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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

South Milton Sands

I recently published a post about the ruined church of South Huish. Just nearby is the hamlet of South Milton Sands, which really only consists of an apartment block a handful of cottages and a beach café, backed by a small wetland nature reserve.

The nature reserve is protected from the sea by a range of sand dunes. When you arrive you drive across the hard packed sand and also park on it. There is a narrow path through the dunes to reach the beach.

This beach area gets it's name from the nearby village of South Milton. South Milton (anciently Mideltone, Middleton, Middelton,etc.) is a village and civil parish in Devon, England, situated on the south coast about 2 miles south-west of Kingsbridge. The civil parish includes the hamlets of Sutton, south of the village, and Upton, north of the village.

In times when most of the population was illiterate and names were passed on orally and not in writing it is easy to see how they changed over time. So a settlement that had a south part a middle part and an upper part all named for very local reasons from their obvious location over time became a fixed name as one outgrew the others. Ironically in this case the middle part of town fixed to become Milton and then an additional South was added so even the descriptor changed as the settlement changed over time. So we now have in effect South Middle Town.

Historically, because most coastal towns and villages were isolated on the land side due to poor infrastructure and mostly accessed the rest of the world by sea, but at the same time were vulnerable to attack from the sea, they tended to be placed a mile or so inland in an area that could offer some protection.

This is visible in the coastal areas of the South Hams today where the most ancient settlements are placed inland from the sea and where those settlements right on the seafront developed at much later dates when there was more security from attack due to Britain's later total control of the sea with a navy larger in size than the next two largest navies of the world.

The beaches along this part of the coast are very popular spots for water sports.

The fences are to prevent foot traffic over the dunes which are easily eroded.

Either side of South Milton are rocky promontories which offer protection from the worst of the winter storms. South Milton itself faces west so this view is of Bolt Head to the north.

In the other direction the bay at Bantham with Burgh Island and the nearer outcrop at Thurlestone offer some protection.

This is Thurlestone Rock looking quite lonely and exposed, but the water between it and the shore is quite shallow and the rocks exposed at low tide, reveal excellent rock pools.

The Nature reserve and car park are owned by The National Trust.

The beach café has a fairly convincing natural quirkiness and temporary quality about it, being as it is, built on sandy ground.

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Unknown member
Feb 20, 2022

While all the photos in this post are lovely and bring a feeling of peace as one gazes at them, the one to the last is especially nice. Having both the foreground and the background included makes it one for framing .

Gethin Thomas
Gethin Thomas
Feb 20, 2022
Replying to

Thanks. The only time I have seen them there.

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