If you're local to Devon and Cornwall you're going to love this, and if you live further away you're going to want to visit, book in hand. I've frequented lots of beautiful beaches in the Westcountry in the nearly 20 years I've lived here and they all have a story to tell or a story to be read. Come join me for a quick tour.
Woody Bay, North Devon.
Worth the walk down through the woods, this little rocky bay exposes a beautiful pool at low tide. This trip is for the active reader, it's OK walking down to the beach but will require stamina to get back up. (Though my 6 year old managed it!) I love the noise of the always running waterfall, the waves slapping the rocks and the various sea birds calling which echoes off of the cliffs. The book which I feel would be most appreciated here would be 'Time On Rock' by Anna Fleming. The rocks here are begging to be climbed, felt, touched and wondered over. My youngest spent the entire time here scaling the rocks and crevices, caves and stones. Lay on the huge sunbaked rock listening to the Terns and slapping water while Anna tells you all about her love for rocks and the pleasure and physical demands of climbing as a woman.
Budleigh Salterton, South Devon.
Budleigh is great for a quick and peaceful evening trip to the beach this summer. The beach is shelved so children should be confident swimmers but if you are managing to go solo with a book then you'll find this spot to be chilled and again listening to the sound of pebbles rolling over one another with the waves. Bring a chair as a top tip! But not just a chair, bring Sistersong with you also. Written by Lucy Holland and based in south Devon in the times before the Saxons arrived. Based on an old Murder Balled this story of three siblings is beautifully mixed with current topics in an older setting. Their stories woven beautifully, you will be absorbed and taken away to a time long ago with Pagan fire ceremonies and secrets which will tear the sisters apart. Have a bonfire on the rocks at sunset and this will be a fantastic trip finished off perfectly.
Bantham, looking over Burgh Island.
A glorious beach with spectacular views over to an island which is accessible by foot at low tide and then sea tractor at high tide. The bay is sheltered and therefore the sea usually calm, perfect for paddle boarding and for the kids to play. Who can guess which author we recommend for this setting? You got it, Agatha Christie's 'And Then There Were None' was based here. Who doesn't love a bit of cosy crime on the beach after a paddle over the clear waters of this bay? If you happen to be having a late trip in September pre-order a copy of 'Marple', 12 stories by 12 authors who take Agatha Christie's iconic detective on a crime-solving spree.
Parr Beach, St. Martins, Isles of Scilly.
These Islands are the perfect setting for myth and legend, pirate ships, selkies and mystery. A few miles off Land's End, further into the Atlantic, lies the most beautiful tropical Islands we have. Each Island is different in their own way, but the tropical clear seas of St. Martin's Parr Beach are a firm favourite of ours. The book I recommend for this trip would be 'Ariadne' by Jennifer Saint. The Scilly Isles could be mistaken for a far away land and you could easily imagine ship wrecks, wood nymphs and enjoy grapes and wine while reading. I'm a huge fan of Greek retellings and modern versions of these dramatic and emotional stories, and this one is certainly one of my favourites. Ariadne, born into a family where her father is a cruel King and her mother ending up giving birth to the Minotaur, she is soon wanting her own life away from Crete. But this is ancient Greece and women cannot trust anyone.
Soar Mill Cove, near Salcombe
The beach here is quiet due to lack of parking so well worth a trek across the coast path or from the Spa up the road. Rocks and wild rugged terrain are the perfect escape from civilisation and the chaos of other beaches this time of year. Walk east up the coast path for stunning views and warm rocky seat, we saw a stoat here and some fantastic birds of prey. I recommend taking 'Do Agile' with you for this one. A book about resetting your mind and moving forward mentally. What better place to set principles into motion and work on your own thinking than on a wild rock high above the sea? Take healthy snacks or a bottle of champers (like we did!) and enjoy the fresh air and taking deep breaths.
There are so many places to visit in this area, don't forget to take a book, even a quick read will make it all the more memorable. If visiting the Westcountry stop off at Junction 25 to Tiverton and grab a book and a coffee for the journey.