Slapton Sands, Part One: A Visit, Mid-2016

In mid-2016 a visit was made to some beaches on the south coast of England. One of these beaches was Slapton Sands, about 45 kms east of Plymouth. Driving through the village of Slapton, you come out to the coast just north of Slapton Ley, the largest natural freshwater lake in south-west England, being 2.4 kms (1.5 miles) long. The Ley is separated from the ocean by a bar of shingle, known as the Slapton Line, with Slapton Sands being the 4.8 kms (3 miles) long shingle beach on the ocean side. 

Below are two views northwards of Slapton Sands from the village of Torcross, just a couple of kilometres south of where the above photos were taken. The first photo was taken in 2012 and is from the Flickr account of Mark Coleman, with the second photo being from the “Essentially England” website page on Slapton Sands:

A two minute YouTube clip of Slapton Ley, Slapton Sands and its local region, mainly from an aerial drone, produced by the Field Studies Council. It includes views of the Field Studies Council’s Slapton Ley field centre, the Start Bay field centre, and Slapton Ley Nature Reserve.

A two minute YouTube clip posted in 2016 by Cornwall and Devon TV, on Slapton Sands for tourists – very beautiful.

A six minute YouTube clip of a person’s visit to Slapton Sands in 2011, showing Slapton Ley and its birdlife, the beach, and surrounding features.

The history of the Slapton Ley and Sands area is presented on the website of the Slapton Line Partnership, going back 100,000 years – click on the small circles under the timeline.

See also the following Tumblestone Posts: Slapton Sands, Part Two: The Protective Significance of the Shingle BeachSlapton Sands, Part Three: The Historical Significance of a Shingle Beach – The 1943-44 Evacuation; Slapton Sands, Part Four: The Tragedy of “Exercise Tiger”; Slapton Sands, Part Five: Beach Stones in the Rough;  Slapton Sands, Part Six: The Beach Stones Polished

“Isn’t that what friends are for?”

Friends are for sharing the delights of beach-walking, for annoying them with the latest treasure-stone you have found, for helping you to carry the extra weight back home, for saying “Ohhh!” when you show them the polished end-product…. 

“Isn’t That What Friends Are For?” by Bruce Cockburn

Heavy northern autumn sky
Mist-hung forest — Dark spruce, bright maple 
And the great lake rolling forever to the narrow gray beach

I look west along the red road of the frail sun
Where it hovers between shelf of cloud and spiky trees,
Receding shore;

The world is full of seasons; of anguish, of laughter
And it comes to mind to write you this:

Nothing is sure
Nothing is pure
And no matter who we think we are
Everyone gets his chance to be nothing

Love’s supposed to heal, but it breaks my heart to feel
The pain in your voice —
But you know, it’s all going somewhere
And I would crush my heart and throw it in the street
If I could pay for your choice

Isn’t that what friends are for?
Isn’t that what friends are for?

We’re the insect life of paradise:
Crawl across leaf or among towering blades of grass
Glimpse only sometimes the amazing breadth of heaven

You’re as loved as you were
Before the strangeness swept through
Our bodies, our houses, our streets —
When we could speak without codes
And light swirled around like
Wind-blown petals,
Our feet

I’ve been scraping little shavings off my ration of light
And I’ve formed it into a ball, and each time I pack a bit more onto it
I make a bowl of my hands and I scoop it from its secret cache
Under a loose board in the floor
And I blow across it and I send it to you
Against those moments when
The darkness blows under your door

Isn’t that what friends are for?