PUBLISHED: 09:57 27 July 2018 | UPDATED: 15:44 09 August 2018
Unspoilt, unique and lovely, with an atmosphere all of its own – that’s the general view of Budleigh Salterton from its residents.
Approaching the seafront through the pretty town centre, it all seems rather small; very sweet and genteel, but understated.
Until you emerge at the breathtaking beach – a long sweep of pale pebbles, with the red Jurassic cliffs sloping up at each end.
It’s a view that has probably changed very little over hundreds of years.
Who knows – that stunning expanse of sea and wide horizon may have inspired the exploratory spirit of Sir Walter Raleigh, who famously was born in East Budleigh and would certainly have visited this beach as a boy; the famous painting by Sir John Millais depicts him there listening to a sailor’s tales of nautical adventure.
Budleigh Salterton is today something of a hotbed for the arts, with one of East Devon’s leading art clubs, an annual music festival, and its internationally-famous literary festival, whose president is the award-winning local author Hilary Mantel.
Exeter and the M5 are 12 miles away by road, and Budleigh Salterton has a regular bus service to Exmouth, Sidmouth and Exeter. The town does not have a railway station, but Exmouth station is only five miles away, with regular trains to Exeter, which is on the main line to London.
Food and drink
A Slice of Lyme is a family-run licensed bistro/café very close to the beach and town centre, and Bowmers Restaurant is in the High Street. Budleigh also, naturally, has a traditional teashop, Tea and Tittle Tattle. There are two pubs in the town centre and two delicatessens. There is also a farmers’ market on the last Friday of each month.
St Peter’s Primary School is rated ‘good’ by OFSTED, as are Drake’s Primary and Otterton Primary, both part of the Raleigh Federation. The two nearest secondary schools are Sidmouth College and Exmouth Community College; both have sixth forms.
Colyton Grammar, one of the top grammar schools in the country, is further away but very popular, and also has a growing sixth form.
Bicton College, just four miles away, used to be mainly agricultural but now also offers a range of courses linked to specific careers including the emergency services, engineering, teaching and social care.
Leisure and sport
Budleigh Salterton has its own football club, with men’s, ladies’ and youth teams. Its croquet club, founded in the 1860s, is one of the premier clubs in Europe, and its bowls club is one of the oldest in Devon, dating back to 1903. Budleigh also has a very active cricket club, and is home to East Devon Golf Club, whose course is set in stunning scenery.
Budleigh residents say they enjoy shopping in the town because there are so many independent traders who live locally, rather than the chain stores found on most high streets.
Otterton Mill is good for a day out, with a working watermill, a shop selling arts and crafts, and a restaurant.