Where dinosaurs once played under tropical skies here as a visiting tourist on the Jurassic coast you can play too, but alas and alack the tropical skies have given way to a more temperate one.
However playing is still very much on the menu and with no dinosaurs around now you have no fear of being on the menu yourself!
On the ‘Jurassic Coast’ of Britain there has been shift and ground swell of policy focusing in on tourism and recognizing the potential for the coastal area of East Devon.
Towns like Exmouth, Seaton, Sidmouth, Beer and Budleigh Salterton have got together in order to find ways to market their tourism potential to a wider public using money they have in a more coordinated way after a decline in funding from Government sources.
Working as one, the towns are trying to maximize their draw and are focussing in on water sports, cycling, walking as well as the more traditional the bucket and spade type children’s holiday.
With developments already built but more planned for Exmouth they are making the very most of their 2 mile long seafront and providing facilities for the 21st century. British Olympic 49er sailor Stevie Morrison learned his craft there and spoke to visiting journalists about the area in terms of all types of sailing, be that wind surfing, kite surfing or yacht racing his first love.
CALL IN ON THE JURASSIC COAST
Seaton has a new £4m visitor centre for the area of East Devon and the World Heritage Jurassic Coast. This interactive, informative centre explains the story of geology in the area and the wildlife of this unique coast.
The centre is located next to Seaton’s other big draw, The Tramway, again unique; this 3 mile long tram line that brings in around 90,000 tourists each year. There they can ride the electric cars through a rural and estuary setting. They even run bird watching trips as the whole area is haven for hundreds of sea and wading birds that forage on the muddy banks of the River Axe that runs parallel to the tramway that up until 1966 was the train line into the town.
Not only can you ride and enjoy the views of the estuary but you can also learn to drive a tram as the enthusiastic staff and volunteers will happily take you on a course costing around £20.
Another way to take in the views of the Axe Estuary is to take a canoe ride up part of the river but do check with members of the local canoe club as to where you can access and also find out about the tidal situation before embarking on your trip. But taking all that into account a gentle cruise there is great fun.For more advance paddlers the sea could well be the aim and coastal kayaking provides some fabulous views of the Jurassic coast.
Places like Seaton are moving forward in terms of its accommodation and catering for its visitors. I stayed at the Mariners on the seafront wonderful views out to sea and the cliffs on each side of the town. The contemporary décor and furniture, easy parking and excellent breakfast is a good choice.
Eating out I sampled ‘The Shed’ a steak house just off the seafront with modern styling, excellent friendly service and great value also if you fancy the English delicacy of fish and chips, then its next door to ‘Frydays’ good prices and portions too. With excellent fishing right off the coast seafood is high on all menus from local shellfish and mussels to line-caught seabass. Plus how about Devon wine too!
This whole area is tied together by freak events in geological time and the towns of East Devon are now trying to make the most of this tourism clout and that’s certainly no freak event by them!