Bantham sits at the mouth of the 22 mile long River Avon. Walks along the River Avon including the Avon Estuary Walk, are available to download from the South Devon AONB website and would lead you from Aveton Gifford, along the River Avon and into Bantham.
The Rev Sabine Baring-Gould in ‘A Book of Devon’ first published in 1899 had this to say about the River Avon, “The river passes under Loddiswell (Lady’s Well) and then unable to reach Kingsbridge estuary on account of an intervening hill, turns sulkily to the right and enters Bigbury Bay far away to the west. Clearly Kingsbridge Harbour was made to receive it, but the river, like the life of many a man, has taken a twist and gone astray.”
Bantham is now part of a large, privately owned estate of 728 acres. The name comes from ‘ham meaning a dwelling place and ‘Bents’ which refers to the sea grass found on the sand dunes. The estuary which includes mudflats, saltmarsh and grassland are carefully managed to protect the delicate aquatic habitats which include an oyster farm, all of which can be seen on a canoe trip with Singing Paddles.
The row of white-washed traditional cob cottages are 17th century Grade II listed, and The Sloop Inn first dates from the 14th century. In July, Bantham plays host to two popular events, Tribal Clash which is an international cross fit competitive event, and the Bantham Swoosh, a 6km swim organised by the Outdoor Swimming Society. The “Swoosh” referred to is an experience that everyone can enjoy provided the tide conditions are safe to do so. Just jump in between Coronation Boathouse and let yourself be pulled along by the tide to the beach.