PUBLISHED: 09:38 15 April 2010 | UPDATED: 18:35 27 April 2010
The inscription on Budleigh Salterton’s coat of arms reads Beau Sejour, which means ‘Have a beautiful stay’. This picturesque town, which boasts two miles of pebble beach, with its colourful fishing boats, and delightful walks along the River Otter, which reaches the bay with a backdrop of striking cliffs, is an ideal place to start a tour of East Devon.
The main street is a conservation area featuring many beautiful buildings and a wealth of family-owned shops and businesses offering a truly personal service.
Budleigh Salterton and the surrounding area offer a range of eating places, and the shops sell everything from quality meat, fish, fruit and vegetables, to gifts and antiques, souvenirs and bric-a-brac.
Originally named Salterne, the name Budleigh Salterton is derived from the manufacture of salt in large salt pans once situated at the mouth of the scenic River Otter, and owned by the monks of the priory at the nearby village of Otterton.
Today it is a lovely area for walking, with an abundance of wildlife and wonderful opportunities for photography.
The bay on which the town stands extends for three miles between Straight Point and Otter Point, and features the much-loved and photographed pebble beach. For a superb view of the curve of the beach take a stroll up the cliffs from Steamer Steps and breathe in the atmosphere.
The seafront promenade is the perfect place to relax separated from the main street by charming houses and only a short stroll away, it features plenty of seating, where you can absorb the beautiful views, and a quiet caf with a terrace if you fancy a cuppa or a snack.
A walk or drive around the area will reward visitors with many interesting things to see and enjoy. The Tourist Information Centre (TIC) in Fore Street has a vast amount of leaflets and information, plus a huge amount of local knowledge.
At the lower end of the town near the beach is an unusual house named the Octagon it was here that renowned artist Sir John Millais began the creation of his famous painting, The Boyhood of Raleigh, and a plaque on the wall commemorates his stay. Nearby is the actual wall featured in the painting, where you can step back in time and imagine the young Sir Walter Raleigh gazing out to sea and dreaming about his maritime future.
The nearby Fairlynch Museum is well worth a visit it is one of the few thatched museums in existence, and features exhibitions from local and natural history to costumes. Dont miss a visit to the museums smugglers cellar.
Just a short drive from Budleigh Salterton is the delightful village of East Budleigh, where you can visit the birthplace of Sir Walter Raleigh at Hayes Barton, and at Otterton there is one of the last working water mills in the South West, complete with exhibitions, craft shop and studios.
If you fancy a walk, the area around Budleigh Salterton is ideal, and the TIC has many useful publications including Twelve Walks in the Otter Valley, produced by the Otter Valley Association. A popular leisurely walk is from the river mouth to nearby Otterton there is an abundance of wildlife, and you can always take a break and have a picnic.
The town is known for its community spirit, and there is a huge range of events to enjoy and take part in during the year.
Always great fun for all the family is the annual Budleigh Salterton Gala Week, organised by the local Lions Club a fun packed week for all the family, climaxing with the procession and fireworks.
Always popular is the visit by the Imperial Operatic Society, who will this year be presenting Cole Porters Kiss Me Kate, from July 27 to August 6, in the Public Hall and Budleigh Salterton Art Club stages its exhibition in August, also in the Public Hall.
The surrounding area has lots of opportunities for walking, cycling, fishing and horse riding. The sports clubs in the area range from golf, cricket and football to bowls, croquet, tennis and rifle shooting. Many clubs welcome visitors either to watch or take part.