7 great reasons to live in... Teignmouth, Devon
PUBLISHED: 16:17 26 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:16 20 February 2013
Anna Turns finds out just what draws people to this elegant and colourful seaside town which sits at the mouth of the River Teign on the South Devon Coast
7 great reasons to live in Teignmouth
Anna Turns finds out just what draws people to this elegant and colourful seaside town which sits at the mouth of the River Teign
One of Devons oldest seaside resorts, Teignmouth lies just below the Haldon Hills on the Teign Estuary. The pretty village of Shaldon sits peacefully on the opposite bank. Teignmouth is also linked to Dawlish via a new 14-mile walking route, which takes you across Shaldon Bridge for views up and down the valley, then inland through beautiful countryside and villages looping back to Dawlish further up the coast.
Classic British seaside
Teignmouth is one of Devons oldest seaside holiday resorts and still retains its British charm with candy-coloured beach huts along the beach in summer and blue-and-white striped deckchairs on the promenade.
Three times mayor of Teignmouth, Cllr Vince Fusco (PIC) has lived in the town since he was a boy. He says: We have the best seafront in the Southwest, wonderful scenic walks and lots of events during the summer for everyone to enjoy.
The Den, a large and beautifully maintained green space, lies alongside the promenade, which runs for almost two miles from The Point at the mouth of the estuary along to Teignmouth Lido, the open-air heated seafront pool. At the heart of the Den, the traditional Victorian pier has old-fashioned penny slot machines galore.
A town of two halves, Teignmouths beachside holiday resort contrasts with the towns intriguing back streets. It has beautiful Regency houses, one in particular was the classic Georgian gentlemans residence for Thomas Luny, the maritime artist who lived in Teignmouth in the early 1800s. The current owners of Thomas Luny House, Alison and John Allan, have run it as a B&B for the past 21 years, very much in keeping with its traditional design.
Messing about in boats
Teignmouth is still a working port, but with a narrow main channel and strong rips, its necessary for every ship that enters the harbour to have a Trinity House pilot on board.
By contrast, more than 30 Seine boats belong to the River Teign Rowing Club, which is one of the largest clubs of its type, with about 600 members. Originally built as sea-going fishing boats to trawl salmon seine nets, almost 50 Seine boats now race against each other from April to September, in the renowned Seine Racing Series.
Lesley Burton, who still lives in the house she grew up in, set up the rowing club along with 11 others in 1994. Theres really nothing quite like it. I love it here, says Lesley. My favourite place is Back Beach because its where I grew up. Its like a community of its own. My grandchildren love it here too, and theyre also learning to row.
From the towns first science festival this March, Back Beach Festival in May, the town carnival in July, and Novembers Jazz Festival, theres always something happening about town. In June, the Teignmouth Folk Festival offers a vibrant mix of Morris dancing, ceilidh bands and folk music.
My family all enjoy the atmosphere of the Folk Festival, which has grown enormously since it first started, says Cllr Vince Fusco. It attracts locals and visitors from far and wide, and you can hardly turn a corner of the town without finding brightly costumed dancers and musicians performing.
The Quails, a four-piece band from Teignmouth, who will be headlining at the Teignmouth Music Festival. This unsigned band famously supported Muse at their concert on the Den last summer.
Food, glorious food
The town is home to a thriving caf culture, great for people-watching. The dignified colonnade building, home to Take 2 restaurant, was opened back in 1826 as a ballroom and has always been a social hub of the town.
In the backstreets, The Owl and the Pussycat restaurant is run by Sandra and Mokhless Bouzayen, who moved here 2 years ago. Sandra is proud that her business serves some of the best local produce. Its lovely to be by the coast, and everything is on your doorstep, she says.
Known locally as the dinner lady, Sandie Clark moved to the Teign Valley five years ago from the Midlands. She recently started a quirky enterprise, Open for Dinner, where she organises fine-dining experiences in unlikely locations anywhere from the RNLI boatshed to the Salty, the sandy spit exposed in the middle of the estuary at low tide. She describes the community as very sustaining: The local support is great and theres no pretentiousness in the town.
Across the water
Take the foot ferry, which has been in operation since the 13th century, from River Beach across to the quaint village of Shaldon, and enjoy extra treats every Wednesday (May-September), when the locals dress up in period costume for 1785 day. An ideal day out, great for shopping with local gift markets, craft stalls, and entertainment includes music and Punch and Judy shows. The Shaldon foot ferry, which takes passengers across to Teignmouth, has been in operation since the 13th century. The black and white design of the boats has been unaltered for about 300 years; it was modernised when oars gave way to a motor in 1909.
Along the coast
Further along the coastline, the mainline railway line separates the town of Dawlish from the seafront with its Blue Flag beach. The black swans, so emblematic of the area, can be seen on the Brook, and several cygnets have been born this year. On the mile-long spit which almost blocks the mouth of river Exe, Dawlish Warren reserve is renowned for its birdlife.
The town and surrounding area attracts a mixed demographic, with many families who want to live near the beach, retired people, and some holidays homes.
Property prices are on a par with Exeter now, says Chris Hall from local estate agents, Dart & Partners, and across the river property at Shaldon tends to be more expensive.
Two-bedroom apartments in some of the impressive period properties are on the market for between 149,950 and 230k, depending on proximity to the seafront. Whereas terraced older-style cottages in the backstreets of Teignmouth start at 135k for 2-bed properties in need of a little updating.
On the market at 299,950, The Lighthouse is a 4-bed detached property of innovative design with fabulous views from floor-to-ceiling windows.
By car: follow the M5 to Exeter, then the A380 continues down to the B3192 for six miles to Teignmouth
By train: the Riviera train line links Teignmouth to Exeter, Torbay and beyond, with the station just a short walk from the seafront
By bus: the No 2 bus goes to Exeter one-way via Dawlish and to Newton Abbot the other; the 32T goes to Torquay
Tourist Information Centre: on the Den opposite the pier. 01626 215666