Coastal Heritage at Broadsands

An aerial view illustrating the entire coastal boundary of Churston Ferrers parish from Broadsands Beach to Churston Cove.  The contrast is clear between the natural features of coastline beach, Elbury Common & Cove, woodland fringe and the spread of 20th century development.

Broadsands provides pleasure at all states of the tide.

Broadsands 1925 – (nearly) untouched by human hand! No prom, no Broadsands Road, no Elbury Estate – all yet to come. However, hiding behind the trees is Lord Churston’s Elbury Farm.

Broadsands 1920’s original car-park and so down to the beach! Overlooked by the majestic limestone structure of Broadsands viaduct, built 1860/61.

Churston’s 18 hole Golf Course, opened 1925. In those days the view was even more stunning but no doubt, more draughty in a North-Easterly! Notice the still complete Warrener’s house on Elbury Common, today a ruin.

Contemporary ruin of Warren’s House on Elbury Common, once Lord Churston’s Rabbit Warren.

The Broadsands marshes as seen from the Dormie Links Hotel, now Bascombe Court, in the 1950’s. Drained during the 1960’s to create the new car parking areas. Rising sea levels could mean they have a relatively short life and the marshes will return!

Aftermath of the scene at Broadsands on 11th January following the Great Storm of 1866. Over 40 ships were wrecked on the shoreline between Brixham and Paignton and approximately 70 men lost. This dramatic newspaper illustration of the time gives some idea of the devastation where seven vessels were driven ashore.

Like the bones of a beached whale so can be found the exposed ribs of one of those shipwrecks from the Great Storm of January 1866. Sightings are limited and relate to a combination of a few days of Easterlies scouring away the sand and Spring tides. Westerlies gently replace nature’s sandy blanket once more.  

Ruin of Broadsands Neolithic Chamber Tomb. 

This ancient ruin is most likely the oldest remaining man-made structure in Torbay. Constructed circa 6,000 years ago in the late Stone Age, overlooking the then recently drowned basin creating our bay of today. Constructed of local Devonian limestone then covered in earth.

Dimensions: the chamber measures 11 x 7 ft and is 5ft in height. The entrance passageway measures 13 ft.

Burials: Originally 2 males, followed, after purification by fire, many many years later by 1 young male, under 20 years old and an infant.

Excavation carried out in 1958 by the Devon Archaeological Exploration Society.