Sunday, 17 June 2012

Slapton and Torcross

                                            Something rare happened today!

It was dry and sunny, here in South Devon!

So, we took ourselves through the lovely lanes of the

South Hams and ended up at Slapton.

 Did you know that at Slapton, you can find the largest 

natural lake in South West England?

Slapton Ley.

       Separated from the sea by a narrow shingle bar,

known as the Slapton Line, it is entirely freshwater

 and is surrounded by reed beds, marshes and

 woodland habitats.

Slapton Ley is unique. 

In fact, to be exact, it is actually split into two 'leys'

or lakes, the lower being the largest natural freshwater

lake in South West England and the higher consisting of

rich, fen vegetation and wet, willow woodland.

There are 2000 species of fungi here and Slapton Ley

 is also an important stop over for wintering

 and passage birds.

But that's not all!

Other inhabitants include Otters, Mink, Badgers, Bats

 and a hundred species of birds, including

various types of Warbler and Great Crested Grebes.

It is, indeed, a bird watcher's delight.

At the southern end of Slapton Ley, lies the small village of Torcross.

Now, here's a place which has had more than its fair share of

damage from storms!

Incredibly, it has survived to tell the tales!

In 1979, after yet another battering, lorry loads of boulders were brought in

and a new sea wall was constructed.

After another storm in 2001, a study by Natural England confirmed that

because of the reduction in the amount of shingle available

 and the increasing frequency of storms, coupled with the predicted 30cm to 40cm

rise in sea level over the next 50 years, Slapton Sands is retreating

and will continue to do so.

Slapton comes with much history!

In 1943 it was decided that Slapton beach

 would become a major practice area for the D-Day landings.

 Using live ammunition and recreating the defences likely to be put up by

 the Germans on any beach to be attacked, the intention was to

 simulate real battle conditions for troops .

Since the barrage of artillery from ships was bound to cause extensive damage

 to the whole area under attack, the entire population of the area

 from Torcross to Blackpool Sands and inland for about

 ten miles was to be evacuated.

The chairman of Devon County Council was ordered to requisition an area of 30,000 acres.

 This included the villages of Torcross, Strete, Frogmore and Sherford.

 It included 180 farms and many small hamlets.

 It affected 750 families and totalled 3,000 men, woman, and children.

You can read one person's memories here :

This US Sherman tank was recovered from Start Bay in 1984

 and placed here as a memorial to those US soldiers who lost their lives

 in the ill fated, 'Operation Tiger',

 which took place at Slapton Sands in April 1944.

And if you so desire, you can read more here:

We took a leisurely stroll around but only after partaking of some refreshments

 here at the Sea Breeze Cafe...which is, and always has been, fabulous!!é-seabreeze

A lovely afternoon! ;-)


KC'sCourt! said...

It is a lovely place. Last time we went it was quite windy (weekend before Easter). My boys saw the tank being brought up from the sea.
Julie xxxxxxxxx

Vintage Jane said...

Somewhere I've never heard of but have now marked on our map of 'places to visit'.

galant said...

Not been there for a while and now I want to go there! Such a lovely area, we are so lucky to live in Devon, Sal!
Margaret P