We took a family holiday to Teignmouth, Devon. (The first part of the name is pronounced ‘tin’ in order to confuse tourists, but we foiled this plan by arriving by train with station announcements.) As the name suggests, the town is by a river mouth; we stayed in an old house near the river beach.


The weather for the first few days ran kind of English in the morning, then sunny in the afternoons – convenient for us since that coincided with low tide and certain members of the party wanted to play on the beach.

Mixed weather, looking south past Shaldon Ness.
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Peter Boat. Great surname for a boat.
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Beach huts, rear.
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Looking out to sea from the sea wall on the front.
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Teignmouth has a pier – of course, it’s the Grand Pier, even though it was never that big and the seaward half is fenced off and looks ready to collapse at the next winter storm.

Pier (who needs cross-braces anyway?) and shiny sand.
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Under the pier.
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Shiny sand, southward.
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We stayed about a minute’s walk from the old quay, inevitably called New Quay, which used to be where they shipped granite, but now appears to mainly used for tying up the pilot boat. There is a much newer and much larger quay a little further up the river, with actual ships still loading aggregates, I think. I don’t know what they named that one, Old Quay maybe?

Equipment stored in the middle of the quay.
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‘PILOTS’ boat and its floating access platform at high tide.
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Mooring ring.
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Again we went to the beach in the afternoon; before that, the tide was too high. Teignmouth’s beach is completely covered for quite a lot of the tide.

Grey sea and concrete in the morning.
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View south through wooden breakwater in the afternoon.
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Found rocks and sand channels.
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River at high tide, looking toward the bridge.
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Another day with a rainy morning, but no worries because we went to the town museum. It’s a nice small museum in a fancy modern building.

It has a creepy doll…
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…and an air-raid siren (I think this is the bit that used to make the noise).
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The yacht club has a fancy building on the seafront.

Life jackets in the window.
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We took the ferry across the river to Shaldon. The ferry claims to be England’s oldest passenger ferry (in terms of how long it’s operated, not the actual boat, which seemed seaworthy). It was a short, fun, and inexpensive trip.

Beach huts viewed from ferry.
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View out to sea from the other side.
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On the other side, we climbed the Ness to visit Shaldon Zoo, which is a real zoo but is very small and consequently only has small animals, mostly monkeys.

And meerkats, posing.
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There is a Smuggler’s Tunnel which goes down through the cliff face to the beach. It’s a very nice tunnel, although suspiciously well-constructed (and signposted) for smugglers. There’s an old lime kiln by the tunnel entrance; I’m not convinced it was ever profitable to smuggle lime…

Lime kiln, sunlight.
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Lime kiln, looking up.
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Tunnel (with family).
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The tunnel emerges onto the beach, presumably above high water.
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Despite this, the last tunnel section was rather wet underfoot.
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We took the ferry back again, which didn’t take long even though we had to wait for it to go and come back (too many passengers).

View from Shaldon back across to Teignmouth.
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We embarked on a morning walk to Dawlish, which is the next stop on the railway line. This is less than six kilometres but the longest walk our 4-year-old had ever done (he was fine).

Sun on the sea, pier, rowing boats.
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Blue sky among clouds; sea looking flat.
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Sprey Point quay was built so they could bring in materials when building the railway. It now has a very large ‘Teignmouth’ sign (that you can see from said railway) and not much else.

Accessing the breakwater would have been difficult anyway.
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Stone-built shed on Sprey Point.
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The first part of the walk follows the sea wall right next to the railway line (there was a lot of waving at trains). After that it dips under the railway to go uphill on a small road called, obviously, Smugglers’ Lane.

Steps down from end of sea wall walk.
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Railway bridge with arches to sea.
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After climbing all the way to the top of the headland, inevitably the route took us all the way back down again, through a public park, into Dawlish.

View of Dawlish from up high.
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Railway tunnel entrance.
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Railway and sea wall heading into Dawlish.
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The sea wall in Dawlish looks new because in 2014 the railway (which is the only rail connection to the southwestern part of England) washed away in a storm, so they had to rebuild it.

Anyway, in Dawlish we had a very nice lunch at a Thai restaurant before playing on the beach a bit and then getting the train back.

Steps down from the jetty (there is no pier, so this is probably the Grand Jetty).
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View from railway station.
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We had cakes in a Teignmouth tearoom.

Old and new buildings opposite, church tower peeking through, varied chimneys.
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Afterwards, my son and I took a short walk near the house.

Probably less tasty TEAZ. (On the quay.)
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Lettering: ‘SeaQureHold’. Ouch. It’s an anchor for fish farms.
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Keats stayed here. Apparently he hated the joint. Nice shadows though.
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Pier looking quite nice in the afternoon light.
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Just missing two seagulls for the full set.
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Later in the evening I took another walk before sunset.

Buildings on the quay.
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Quay and its resident fishing boat.
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Shutters and door.
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Bay Hotel (ex) and roofline shadow.
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The sun disappeared ahead of schedule behind low cloud in the west, but I took a few more photos before heading back.

Groynes, looking north along the coastline.
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Pier and sea.
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Grand entrance to the Grand Pier (closed for the night). Nice lettering, at least.
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I dragged our son out for an early morning walk again.

Fire escape, reflections, window with lighthouse design.
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Yacht on river.
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Blue boat.
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The quay. I really like ‘which is deep’.
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Later, we went out to play on the northern beach.

Railway line entering Teignmouth.
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Large sign on Sprey Point.
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Fenced-off section of pier.
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Evening sun over the River Teign.
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That’s all! It was a nice holiday; we all had a good time.

All images © Samuel Marshall. All rights reserved.