Salcombe Facts

South Devon seal spotting

1. There used to be a train line from Totnes to Kingsbridge and there were even plans to build an extension to Salcombe! The terminal was to be at Snapes Point with a ferry taking passengers across the estuary to the town.

2. Today the population in Salcombe is 1800 in winter and 19,000 in summer. How does everyone squeeze in?!

3. Salcombe has seahorse nurseries in the rare eelgrass beds.

4. We are visited by dolphins, seals and even basking sharks! One dolphin called Danny visits us from Dartmouth and has his own Facebook page!

5. During the English civil war, the town sided with the Royalists and held out against the Roundheads. The ruins of Fort Charles remain towards the south of the town near North Sands.

6. In 1764, the first holiday home, The Moult, was built in Salcombe.

7. Salcombe became a ship registry port in 1864 but still came under Dartmouth for customs. A customs house was later built at Salcombe which still exists today as a fabulous holiday home.

8. Between the two world wars, Salcombe developed as a holiday resort, with Salcombe Sailing Club being founded in 1922 (it was only until 1948 when women were allowed to join!)

Ice cream

9. During the Second World War a radar station was set up on Bolt Head and Salcombe became an Advance Amphibious Base for the United States Navy in September 1943.

10. Salcombe Dairy Ice-cream is on the menu at the Dorchester Hotel in London as well as flying as far as New Zealand and Singapore on both countries national airlines. Ice cream in Salcombe really is that delicious!

11. 66 ships and many auxiliary vessels sailed from Salcombe on 4 June 1944 as part of “Force U” which landed on Utah Beach, Normandy. Afterwards, Shadycombe Creek and Mill Bay were used to repair the damaged landing craft.

12. A lifeboat station was established by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution in 1869. In 1916 the Salcombe lifeboat, an open rowboat “The William and Emma”, was capsized crossing The Bar whilst navigating turbulent seas resulting in 13 of the 15 crew’s lives being lost.

13. Today the Salcombe RNLI have a Tamar-class all-weather boat and an Atlantic 75 inshore boat.

14. A sea covered sand spit – opposite Sharp Tor – that restricts entrance to the estuary has caused the wreck of many unfortunate vessels during bad weather.

15. The Bar is believed to have been the inspiration that led the poet Tennyson to write his famous poem – ‘Crossing the Bar’, following a rough passage over the Bar in the yacht Sunbeam, whilst staying with the historian J. A. Froude.

16. Salcombe was the home port for a fleet of fast yacht-like clipper schooners. The fleet’s pace enabled them to get the first of the season’s fruits, such as oranges from the Azores and Pineapples from the West Indies, to the markets ahead of the competition.

South Devon watersports