We visited Start Point a couple of years ago in the middle of the winter, and it was so windy that we could barely get the car doors open, and we abandoned all thoughts of going for a walk. Of all the wildest, most windswept spots on the South-West coast, Start Point is right up there, a fact which is borne out by two events in the past. On one fateful night in 1891, no fewer than five ships were wrecked in the seas off here. A few years later, in 1917, the village of Hallsands, whose defences had been weakened by dredging work which was carried out in order to provide sand and gravel for a naval dockyard near Plymouth, resulting in the level of the beach dropping lower and lower, finally succumbed to nature when a combination of strong gales and high seas tore into the village’s defences. The dredging had been stopped 15 years earlier after concerns were voiced, but this action proved too little too late. A salutary lesson for those in charge of such things: think twice before messing with our coastline.
Start Point’s other claim to fame is that the last sea pirate, one Henry Muge, was hanged at Start Point in 1582. It is rumoured that his ghost stalks the lighthouse.
Map of the area.
photo © 2008 stephen jones | more info (via: Wylio)