14th century Slapton tower
The village of Slapton is high on a hill above the long shingle beach of Slapton Sands. The beach is quiet now, but in 1944 it was a beehive of activity as US Army forces used it as a training ground in preparation for the D-Day landings in Normandy. Slapton Sands was chosen for the exercises because of its similarity to the beaches in Normandy where the assault was due to take place.
In a tragic accident during the training, over 800 soldiers lost their lives at sea off Slapton, and their memory is preserved in a memorial column erected by the US at the north end of the beach.
Slapton parish church
Inland of the shingle is the wetland nature reserve of Slapton Ley, the largest natural freshwater lake in the west of England. The Slapton Ley Field Studies Centre manages the nature reserve and provides a venue to study and preserve the wetland environment of the Ley. The Ley is a haven for birdwatchers, and for those who simply enjoy lovely countryside walks along this stretch of coast.
Slapton itself is a pleasing mix of older cottages grouped about winding lanes, and newer houses looking out over the sea. There are several restaurants, shops, and pubs, including the Tower Inn, which sits cosily beneath the striking ruins of a tall, square tower, the only remaining part of a college of chantry priests established in 1373. The remainder of the college buildings were destroyed in the Dissolution of the Monasteries, but the tower remains to add a melancholy touch of history to this quiet Devon village.
Attraction Type: Town
OS: SX821 449
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Information Centre ('as the crow flies')
Tourist Information Centre
The Engine House
Tel: 01803 834224