really seeing how, along Berry Head Road bringing us into the back of the Lido and its car park. Berry Head is fascinating; a mix of lovely (some dilapidated) architecture, rock pools and again incredibly clear sea. A number of large detached Victorian villas here have balconies that both notice have an american feel (later I read these were used as U.S army hospitals in the second world war). Today and I suspect a good deal of the time its deeply peaceful too…
Finally the Lido comes into view. The Lido is much as I’d expected; concrete formed walls, some in blue spreading out wide into the sea. Being closed we have the place to ourselves and wander about taking it all in, incredulous to the fact that only a few years ago it had fallen into disrepair with no future guarantees. It’s in good shape now and I smile trying to imagine it here with the sun gleaming off the sea water inside and the shouts of swimmers and people playing.
Heading back the route takes us along the coast. Here the lovely dark rock juts into the sea creating more natural rock pools and a steep headland that sinks deep into the sea. Running down this are a set of man-made stairs and I’m just thinking what a fab place this will make for a sea swim when to swimmers adorned with high viz tow floats come into view. Laughing in the face of cooling November seas, both swimmers are also ‘skins’, no wetsuits for these guys.
Despite my envy of the wild swimmers it’s been a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. May 2017 is in my diary for the re-opening of the pool and I can’t wait to bring the gang back!
Shoalstone Lido Brixham
For link to the pool and its history please see below…
Despite my initial dissapointment at having to pay for parking we later found a few spots in this town that is notoriously not made for the motor car. If you head for the postcode TQ59AG you can find a few spots along Berry Head Road.