“I would take a photo, but I’ve got them all already,” says my cousin Richard.
I know what he means. We’re unashamedly one of those families who go on holiday to the same place every year. I’ve been visiting this stretch of South Devon coastline, with a varying cast list of family and friends, since I was a baby. But I can’t resist. The view is so good that I have to get another shot for the collection.
In an area called the South Hams, our stomping ground stretches from the village of Beesands, with a seafood shack and a stony beach, along the coast to Mill Bay, just across the estuary from the pretty town of Salcombe. It’s only about 12 miles of coastline, but with great walking, cosy pubs, rugged cliffs and sandy beaches, we’re never bored.
There are 14 of us in this year’s posse, with ages ranging from three to 70. The line-up also includes three birthdays, one dog and a drone (the latter two don’t get on). We’re spread between various holiday cottages in the picturesque village of East Prawle, home to the legendary Pig’s Nose, the epitome of a quirky English pub (try the cider), and a cafe for cream teas.
Walking this section of the coast is described by the South West Coast Path Association as ‘particularly tough.’ There are steep, rocky sections and boggy patches, so you need good footwear, although in summer I find hiking boots unnecessary. Anatom’s SkyeTrail Ultralight Multi-Activity Shoe is spot on, offering grip and protection on the uneven sections, and keeping my feet dry in any mud.
My favourite part of the route is Start Point, a wild, exposed headland where we regularly see seals. Or perhaps it’s approaching Mill Bay, where the sea glints so blue through the trees that the view feels Mediterranean. It doesn’t matter. I can work on deciding when we go back next year.