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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Beesands, Tier Two Lunch

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas DECEMBER. 10, 2020

[127-365] 10th. December 2020- With the second lockdown finished we now find ourselves in Tier Two even though we started lockdown in Tier One. Not sure how that looks to anyone with a brain, as before lockdown we were considered low risk and after it we are considered medium risk. Sounds to me like lockdown doesn't work.

So what does this mean in practical terms, well we can go out for lunch but not with anyone else so luncheon a deux it was. We chose to go to the pub at Beesands because we weren't expecting it to be busy and it wasn't. Beesands isn't touristy it's a workaday beach with small day fishing boats and mostly deals in shellfish caught in the bay. So it isn't particularly pretty but I like it's rustic charm.

It is quite exposed to rough seas so most of the front is protected by large boulders. Even on a relatively calm day like today there can be quite large waves.

In the early 1990's a new sea wall was built to protect the village and many thousands of tons of rocks were put in place along the line of the high tide stretching beyond the sea wall to Beesands cellars. The village features little more than a small church, and a row of houses, shops and pub looking out onto the sea.

A hundred years ago the shingle beach came up to the front doors of the fishermen's cottages. The beach was a work area for hanging washing and also fishing nets out to dry.

Then a gravel mining scheme in 1897 a few miles out at sea removed thousands of tons of the seabed, resulting in the rearrangement of the shingle in the entire bay and the lowering of all the beaches. Nearby Hallsands fell into ruin overnight. Beesands is now living on the edge, constantly at risk from the sea.

Two slipways for fishing boats have flood barriers fixed during periods of stormy weather. The beach can rise or fall tens of feet seasonally, today it is quite low and in fact the end of the slipway normally covered in shingle has a sheer drop.

The village and beach are reached down an old country lane, giving the area a sense of tranquillity and timelessness. It’s as if the area hasn’t really changed for a half century or so. Visitors to the village will get a genuine impression of a traditional Devon fishing village. Beesands is a mile long beach backed by fields and a large fresh water lake (Widdecombe Ley). This is a shelter for wildlife and migratory birds in particular.


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