The Cricket Inn’s Story…
The Cricket Inn first opened its doors to the quaint fishing village of Beesands in 1867 and has since continued to strive for over 150 years. The Courtney family ran the Inn for over 75 years. Elias Courtney acquired the Cricket around 1920 and subsequently sold it to Heavitree Brewery in Exeter around 1930, but his son Archie and grandson Cyril carried on the Courtney name until Cyril and his wife Maggie retired in 1995.
Over the years, the Cricket has survived storms, a bomb in 1942 which destroyed the adjacent cottages and cost the lives of 7 villagers, plus a mud slide that passed through the Inn from back to front. Since Rachel and Nigel took over the helm in 2001 there have been no catastrophes but many changes with a complete refit in 2003. In 2010, the Cricket Inn’s extension enabled the capacity for an extra 4 letting rooms and a beautiful new restaurant, which changed the old village pub into what we have today.
Today, the Cricket Inn is one of the most popular places to eat and stay in Devon, serving award-winning food, local cider, real ales and an extensive wine list.
If that wasn’t enough, there are 7 beautifully appointed bedrooms which have been awarded 4 AA Gold stars, 5 with stunning sea views overlooking Start Bay and beyond. The Cricket Inn is lucky enough to have the famous South West Coastal Path run right past its doors, making it a haven for enthusiastic walkers seeking a bite to eat and a thirst quencher.
The History of Beesands
Beesands derived from the term ‘Bay Sands’ and was first inhabited in the late 18th century, when the threat from seaward pirates had diminished. When the first ordnance survey was published in 1805 there were 6 dwellings at the southern end of the village and by the first national census of 1841, 104 men women and children were living here in 17 houses, with the majority of families being supported by the sea. The first public house in the village was called ‘The Kings Arms’ which was opened in 1823 by Susan Crocker and at the turn of the last century Beesands boasted 2 pubs, 2 shops, a bakery and a petrol station.
Fishing Played an Important Part…
Fishing continued to be the main source of employment until the early 1970’s when the introduction of wire crab pots, large trawlers and mechanical winches saw the decline of the beach launched boats. We still have three skippers who own trawlers operating from Dartmouth living in Beesands who are descendants of those original families, and yes some of their catch ends up at The Cricket Inn.
Today, there are approximately 50 houses with a permanent population of about 100, some of the old fishermen’s cottages have been refurbished and become holiday lets, but the village still retains its charm and is almost unique with rolling hillsides to the rear and its close proximity to the sea.
An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Beesands offers the ideal base to explore the beautiful South Hams in South Devon. Situated just metres from the beach overlooking Start Bay, The Cricket Inn boasts views of the entrance to Dartmouth Harbour, the unique Start Point Lighthouse and is also lucky enough to be surrounded by rolling Devon countryside.
The village is located directly on the South West Coastal Path which attracts avid walkers from all across the country. Within the village there is a large fresh water lake complete with its own bird hide, which offers the ideal place for bird watchers to gather.
Just a short walk over the coastal path lies Slapton Sands, an extremely popular pebble beach which plays an important part in the survival of some of the UK’s rarest flora and fauna. If you like your scenery to have a bit of history then Slapton Sands has a very moving story attached to it...In 1943, the beach was taken over by the allied forces to use as a rehearsal area for the D-Day Landings. Unfortunately 749 American servicemen lost their lives during the practising. There is a Sherman Tank and a memorial to commemorate this sad day.
Explore The South Hams
The Cricket Inn is lucky enough to be surrounded by beautiful scenery and local attractions. With just a short drive away, you can explore the National Trust's Greenway (Agatha Christie's beloved holiday home), Dartmouth Castle and Woodlands Adventure Park is a great way of entertaining the whole family.
Other than Beesands beach right on the doorstep, there are many local beaches to discover...Slapton Sands, Blackpool Sands and Bantham Beach to name just a few. Otherwise the picturesque harbour towns of Salcombe and Dartmouth offer the place for a spot of shopping, gin tasting and people watching.
With its heather-clad rolling hills, waterfalls and stone Tors, Dartmoor National Park is just a 20 mile drive away and is close to other well-known attractions such as Buckfast Abbey and Castle Drogo.