History & Heritage

The recovered Sherman tank stands in the memorial car park, opposite Start Bay Inn at the Torcross end of Slapton Sands

Slapton Sands History

Address:  Your local beach Slapton Sands

On April 27th 1944, more than 1,200 Allied soldiers were killed over two days on Slapton Sands – many of them were American soldiers supporting the World War Two effort. ‘Exercise Tiger’ was intended to be a dress rehearsal for the D-Day landings. An American Sherman tank that was sunk in action was recovered in 1984 and set up as a memorial to those who lost their lives in the ill-fated ‘Exercise Tiger’. 

Sadly, it went badly wrong and so many lives were lost. Over 400 soldiers lost their lives due to friendly fire of shell bursts on the beach. It was a disaster that was kept hidden by the authorities for decades.

WW2 soldiers on Slapton Beach

Buckfast Abbey

Address:  Buckfastleigh, Devon, TQ11 0EE

The Monks welcome you to their home so you can also experience its unique, tranquil ambience.
Enjoy an immersive presentation of Benedictine monastic life from its origins to the present day. Visit the breathtaking Abbey Church which was painstakingly rebuilt over a period of 30 years by just a few monks who formed the core of the workforce.

 
Take a stroll around the gardens (Lavender, Physic, Sensory and Millennium). Browse in the Bookshop, Monastic shop and Exhibition shop and visit the Grange Restaurant for refreshments and snacks whilst there.

A beautiful abbey with a rare opportunity to meet the Benedictine monks

Climb to the top and enjoy the panoramic views - we recommend booking in advance as places are limited

Totnes Castle

Address: Castle St, Totnes TQ9 5NU

As you wander up Fore Street you pass under East Gate Arch, the Elizabethan House Museum build in 1575 and Totnes Guildhall with 1000 years of history.
Castle Street leads you to Totnes Castle a classic Norman motte and baily castle, founded soon after the Conquest to overlook the Saxon town. Climb to the top of the keep to enjoy stunning views over the town of Totnes and across to the River Dart. The peaceful grounds offer a perfect picnic spot under the shelter of age old trees.

 

Steamer Quay sits on the banks of the River Dart looking directly out across the water to Vire Island. The Steamer Quay is just a short walk from Fore Street and is arguably one of the best spots in Totnes for an alfresco lunch watching the world go by. You can catch your cruise to Dartmouth from Steamer Quay too!

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Overbeck's Museum & Garden

Address: Overbeck’s Museum and Garden Salcombe TQ8 8LW 

How to get there

You can take a ferry from Salcombe Whitesands Quay OR… walk along Cliff Road from Salcombe and follow the signs to Overbeck’s. (About two miles) There is also a small car park at the top of the winding roads.

South Sands Ferry

Ferry service runs every half an hour in season

An exotic and fascinating hidden treasure perched high on the cliffs above Salcombe. This Edwardian seaside garden is spectacular. 


The garden at Overbeck’s is a history lesson in itself, with its plants and trees collected from around the world. The favourable microclimate has enabled the development of a specialised collection of tender Mediterranean and Australasian plants.
Explore the amazing subtropical gardens, meander through the woodland, or relax beneath the palms and soak up the spectacular panorama across miles of beautiful coastline and estuary.


The convalescent story of Overbeck’s
Built in 1913, the Edwardian house replaced an earlier property. George Vereker bought the house in 1911, demolished it and named it ‘Sharpitor’. Sadly their second son, Robert Vereker, aged just 21, was killed at Mons, Belgium on the 25 August, just 22 days into the war.
In memory of their son Robert, Mr and Mrs Vereker offered their new home to the Red Cross Society to be used, rent free during war time, as a Voluntary Aid Hospital for the treatment of convalescent British and Allied Troops. Sharpitor V.A. Hospital was mostly run by volunteers. Fifteen of the 1,020 soldiers that stayed at Overbeck’s ended up marrying local girls.


The Overbeck era
In 1928 the seaside home was bought by successful inventor Otto Overbeck. You can see his amazing invention: the ‘rejuvenator’; hear the polyphon, a giant Victorian music box; and be intrigued by the eclectic collections of natural and maritime history.

In honour of Otto Overbeck, the house is now known as Overbeck’s. Otto was an accomplished inventor, linguist, and art collector and it is thanks to him that the National Trust has this special place for everyone to enjoy. 

The Billiards Room Café offers a range of light lunches, sandwiches, delicious cakes, teas and Salcombe ice-cream.

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An amazing subtropical garden due to its microclimate - with panoramic views. As a National Trust member entrance is free

Imagine... standing in a prehistoric cave which was created millions of years ago

Kents Cavern

Address: Kents Cavern Prehistoric Caves
91 Ilsham Rd, Torquay TQ1 2JF

Award winning Kents Cavern is one of Europe’s top and most exciting Stone Age caves. With an extensive labyrinth of spectacular and easily accessible caverns. Entertaining guides lead you on an underground adventure into this remarkable prehistoric site, the earliest known home of ancient humans in Britain. The prehistoric human archaeology discovered at Kents Cavern makes it one of the World’s most important caves and designated by UNESCO for its remarkable geological heritage. Enjoy the tours, activities and shop.

Dartmoor Ponies

The ponies are very hardy and actually thrive on Dartmoor despite the harsh weather and poor vegetation; by grazing the moorland the ponies play a vital role in maintaining a variety of habitats and wildlife.


The ponies that you will see on the moor are very probably Dartmoor Hill ponies and come in all different sizes, shapes, and colours. These herds are the result of Shetland ponies and a variety of other ponies coming onto the moor and breeding with the native Dartmoor pony.


A native Dartmoor pony is just brown, with heritage that goes back to pre-historic times. A Dartmoor Hill pony is not a recognised breed and therefore has no breed confirmation, which accounts for the huge variety of differences you can see in a herd. Put simply, a Dartmoor Hill pony is a pony that is born on Dartmoor and can be registered with The Dartmoor Hill Pony Society.


Feeding the ponies is illegal and can make them very ill. So please do not feed or approach the ponies on Dartmoor – They are untamed and can be unpredictable and may kick and bite if approached.  Please enjoy from a safe distance.

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Dartmoor Mini Pony Farm

Meet mini ponies… mini donkeys! Podgy pigs and get up close

Ponies have been running wild over Dartmoor for centuries. Click here for a recommended walk to see the ponies

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