Bantham Beach & Avon Estuary

Picture by Steven Haywood

Picture by Steven Haywood

Mark Harold, South West Regional Director for the National Trust said: “We have today been informed by the agents acting on behalf of Evan’s Estates that we have been unsuccessful in our bid to purchase Bantham Beach and Avon Estuary in South Devon.

We are extremely disappointed at this decision.  We, along with many thousands of people who have contacted us over the past few weeks encouraging our involvement in its future, care very passionately about Bantham.  We believe this is a very special place, held dear in the hearts of many, not only locally, but also those who have fond memories of childhoods and family times spent there.

We will of course continue to care and protect for ever and for everyone the 40 miles and 3,000 hectares of the South Devon coast we already care for. We would also want, if possible, to work with any future owners of Bantham Beach & Estuary and ensure that this beautiful location is continued to be enjoyed by the many thousands of people who have told us how much it means to them.

We would like to thank everyone for their support of our fundraising appeal. As a charity the Trust relies on the generous support of its supporters who help us care for some of the most beautiful and vulnerable stretches of coastal land in the country.”

 

Happy hours spent on the water at Bantham

Bantham picture by Christine Anderson

Bantham picture by Christine Anderson

Christine Anderson is a watersport partner with the National Trust in South Devon, she shared with us her love of Bantham

“I was 14, freshly uprooted from Hertfordshire, and had struggled through the strangeness of my first day at a new school. To compensate, my mum took me for my first beach trip; I discovered Bantham. This beach made it all worthwhile! My new life was suddenly was looking very good. Surf for me to play in, a huge expanse of sand for the dog to charge on, and the beautiful backdrop of Burgh Island for the grown-ups to admire. My initial joy at being there has only increased during the subsequent 35 years as my love of watersports has developed and diversified. Bantham has been the perfect playground to challenge my skills.

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The peace and uncomplicated beauty of Bantham

I was born in Devon grew up near Killerton. Weekend trips to the beach were a regular part of my childhood whatever the weather. In fact, my family tended to avoid high summer when our favourite haunts were full of holiday-makers, preferring to visit instead in the winter when dogs could run on the beach. We’d take tennis balls and and an old racquet for them and my dad would send the balls an impossible distance along the sand for them to chase. They’d fall asleep in the car on the way home, wet coats pressing against our legs, misting up the windows.

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Making a big splash

Richard Snow, National Trust Head Ranger picture by Steven Haywood

Richard Snow, National Trust Head Ranger picture by Steven Haywood

A team of intrepid National Trust rangers have made the headlines with an awareness raising 5 km swim at Bantham in South Devon. The team plus local supporters started their swim at Aveton Gifford on the Avon River and swam down the estuary finishing up on the beach at Bantham some three hours later.

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Bantham on my mind…

Picture circa 1986-7 copyright of Julia Lewis.

Picture circa 1986-7 copyright of Julia Lewis.

Julia got in touch with us via twitter when she heard about our #Bantham campaign, not only did she share this terrific picture of her family taken on Bantham beach in the 1980s but she also shared some memories of special times spent there. 

“I first went to Bantham aged 3, visiting friends in their grandparents’ leased cottage. The following year we borrowed the cottage, and despite only coming 21 miles from Newton Abbot, we were certainly on holiday – for the first of many joyful fortnights.

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Canoeing to Bantham

Dave Halsall from Singing Paddles an outdoor adventure organisation based in South Devon took us on one of his favourite canoe trips to Bantham

One of my favourite canoe trips in South Devon is to drop down with the tide from Aveton Gifford to Bantham.  It’s the best way to arrive at the village, showing off Bantham to the full, sat in a bend of the estuary.  It’s only a short paddle it is full of interest and because the high tide covers the tidal road stopping the traffic it has quiet and remote feel.

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Bantham holds a special place in my heart….

Bantham Beach

Bantham Beach

Richard Snow is the National Trust Head Ranger in South Devon and remembers first visiting Bantham beach as a child, and is now sharing his love of this special place with his daughter.

“I first visited Bantham beach as a child when we used to travel down to the south west for short holidays and even then, although we would usually try different places each year, I clearly remember it because of the unique setting with Burgh Island set just off shore connected by a sandy causeway and a clear blue river winding back into the wooded Avon estuary. The large sandy beach and rolling surf offered a young boy an expansive playground where the imagination could run wild with sand castles, pirates, treasure and wild animals.

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Bantham beach: creating memories that last a lifetime

Writer and author Melissa Harrison explains why Bantham means so much to her and why she is backing the National Trust appeal to raise money to buy Bantham beach and Avon estuary.

Melissa Harrison with her sister and Mum on Bantham beach

Melissa Harrison with her sister and Mum on Bantham beach

“Going to Bantham Beach was one of the things I looked forward to most as a child. Every year, without fail, we would spend at least a day of our Devon holiday there, sometimes more: we would erect our lurid, 70s-style windbreak and establish a territory using sandcastles, inflate the dinghy, demolish our home-made sandwiches and then ritually bury Mum in the sand.

I loved exploring the dunes and swimming in the sea, but best of all I loved rockpooling: it seemed like magic that so many creatures could all live in one beautiful little world, and I’m sure I owe at least part of my adult love of nature to those idyllic days.

The thought that all the fun I had could be lost for future children seems heartbreaking, and I really hope that the National Trust are able to buy Bantham and preserve it for the nation.”

Melissa Harrison is the author of Clay; her new novel, At Hawthorn Time, will be published by Bloomsbury in April 2014

 

‘Bantham Beach; its just too perfect to risk losing’

Joel as  a child on Bantham Beach

Joel as a child on Bantham Beach

Joel Wakeling, National Trust Ranger in South Devon tells us why Bantham has played such an important role in his life.

‘As someone who has grown up in the South Hams, my life and my passions have without a doubt been shaped by countless happy hours spent on the best sandy beach in South Devon.

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Sale of Bantham Beach and Village

Images By Steven Haywood - National Trust - Bantham Village,The National Trust is aware that Bantham beach and village is now for sale on the open market.

David Ford National Trust General Manager for South Devon said: ‘The sale of Bantham Beach and village is extremely significant, it is one of the most beautiful and unspoilt areas in South Devon. This is also, of course, a very unsettling time for residents of the village.

‘We are now actively discussing what role the Trust may play in helping to protect the area from significant development risk.’

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