Watcombe Beach

This beach is minutes from Torquay but for some reason it’s taken us a long time to check it out. When we finally do go, it’s late in September and the ‘end of season’ feeling is extraordinary.

watcombe beach torquay devon
sea glimpses on the descent

As we reach the final turn bringing the beach into view it’s evident that its completely deserted, save for a couple who are changing into wetsuits to swim. The silence and desertion is eerie, especially in contrast to the ‘standing room only’ we witnessed only a week or so ago at Maidencombe Beach.

The atmosphere is heightened by the spectre of the closed beach cafe; rusty shutters down, barbed wire strewn accross the roof. It looks apocalyptic, like the place was shut down decades, not days ago. It’s a shame its shut. The walk down is steeper and longer than any of the other Torbay beaches we’ve visited and I was hoping there’d be hot drinks for our efforts waiting to be served at the bottom…

To begin with we walk about talking in whispers, a little taken aback by the desertion, but soon start to warm to the place. Watcombe has red sandstone headlands that stand almost equal distances into the sea, giving the sheltered cove a neat symmetry. The water is calm, absolutely flat and very clear in the shallows. The sand is also a deep red and very soft, so we pitch up the beach shelter and make ourselves at home.

Please click on the pictures below to view full size.

I try to imagine the place mid summer; Cafe open, the terrace populated with tables, chairs and smiling sun worshippers. I’m told that Watcombe has something of a hardy local following and I presume they enjoy the inaccessibility that would deter many away. It would be a shame to miss it, it’s a lovely place.

Camp set up, I decide to join the pair that are already in the sea. They look pleased with the tranquility offered so I leave them alone and head off out to the 5 knots buoy. Reaching the buoy I’m just passed the headland and can see clear up and down the coast, fantastic. Further North I see more people enjoying themselves, a group coasteering somewhere near Maidencombe I guess.

Looking back to my travel companions on the beach I reach up and wave. I’ve been trying to master a wave that looks like a wave, not a signal for a swimmer in distress as I really don’t need anyone calling the coastguard. Satisfied that I’ve had a decent swim I head back to explore the rocks that line the headland. These turn out to be a treasure covered in weed and a good number of fish darting in and out, reminding me I must get myself a decent snorkel and mask.

Back on the beach Huey is asleep in Baxter (the beach shelter), but not for the long. Even in this silence he only sleeps for half an hour or so. When he wakes I walk him around the rocks, let him take in the towering trees behind us before we go. Needless to say he is mesmerised by the scale, colour and beauty of the place…

Getting to Watcombe Beach (with a baby)…

Watcombe is only a few miles North of Torquay  TQ1 4SH, a simple drive. Getting to the beach is walking only and whilst not difficult under foot it is very steep. There is little chance of a buggy here, baby sling only really for the 10, maybe 15 minute walk down. Unusually, there is free parking in the car park at the top.

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