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photogr aphy: Nigel Jones

Salcombe

a Visit...

by Philip Hawkins

Question: What do the following people have in common? Former Rugby player and England coach Sir Clive Woodward, singer Kate Bush, chat show legend Sir Michael Parkinson and members of the band Led Zeppelin. Well, apart from the obvious that Sir Michael Parkinson has probably interviewed them all at some point; all have or have had holiday homes in Salcombe.

East Devon Coast & Country

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Messing around in boats, the order-of-the-day at Salcombe

This popularity among the rich and famous has

comfortably way back in our history, it is in fact

but a small fishing hamlet in its very early days.

definitely had its effect on the housing market in

rather late, considering that most settlements in the

However archaeologists have identified Stone Age

Salcombe, where some of the properties that enjoy

area had already been identified centuries before.

settlements on the cliff tops on both sides of the

estuary or sea views can easily be worth around

estuary mouth and a recently discovered shipwreck

£1.5 million pounds and some can be rented for

demonstrates the existence of intercontinental

as much as £12,000 per week during the peak

trade. Today’s tourists can envelop themselves

summer season.

in nautical history through wreck diving, which is a very popular pursuit in Salcombe.

One might be forgiven for deducing that Salcombe has an air of exclusivity about it. On the one hand

By the 1790’s Salcombe had begun to develop

it most certainly does but on the other this does

a significant ship building industry. Around 300

not mean that we ordinary mortals cannot enjoy

sailing vessels and a handful of steamers were built

this most beautiful South Devon town.

in Salcombe and around the estuary area during the 19th century, almost all for local owners. Today

So, what is the great attraction of Salcombe? The

many local residents still own their own boats but

phrase ‘situated in an area of outstanding natural

these are mainly used for sport and pleasure, not

beauty’ is a very good indication and together

for trading.

with its almost Mediterranean micro climate and perfect sea conditions for sailing and water sports

I do not believe that we need to consider that

In Salcombe’s early days there was a thriving

in general, we definitely seem to have a tourist

Salcombe deliberately kept itself anonymous to

coastal trade; salt to Newfoundland in Canada

hotspot. It would appear however that Salcombe

hide a history of smuggling and piracy nor to

and salted fish to Europe. In 1815 the fruit trade

has not always been so attractive or indeed well

intentionally deter tourists! The more likely cause

developed and with it the ‘Fruit Schooner’ ships

known. There seems to be no written record of

is a lack of literate inhabitants (the illiterate leave

were developed – speed being the key factor.

the town until 1244, whilst this appears to be

no records). It is also likely that Salcombe was

Transporting perishable fresh cargo from Spain

A Celebration of Life in East Devon

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Salcombe Feature