Shaldon – Idyllic Little Fishing Village – South Devon coast

Shaldon is on the south side of the river Teign opposite the industrial town of Teignmouth and about 15 miles from the historic cathedral city of Exeter to the North West and about seven miles south of Torquay.

Comprising mainly of picturesque fishermen’s cottages, Georgian homes and quaint thatched cottages Shaldon has windy narrow streets and plenty of character.  The small beach is right at the mouth of the river and sheltered by the natural protruding sandstone headland.  It is a mixture of red sand and shingle and gently shelving.  Fortunately, it is also located with a view of the prettiest part of Teignmouth opposite.  Around the headland and therefore more exposed is another beach that can be accessed on foot via smugglers tunnel.

The settlement of Shaldon was originally situated further up the river, around a bend and away from the sea.  The village that we see today was built on reclaimed land, and there is a part of the village that is protected from the sea by a high wall.

Shaldon across Teignmouth Harbour - geograph.org.uk - 1308986
Robin Stott / Shaldon across Teignmouth Harbour

For many years the main activity was fishing and farming the good fertile land further inland. These days there are still fishing families who have lived at Shaldon for many years.  Some families do still earn their living from fishing.  A good deal of the residents are retired or work in various industries nearby.

There is an excellent butchers shop in Shaldon, a bakery, a village store, fish and chip shop, a cafe and a few other general shops and boutiques as well as some tourist shops.  There is a holiday park to the southeast of the village but generally compared to other locations in the area Shaldon is a residential rather than a tourist village.  Shaldon has two churches and two pubs.

What makes it special is the unexpected beauty of the village, it’s calm off-road squares and the amount of green space there for a small village.  Packed into the space is a Green Flag awarded (2019) Botanical Gardens, a castle; that is actually a folly and other open green spaces. Travel into Shaldon from Teignmouth, turn the corner once you’ve crossed the bridge and it could be another world, the difference is so stark.  Travel along the coast from Torquay direction, and there are some breathtaking views before dropping down into the village.


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