Smalls Cove, East Portlemouth, Salcombe

Smalls Cove is one of the sheltered East Portlemouth beaches on the opposite shore to Salcombe; behind are the tree covered cliffs, in front, the crystalline waters of the Kinsgbridge-Salcombe estuary. It’s a lovely little spot, and because it’s quieter than Salcombe there’s an air of nostalgia, harking back to those perfect holidays of yesteryear; all a bit Enid Blyton, a touch of the Swallows and Amazons. For some it will feel like a wonderful escape from a frenetic world.

There’s no car par at Smalls Cove, probably one reason why it’s not so busy as on ‘the other side’. If you’re already in East Portlemouth you can walk down the cliff steps to get here; otherwise you’ll need to get the passenger ferry over from Salcombe first. East Portlemouth has several small beaches, all linked at low tide to form a beautiful stretch of golden sand, so if you fancy a stroll along the shoreline, wander along to Mill Bay or in the opposite direction, to Sunny Cove.

Spend an afternoon or a day at Smalls Cove and the chances are it will stay with you; the sun shining down, maybe the softest breeze, the waves lapping gently on the shore. Idle away the hours making sandcastles with the kids, soaking up the rays, watching the dinghy sailing in the estuary. The beaches on the East Portlemouth side have Safe Bathing Status so if you fancy a swim or a spot of paddleboarding, go ahead. All are privately owned too, but fortunately, the public have access – the only proviso is that you can’t have barbecues or fires. Staying on the plus side, Smalls Cove is dog friendly all year, so your waggy tailed pet gets to join in the fun. If you’re looking for a beach with stacks of facilities – beach huts, cafes and shops, this isn’t for you; this is generally for quiet enjoyment, the kind of place where you can enjoy a leisurely picnic on the sand. There are amenities a little way up the cliff from the slipway, including Venus Café where in the season you can grab a drink and a bite to eat and take in the startling views.

Of course, if you’re staying at Smalls, nestled in the cliffs above the cove, all you have to do is stroll down through the gardens to your own private area of the beach. Lucky you.  

All information correct at the time of writing

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