South Milton Sands: Coastal oasis for walkers
South Milton Sands provides sweeping seascape views and is a popular spot along the Devon coast.
The area is part of 780 miles of coastline that the National Trust looks after. There is good car parking on site, albeit pretty bumpy before you pull up. A few roads leading down to South Milton Sands are tight, windy and by Sat-Nav’s reckoning, mostly unnamed! In my experience, most ‘unnamed’ roads stand for ‘back-end of nowhere’. So go easy on the approach.
Parking costs £5, but is free for National Trust members. There is a machine where NT members can scan their membership cards but mine didn’t play ball so as long as you show a NT car park sticker on your windscreen, you should avoid any untoward fines. The Beachhouse Café sits nearby for the obligatory food and drinks stop.
South Milton Sands is a haven for outdoor types. Working your way around, it’s a comfortable, easy walk, with slightly slippy mud underfoot but more than manageable for most walkers. It’s very popular with dog walkers, one spaniel I passed simply flew by, ears pinned back in the wind, loving being at the seaside.
Paths to follow at South Milton Sands
Visitors to South Milton Sands have two choices of coastal path. They can take a left and follow Hope Cove or swing a right and have a go at tackling the path towards Thurlestone.
One of the beautiful aspects of living in the United Kingdom is the opportunities for coastal exploration. Be it still and sunny or rough with dramatic, raging seas, the vistas are ever-changing and never less than captivating to the eye. As a keen photographer, seascapes are among my favourite shots to attempt.
The focal point is undoubtedly Thurlestone Rock. This rock is similar to Durdle Door, up the Jurassic Coast in Dorset. Upon arrival, you can’t really miss it once you’re out the car and heading towards Thurlestone Sand beach. While the weather stayed cloudy during my time here, the images to be had when the sun sets can be pretty spectacular.
If golf is your thing, there is a course running adjacent to the coastal path. But if you’re anything like me, there is a high chance of hitting a wayward shot that puts walkers in danger.
It took me around an hour to negotiate my way along the coastal path, but note – this was longer as I’m easily distracted by a photo opp. The journey back to the car park without so much stopping was around 35 minutes.
A useful pointer, particularly during winter months, is to plan your departure time accordingly. It was a 40-minute drive back to base. But as daylight hours are shorter, I didn’t fancy navigating those tight, unlit roads as night fell.
It’s one thing encountering a tractor and having to reverse the car all the way back up a dirt track in the daylight. Doing it with fast fading light is best avoided if you can.