As I mentioned in a recent podcast, we recently visited Bigbury-on-Sea, a lovely Devon beach with acres of warm sand running down to the sparkling sea (on the day we visited anyway).

For me, one of the beach’s best features is the fact that it faces Burgh Island, a small island that’s only cut off from the shore at high tide. The island and its art deco hotel were used as settings by Agatha Christie in And Then There Were None and Evil Under the Sun, so I could sit on the beach and imagine amateur sleuths were stalking the slopes while a gaggle of suspects, ne’er do wells  and potential victims sipped gin and tonic on the hotel’s sunlit terraces. And a murderer or two, of course, but we won’t dwell on that.

A couple of days earlier we’d visited a very different beach at Shaldon, a seaside village on the Teign estuary, directly opposite the town of Teignmouth. At Shaldon, there are houses right next to the beach, and there are lots of boats bobbing on the water. There’s also a rocky outcrop called the Ness, and if you don’t mind a bit of a walk up its slopes, you can take a stroll down the narrow and echoing tunnel that leads down to a small and secluded beach at Ness Cove. The tunnel is called Smugglers Tunnel, but I’m not sure if that’s why it was dug. There’s an old lime kiln at its mouth, so the tunnel may have been built for a more prosaic purpose, but you can certainly imagine smugglers creeping through the tunnel in the dead of night.

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Burgh Island and Bigbury-on-Sea.


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