South Devon National Landscape
Follaton House, Plymouth Road,
Totnes TQ9 5NE


Tel: 01803 229330


Celebrating South Devon National Landscape at 60

South Devon National Landscape – Celebrating 60 years


2nd August 2020 was the 60th anniversary of the designation of South Devon National Landscape.


The Glover Review, highlighted the importance of National Landscapes and we are tasked with ensuring more and a wider range of people engage with their natural heritage and benefit from their national assets. To celebrate our anniversary we decided to engage with our communities and help them find out

  • How has the landscape of the National Landscape been shaped in the past?
  • Who is looking after and influencing how it looks today?
  • What might it look like in 60 years time?


Thanks to a £10,000 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, we ran a series of online and in person events and activities over the year and a bit from our birthday to the end of October 2021.


During this time just under 2000 people got involved in storymaking, heritage walks, online zoom talks, film making, food tasting, painting, hiking, surfing and wildlife watching. The project has been a great success, despite the restrictions we faced with Covid-19 and has been a great way to celebrate our big birthday.


Here are some of the things we did.


Living here in the past


We worked with 4 local primary schools (Salcombe, Malborough with South Huish, Stokenham area and Charleton), Chivelstone Church PCC Restoration and Community project and a local artist, Sara Hurley, to deliver a remote schools project during lockdown.


The project was based around shipwrecks during the Great Blizzard of 1891, some of the sailors are buried in the churchyard. We sent a resource pack out to all schools with images, maps, tips for writing stories, references and articles from the time and a film, with Mrs Perry, the Coastguards wife telling the beginning of the story. The children were then challenged to write the end of the story and submit them for judging with volunteers from the church group.

124 children wrote and sent in stories; the winners’ entries were made into another film telling the ending of the story.


Watch Mrs Perry’s story:

Watch the winning endings from Toby and Ayla:

The steamship Marana, wrecked off Start Point during the Great Blizzard

The steamship Marana, wrecked off Start Point during the Great Blizzard


In addition, A level Art and photography students from King Edward VI college, Totnes, visited the coast and worked with local artist, Bruce Timson, to produce work to accompany the stories at our finale exhibition.


Sketch from site visit to Start Point

Sketch from site visit to Start Point


We also worked with Devon County Council Archaeology unit to help tell the stories of the historic landscape around part of the coast of the National Landscape. Three guided walks, led by Bill Horner, the County Archaeologist, explored the areas around Bolt Tail, Bolberry and Bolt Head, looking at the evidence of how man has shaped the landscape on this part of the coast, right back to Iron Age times.


Walking through time at Bolberry

Walking through time at Bolberry


To accompany these, a series of three podcasts have been recorded to guide people around these sites themselves, or to listen at home.


You can listen to them here:


Walking through time – Bolt Tail


Walking through time – Bolberry and The Warren


Walking through time – East Soar and Bolt Head

Lastly we delivered an online talk about Start Bays wartime history and sent out a guided walk for people to follow the route after the talk. This was attended by 90 people.


Watch Start Bays wartime story

If you would like to explore the area yourself, you can download a free walking guide.


Living here now


We ran a programme of online and in person public events during the project to take a snapshot of what it is like to live in the South Devon National Landscape now. There were activities with different groups of people, encouraging them to explore the area, discover more about living, working and playing here.


Prawle Bee discovery day


We ran 16 events between Sept 2020 and October 2021, 10 of which were online talks. These were attended by 1478 people. The online talks were very popular with hundreds of people logging on through lockdowns and dark winter nights. We plan to continue with this as a winter programme in the future. All of the talks were live streamed to our YouTube channel – ready for anyone to watch again at any time! You can find them all here.


Online talk Zoom audience

Online talk Zoom audience!



We wanted to work with people who might not have the opportunity to visit the area and help them to enjoy the benefits of being out and about in the National Landscape. We also wanted to mark our anniversary in a special way, and after the pandemic, we decided that we would like to work with Westbank and provide opportunities for Young Carers to get out and enjoy adventures on the coast. We needed extra funding to do this so set up the 60at60 challenge!


We challenged people to walk the 60 miles of heritage coastline of the South Devon National Landscape to raise money for coastal respite days for Young Carers. The challenge and the 60th anniversary programme was launched by Artist Becky Bettesworth at Berry Head in August 2020, when members of the South West Coast Path team, National Landscape Partnership members and staff from Westbank, the organisation working with young carers, walked the first section of the walk from Elberry Cove, at the eastern edge of the National Landscape.



Photo - people with 60 at 60 banner at Berry Head, sea on background

60 at 60 launch Berry Head

The challenge ran until July 2021 and over that time we raised a total of £4257 from individual sponsorship, fundraising from local businesses and donations.


We would like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who helped us smash our £4000 target!


Image of person walking coast path near Gammon Head

Walking the 60 miles challenge near Gammon Head


A young carer is someone under the age of 18 who helps look after, or whose life is affected by, a relative with a disability, illness, mental health condition, or drug or alcohol problem. Every day life presents challenges for these young people, but during the pandemic, they had extra stress and pressure put upon them.


Image of young carers walking acropss beach with surf boards

Surfing at Bigbury-on-Sea with Discovery Surf


As recognition for all of their hard work, we took them out into the National Landscape to explore, relax, make friends, picnic and try some amazing new activities. We sailed in Plymouth Sound, canoed in Bowcombe Creek and surfed at Bigbury-on-sea.


Image of young carer canoeing

Canoeing on Bowcombe Creek with Singing Paddles


Living here in the next 60 years


Over the Summer of 2021, we talked to local people about their thoughts, hopes, dreams and fears for the South Devon National Landscape.


  • What might the landscape look like in 60 years’ time?
  • What would you hope your future family could enjoy in the National Landscape over the next 60 years?
  • What would you like to see remain the same, and what would you hope might change?


Image of the film makers

the film makers!


We asked 66 people from all walks of life and all ages these questions and made their replies into a film.

Watch the film

Image of Mums from Modbury

Mums from Modbury


We also made a film celebrating the 60 years of designation of the South Devon National Landscape. It gives people an insight into what pressures the National Landscape landscape faces and how we are working with local people, businesses and decision makers to protect it for the next 60 years. It was premiered at the National Association of National Landscapes conference in Summer 2021.

Watch the film

So we would like to thank all of the people who took part and helped us make our 60th year so memorable – for all the right reasons!


Image of young carers sailing

Sailing with The Island Trust

Related Pages

Listen to audio

Watch video

The Shipwrecked Sailors part 1

The Shipwrecked Sailors part 2

Start Bay’s wartime history

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