Saturday, 30 December 2006


This coming year sees the 90th anniversary of the loss of the village of Hallsands to the sea. Its location on the South Devon coast facing due east overlooking Start Bay is incredibly exposed - I have been to that area when the wind has been quite strong and it seems so different to the more cosy inlets and river estuaries that are more prevalent on the south coasts of Devon and Cornwall. By westcountry standards it is a huge bay and is, for me, a little overpowering but it is fascinating nevertheless.

The story of Hallsands destruction is well known with books and websites devoted to it and I notice that Radio Devon are putting on a play drawing on the characters of Hallsands and set in the period from near the start of the 20th century till its demise in 1917. Good websites to read about Hallsands can be found
here and here.

Although the disaster at Hallsands can be put down to the folly and arrogance of man I think that given time it might have been lost to the sea anyway when one thinks of the damage that has occurred more recently at Torcross and the necessity to move part of the A379 road landwards.

Just to the north of the deserted village and on the low cliff stands the Hallsands Hotel which sadly having been deserted and boarded up for the last few years is now being demolished. I believe that the intention is to build new houses on the site. I last saw the hotel a year or two ago and it was looking very sad and forlorn. Perhaps never an architectural gem it did I understand have some interesting history. Before closing its doors it had been run by David and Carole Light largely for the benefit of diving enthusiasts. Prior to that it had been a hotel that mainly provided a retreat for the gay community! Nick Gillman, sometime a teacher and social worker, became fascinated with the eccentricities of the old place and is hoping to write a book about it. Good news as it is important that such things are recorded for posterity.

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