Slapton is nationally important for its coastal geomorphology. It is an example of a shingle beach enclosing a coastal lagoon, Slapton Ley. To the north, the bar is backed by an infilled former arm of the lagoon and by cliffs of Lower Devonian slates and grits. The beach consists mainly of flint and chert shingle. The bar is slowly moving landward in response to sea-level rise and and this has been the subject of considerable scientific research. The Ley is a perfect example of ecological succession; open water becomes reed bed; which then turns into woodland due to build up of silt.
Wonderful views of the whole of Start Bay from Dartmouth to Start Point. Dogs allowed all year.
During WWII the residents of Slapton and nearby villages were evacuated in order for the areas to be used for training exercises in preparation for the D-Day landings. A Sherman amphibious tank and several plaques stand at Torcross car park (0.5km back along road) as a memorial to the lives lost in WWII “Exercise Tiger,” where German torpedo boats intercepted a convoy of vessels and sunk two tank landing ships and killed 749 American servicemen.
Toilets/washing: Public toilets are in the car park, 5m from beach.
Picnic facilities: This is a beautiful shingle beach for picnics, and there is also a grassy area at the back of the beach. The sea wall provides a hard bottom for those who prefer.
Catering/Shop: Ice cream van in the car park 25m from beach. Cafes, Pub and a chip shop can be found in Torcross (0.5km south).
Water Sports: Sailing, surfing and canoeing are all popular on this beach. Although there are no sports hire facilities here, you are welcome to bring your own equipment, surf boards, canoes etc.
Attractions: Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve is owned by the Whitley Wildlife Trust and the Field Studies Council have a centre based there.
Vehicles: Access is just off A379 main road and is suitable for coaches, although there are some narrow sections of road.
Local access: The beach is next to the memorial car park, directly off the A379. There are steps through the sea defence wall and a concrete slipway ramp for disabled access. There is a disabled users viewing point in the memorial car park beside the toilets.
Access to beach
Slapton memorial car park is 5m from the beach.
Spaces: There are 300 spaces available for parking.
Charges: South Hams District Council manage the car park and charges apply.