This summer we’ve been to The Gower, in south Wales, Cornwall, north Devon and Dorset. During these trips we’ve visited some really great beaches.
Here are our thoughts on what makes a good beach –
Sand – I know there are those out there that love the character of pebbles, but you just can’t beat a good sand beach. It’s not just that it looks fantastic. Whether you’re flicking dry sand through your toes, sinking slightly near the shoreline or walking on sands hardened by the sun, it’s just great to walk through.
Open Space – There’s nowhere like a beach to escape the hurly-burly of life. It’s one of life’s great pleasures. It’s also so incredibly calming, allowing you to place all the issues and problems that bounce around your head into context. With the continual motion of the sea you realise that any immediate worries can soon be washed away.
Views – there is nothing more spectacular than nature itself. Whether your beach is a picturesque Cornish cove or a vast open expanse that leads the eye into the distance, a good beach has a great view, and gives you the sense that you are in a special place.
Room – nobody likes to be cooped up and crammed in. A good beach will always have enough room for all those who want to be there. On busy ‘bucket and spade’ beaches there’s obviously less personal space, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great time. On these beaches it’s all about the vibe and atmosphere; whereas on larger, expansive beaches the sense of openness and vastness is what makes them special.
Somewhere to explore – good beaches always offer a sense of surprise and somewhere to explore. This may be sand dunes to clamber over, or the rock pools at low tide to explore. It’s that opportunity to potter about and discover something unexpected that really matters.
Swimming – you can’t really judge the water until you’ve had a proper dip. That doesn’t mean just dabbing your big toe in. I mean having a proper swim. The memory of a fantastic swim will always play a big part in how you remember and define a beach. How easy it is to get into the water, how clean it looks, whether the water and tide pull or drag you too much, how safe you feel and, of course, how warm and calm the water is all play their part.
Amenities – this is always a difficult issue. Some beaches are defined by their amenities – good parking, cafes, lifeguards, loos; Others are treasured for the very reason that they don’t have any amenities. It’s all about what type of beach it is and why you enjoy being there.