Beer is on the South Devon coast between Sidmouth and Lyme Regis and has many attractions. It is on the stretch known as the Jurassic Coast – a World Heritage Site. If you know what you are looking for, you can see the evidence of around 185 million years of Earth’s history in the high cliffs.
Beer is a working fishing port with lots to see and enjoy, including sea fishing trips where you can catch fish to bring home for dinner.
Beer Beach Boats
Beer is perhaps not as well known as the holiday resorts of Sidmouth, Seaton and Lyme Regis along the same stretch. However it is an attractive place and also a vibrant fishing port with a plethora of art and craft shops.
It is not so much a beach for sunbathing and swimming , but rather for wandering and watching the boats and their occupants coming and going. You can marvel at the high cliffs as they provide shelter for the bay on a windy day and then enjoy a cup of tea right on the beach from one of the two seaside cafes.
It is quite a peaceful place to visit – at least outside of the main season. Free parking can often be found by driving right down through the town almost to the sea and then turning right up the hill. There is no train station but Beer is on the route of the Jurassic bus that travels between Exeter and Weymouth. You can buy a day ticket and then leave the bus along the route as you please. It is actually a very good way to explore the coast and countryside from the top deck of a double decker bus.
Beer Stone Quarry
Beer is perhaps most known for its stone which has been quarried here since Roman times. Perhaps the most significant local example of its use is the magnificent Exeter Cathedral. Beer stone appears in many major buildings and Cathedrals including Westminster Abbey in London. You can tour the Beer stone caves where you’ll get an insight into its uses. You’ll also hear about the smugglers who used the caves and see how today they provide a wonderful refuge for bats.
The stone quarry is enjoyable, but the real beauty of Beer is the seafront. It is here you can watch the fishing boats being winched up onto the beach as there is no harbour. They are pulled by a series of long poles.
The shoreline is very steep so it is no mean feat! The winch does most of the work, but people are still needed to manage the poles as the boat gets further up the steep incline.
There are always many boats on the beach and that just adds to the attraction of the place. This is a working beach and there always seems to be plenty of activity.
You can take a fishing trip to catch Mackerel and take your catch home for dinner. But if you would rather not catch it yourself there is usually some fresh fish for sale just near the beach!
Beer has a pebble beach, so to make walking on the beach easier convenient walkways have been laid. Otherwise it can be quite tough going on foot for any distance over the stones.
Art And Craft In Devon
If you can tear yourself away from watching the boats, you can wander up to the shops, many of which are independently owned. There are many art and craft shops, a greengrocer and perhaps surpsingly, a shop for large and tall men.
The town is very well maintained and charming with old buildings, hanging baskets and a picturesque outlook.
There are art and pottery shops to suit all tastes and a friendly welcome. It is a lovely way to idle away an hour going in and out of the shops viewing the variety of paintings, prints, glassware and ceramics.
Then when it is time for some refreshment – whether you are feeling just a little peckish or the sea air has provoked a larger appetite, there are several pubs and restaurants as well as a fish and chip shop. Generally prices are a little higher in Beer than in some of the bigger towns but the quality is good.
Beer is also a great base from which to explore the Jurassic coast. Close as it is to Sidmouth, Budleigh Salterton, Branscombe, Lyme Regis and Exmouth.
The Donkey Sanctuary
And if you want something different from the wonderful coastal views, there is the Donkey Sanctuary just a short distance away. The centre cares for several hundred donkeys, some of which have been cruelly treated in the past, and is a fabulous place to visit.
Entrance to the Donkey Sanctuary is free (although it’s a good idea to visit their website and make a donation) and there is a large car park. Visit the main centre and get to know the donkeys in the yard, then take one of the self-guided walks among the fields to see even more donkeys.
There is something really calming about donkeys. Watch them, stroke them, enjoy their presence! If you feel so moved you can even adopt a donkey.
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