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Things to do in Budleigh Salterton, Devon

Beach Huts Budleigh Beach
Beach Huts, Budleigh Beach © Tom Bastin via Flickr

Budleigh Salterton is a small town known for its quaint main street, which has a stream running down the side of it and small footbridges leading to each idyllic cottage.

It is 15 miles south of Exeter within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The town's name was originally Salterne, as salt was the main local industry run by monks at the monastery in nearby Otterton.

Budleigh is where the River Otter pours out through the estuary and into the sea. It is an important area for birds with tidal mudflats and reed beds.

Wesleyan Chapel Budleigh Salterton
Wesleyan Chapel © Ted and Jen via Flickr

The area is of interest geologically as the red Devonian sandstone cliffs are part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.

The Bunter sandstone and pebble beds date back to the Triassic period. The red marl rock at Littleham Cove has nodules containing uranium and vanadium.

Present Day Budleigh Salterton

The small town centre consists of some local shops, cafés, banks and antique shops lining the narrow street, along with some pretty cottages set back in English country gardens. The properties cover the Georgian, Edwardian and Victorian periods.

Fairlynch Museum
Fairlynch Museum © Gerry Labrijn via Flickr

Parking is advised on the outskirts of the town or near the seafront on the huge car park near the estuary as the High Street is very narrow.

Budleigh Salterton notoriously ranked bottom in a survey in 2003 for property that gave good value for money, but remains a popular place for affluent retirees and those looking for a village home with good facilities.

Famous people associated with Budleigh Salterton are TV and radio broadcaster Sue Lawley, journalist Andrew Marr, artist Sir Everett Millais and actor Reg Varney. Neighbouring East Budleigh is the birthplace of Walter Raleigh, at Hayes Barton.

Things to do in Budleigh Salterton

Budleigh Salterton has its own golf club, the East Devon Golf Club, with some of the best links views in the UK.

The town's Fairlynch Museum is in a charming thatched cottage, typical of the village, which holds local archives and exhibits.

Fore Street Budleigh
Fore Street © Tom Bastin via Flickr

For walkers, Budleigh Salterton is on the South West Coast Path with pleasant walks to Sidmouth in one direction and Exmouth in the other. There are also popular walks along the river to Otterton, with viewing platforms of birds overlooking the tidal estuary.

The pebble beach is popular for swimming and sunbathing and there are walks along the uncommercialised seafront esplanade.

Popular summer events include Gala Week, a Lions fundraising event; the Jazz Festival in April, the Annual Music and Drama Festival in August and a Literary Festival in September.

Visitors at Christmas can join the locals in the Christmas morning swim in the sea and the Boxing Day raft race down the river from Otterton.

Nearby Bicton Park is a delightful Grade I listed historic garden, laid out in the 1730s. Also of historic interest is the Dissenters Chapel at East Budleigh, built in 1719. The minister, Samuel Leat, was the head of the local smuggling ring in the late 18th century and he hid smuggled booty in the huge attic.

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