The west end of the Jurassic Coast is formed of Triassic sediments laid down in desert conditions – as a result, there are lots of red rocks to see. Ladram Bay is home to red sea stacks and cliffs, and a distressing amount of ghost gear, plastic bottles and other rubbish. My 10 minute beach clean yielded more than I could easily carry in both arms – shameful for a private beach, whose owners one might hope had an interest in keeping it clean for their paying visitors. There were also quantities of mussels uprooted by the recent storm (called Emma I think – but I don’t like to encourage this silly habit!).
If you want to visit, you can park the car in the holiday park – there is a fee but there was no-one there to collect it on the showery day we visited. Next stop was Budleigh Salterton, which as well as being the fictional home of Giles Wemmbley-Hogg (Marcus Brigstocke’s alter ego), has what must be one of the most beautiful pebble beaches anywhere. Silver, gold, pink, grey, red, marbled, banded, streaked and mottled and all beautifully smooth quartzite – the temptation to pick them up and slip them in your pocket is almost irresistible but must be fought – is it really worth the £2,000 fine if you are caught in possession? Take a photo instead! And while you are there, take time to look at the boats and fishing equipment on the beach, which are always worth a snap or two.
The day we went was alternately bright and stormy, and to add to the dramatic atmosphere, artillery firing to the west (Dartmoor ranges?) was reminiscent of thunder.