Maritime Interpretative Trails
MAST built two maritime interpretative trails along Devon's south coast for the National Trust in 2011. Visitors now have a choice of trail to suit them. Keep an eye out. As soon as the trail is up, MAST will link this page to the National Trust, which will be full of photos and information and some short and informative videos.
South Devon’s Shipwreck Trail, a book by MAST’s CEO, Jessica Berry, about all the shipwrecks that act as a necklace to this stretch of coast, is available from Amberley publishing.
The first is a kayak trail which runs along the Salcombe ria to the bar. The trail takes in the rich maritime past which archaeologists have been able to link to the Bronze Age. Some of the oldest shipwrecks in Northern Europe lie in the approaches to Salcombe.
The South Hams area has evidence of trade with the Byzantine Empire and the earliest physical evidence of the prehistoric South West trade in tin. The town helped transport troops to Brittany at the beginning of the Hundred Years War and in 1403 the town was sacked by the French.
Salcombe sent four ships to fight the Spanish Armada of 1588 and the remains of the San Pedro El Mayor, a Spanish Armada ship, lie off nearby Hope Cove, though the wreck has never been found. The survivors of that wreck were taken to Ilton Castle, just south west of Kingsbridge, now a farm.
During the English Civil War the town was a base for Royalist privateers, falling to parliamentary forces at the very end of the war. During the 19th century the town traded with Newfoundland in Canada and built and operated fruit schooners, fast ships built to transport fruit from Spain and the Azores.