Devon Life Discovers 7 Great Reasons to Live in Brixham Devon

There's a new view around every corner and a sparkling harbour in this busy Devon fishing port, writes Robert Hesketh

There’s a new view around every corner and a sparkling harbour in this busy fishing port, writes Robert Hesketh

Brixham is one of England’s most picturesque fishing ports – with the highest value catch in England and a world-class reputation for quality. Its new Fish Quay is nearing completion. The comings and goings of trawlers, ferries, row boats and yachts in and out of the harbour has delighted generations of artists. Well-sheltered, with a splendid outlook over Torbay, Brixham is friendly with a strong community spirit – altogether a great place to live.

The beaches at Shoalstone and the Breakwater, plus the coves at Fishcombe Churston and Elberry, are all part of the town, as are the villages of Churston and Galmpton.

 1 For sailors

Sheltered by the � mile-long breakwater, Brixham’s 500-berth marina provides good facilities and 24-hour security and is a popular port of call. All sorts of boats can be chartered and hired at Brixham, with several companies offering instruction in sailing and powerboating. Trinity Sailing Trust is one and amongst its fleet of historic sailing vessels are Leader (1892) and Provident (1924), two of Brixham’s last sailing trawlers. Cruises, adventure voyages, the Tall Ships Race and RYA training are all on Trinity’s programme. However, you don’t need to be a sailor to enjoy fishing trips and wildlife cruises or the frequent ferries from Brixham, which sail to Torquay and Paignton, or south to Dartmouth and thence to Greenway, Agatha Christie’s retreat on the Dart.

Tell us about your favourite fishing spot in Devon at the bottom of this article 2 For shoppers

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Brixham’s shopping area is compact and largely self-sufficient. As well as supermarkets, there are traditional butchers, greengrocers and a fishmonger. Electrical goods, DIY, computers, cameras and more besides can all be bought on the main streets.

 Brixham also has a surprising mix of good clothes shops, and if you’re feeling more outr�, try Smiles (a fun/fancy dress shop). Destiny mystical shop sells spiritual, healing and esoteric goods and offers a wealth of workshops and courses from yoga to women’s empowerment, tarot, hedgewitchery and angel awareness.

 Being a port, Brixham also has chandlers, yacht supplies and fishing tackle shops, plus art galleries and craft shops. A pannier market is held throughout the year.

“Brixham is one of the prettiest towns in the UK. It has serious soul because it is a live working fishing port. It may be a little rough around the edges but I like that, it has endless possibilities. It is a beautiful place, with views of the fishing port from the hills and the most incredible scenery. It is hard to beat walking up to Berry Head from Brixham and looking down on the yachts and the cliffs around the coastline, rugged but almost divine.” Mitch Tonks

3 For the kids

There’s five primary schools in Brixham and another at Galmpton. Brixham Community College is very strong on extra-curricular activities and nearby Churston Ferrers Grammar School was described as ‘outstanding’ after a recent OFSTED inspection. South Devon College in Paignton provides courses from ‘A’ Levels to apprenticeships, and Torbay’s private schools include Abbey School, Stoodley Knowle and Tower House School.

Learning to swim?"Children will love going to Shoalstone where there is an extraordinary outdoor seawater swimming pool, one of the few left in the country. It is manned by Lifeguards (May-Sept), is open all week, and has a caf� and space to lounge while admiring the fabulous views of Torbay.

4 For friends

Brixham’s friendly traditional pubs such as the Blue Anchor, the Sprat and Mackerel, and the Crown and Anchor are mainly centred around the harbour. There are also coffee houses and caf�s, some spilling outside onto the pavements in fair weather. Bistros, takeaways and restaurants cater for tastes from Indian and Chinese food to traditional English fare, but not surprisingly, best of all in Brixham has to be its fresh fish. Try the Poopdeck Restaurant, Beamers Restaurant or the Breakwater Bistro, which is so close to the water you can almost dip your toes in. Locally caught fish also features at Churston Court Inn, a 17th-century building featuring carved furniture, paintings and a magnificent staircase; the inn’s restaurant is reputedly the most haunted in Britain.

 5 For treats

If you are sweet-toothed, try the flavoured Devon fudges, clotted cream, chocolates and honeys from one of Brixham’s several traditional sweet shops. Or for a spot of pampering there’s Stephanie’s Beauty Salon.


Not surprisingly, best of all in Brixham has to be its fresh fish


6 For the views

Brixham’s quay and narrow lanes invite exploration on foot – a new view appears around every corner. Boats are constantly coming and going from the harbour, providing an ever-moving scene, especially when fish are landed. Quite often you will spot three generations of a family enjoying the day together around the harbour, the children crabbing with their brightly coloured buckets while parents and grandparents sit back enjoying the relaxed atmosphere, perhaps watching the fishermen mending their nets.

A full-size replica of Sir Francis Drake’s Golden Hind is permanently moored in the harbour, a reminder of Devon’s great seafaring heritage, and you can explore above and below decks.

7 For the birds

Use the well-signed Coast Path for a stalk round the harbour from Battery Gardens to Berry Head and beyond, particularly romantic at sunset for a cliff-top stroll. Berry Head Nature Reserve is a 100-acre National Nature Reserve and Country Park, which can also be accessed by road. Take time to explore its Napoleonic forts, see the lighthouse and the new hide overlooking the 200ft high bird-haunted cliffs (remember your binoculars!).

Fact File

By car: Take A3022 from Torbay. Follow signs for car parksBuses: Frequent service 12 from Torquay Harbour via PaigntonTourist Information: The Market House, Brixham Quay, TQ5 8AW. 01803 211211

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