Travel: A trail of discovery at Gara Rock

mpmc- travel Italy
mpmc- travel Italy

With Devon being regarded as one of the most spectacularly sited places for eating, living and holidaying in the UK, Gara Rock re-opened in 2012 following extensive redevelopment and offers exclusive apartments and cottages for sale and rent, a café restaurant, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, spa pool and steam room, writes Alan Wooding.

Perched on the dramatic cliff tops near East Portlemouth, it is in a stunning location with breathtaking views across the dramatic Devon coastline and to the rugged headlands of Prawle Point and beyond Salcombe Estuary to Bolt Tail.

Once the dramatic site of a coastguard’s station, Gara Rock is a modern day escape where the power of the sea and physical surroundings can be experienced in warmth and comfort.

The Café Restaurant provides a relaxed environment to enjoy tasty, freshly cooked food influenced by the flavours of Italy.

Seasonal and with a rustic feel, much is sourced locally, nothing is pre-frozen or pre-prepared and bread and pastries are baked everyday in the kitchen.

Food is ordered at the counter, then tuck in to sharing plates of salads, bread, cakes and pastries with anything prepared in the kitchen brought to the table.

A new discovery trail devised by Gara Rock will take children and their families on a voyage of discovery when they visit the café restaurant or stay in the self-catering apartments and cottages during the summer months ahead.

And owners of this unique development have teamed up with Salcombe-based clothing company Quba & Co to offer everyone who takes part in the treasure trail the chance to enter a draw and win a prize each month.

Gara Rock is steeped in history and tales of shipwrecks, Moroccan gold and Enid Blyton-style adventures go hand in hand with this very special part of the southwest coastline.

The treasure trail provides an insight into the history of the area taking treasure trailers to the old lookout tower, along the South West Coast Path and down to Seacombe Sands giving them a taste of all the elements that add up to make it such an extraordinary and memorable location.

Quba’s John Williams said: “It’s a unique area of coastline and countryside which lies at the heart of every Quba design. We’are delighted to be involved and encourae people to really engage with their surroundings is wonderful.”

This magical spot is where many ships floundered on the rugged coast, settlements from the Bronze Age are etched into the hillside at Deckler’s Cliff, and lookouts watched the horizon for signs of German invasions during World War 2.

As a result of archaeological work just off Gara Rock tantalizing facts have been discovered about the prehistoric tin trade in the Bronze Age, sixteenth-century shipbuilding, seventeenth-century trade with North Africa with huge treasure troves of gold coins, jewellery and ingots discovered on a wreck situated directly in front of the development, and life at sea in the Royal Navy in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

A plaque unveiled earlier this year on the café’s outside eating area overlooking the cliffs and sea reveals to visitors fascinating clues to this and other secrets hidden by the sea.

There are some staples that are always included, such as home made burgers, chef’s home-cured pancetta, Devon crab, salads, ice cream and traditional cream teas, but the rest is ever changing with flavours to savour. Children and dogs are also all very welcome.

A range of self-catering cottages and apartments are available to book exclusively through Helpful Holidays and offer tastefully designed two and three bedroom accommodation with commanding views over the sea.

Prices start from £522 per week and pets are welcome in selected properties.

Owners and residents have year-round use if an indoor swimming pool, adjoining spa pool, outdoor swimming pool and extensive landscaped gardens.

Nestling below the development are the secluded coves of Seacombe Sands and Rickham Beach with easy access for sunbathing, swimming and surfing and it’s in a brilliant position to explore the South West Coast Path.

The discovery trails are free of charge and can be obtained in the café or local Tourist Information Centres. Once completed they should be posted in the box and winners will be notified each month.

For restaurant opening hours, please visit the website or call 01548 845945.