Treasure Hunting in a Devonshire Smugglers Cove

Treasure Hunting in a Devonshire Smugglers Cove

One of the many amazing things about living in South Devon is the choice of beaches we have to hunt for ocean treasures.  I have a few favourite beachcombing haunts to share with you, but one of my favourites is Fishcombe Cove near Brixham. 


This cove is around a ten minute drive from where my sailboat is moored which makes it a perfect post work wind-down location. Even the walk to the beach through Battery Gardens is great. Battery Gardens has been an important lookout since the 1500’s because of the panoramic views across Torbay, but it became a Coastal Defence Battery in World War 2 with around 250 soldiers posted there. A lot of the concrete lookout structures are still there.  There is a great little museum run by volunteers, and they run frequent events throughout the summer.


Its quite a walk down from the garden to the beach and the entrance is framed by a spectacular archway which always gets me a little giddy! I’m nearly at the beach....what will I find?

Once down on the beach I am always astounded by the colour of the pebbles and shells here.  Each beach is different. Factors include the geology of the rocks surrounding the beach, and the shape of the beach as well. Sometimes a beach with hard granite rocks creating an amphitheatre can make a perfect natural tumbler for the pebbles and glass on the beach. These beaches will leave beautiful smooth tumbled nuggets. Other beaches have a lot of pottery and glass because of their proximity to civilisation or rivers running into the ocean, but the glass is sharper and less jewel-like.

This is a typical piece of seaglass from this beach. It’s angular lines, yet smooth edges, make it perfect for creating a pendant. Let’s face it, who can resist that perfect seafoam colour? It isn’t the seaglass that makes this beach so amazing however. The combination of the softness of rocks surrounding the cove, and the funnelled effect of the ocean into the tiny cove make it the perfect environment for the creation of hagstones. I find some superb hagstones at this beach, many of which end up as beautiful pendant necklaces. For those not familiar with what a hagstone is, it is a stone which has a hole right through it that has been completely worn through by nature. I plan to complete another blog post just about hagstones and their history. For now they are something like this....

This particular beach is always an excellent place to pick up tiny shells with their unbelievable mother of pearl coatings glinting in the light reflecting off the ocean. You can see in this picture below how it is possible to become transfixed on them for minutes just taking in the various colours, shapes and textures.  Marvelling at these tiny miracles of nature. 

 I can spend a good couple of hours at Fishcombe Cove scouring the beach for treasure and always head back up the steep path back to the car with my pockets bulging with treasures.

One of my favourite visits to Fishcombe was when we stayed here overnight in our sailboat. That really was magical. We sat on deck with a drink very late on a warm summers night with only one other sailboat nearby, and we heard the snuffles and puffs of a seal swimming around the cove in the dark searching for food. It’s so wonderful to be able to take your home to the beach, and swim to beaches that can’t be reached by foot. I took this picture from the bedroom.

Devon certainly has a heritage of smuggling and piracy but I feel that story is exciting enough for a post in its own right! I am going to leave my first blog post here and hope it inspires a visit to the beautiful Fishcombe Cove in Brixham, Devon.

A selection of Hagstone necklaces, some of which are created with hagstones from this beach are available in the Nauti by Nature online store.


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