‘East Devon should be sold as one tourist destination’

The Jurassic Coast at Sidmouth showing the red rocks of Salcombe Cliffs

The Jurassic Coast at Sidmouth showing the red rocks of Salcombe Cliffs - Credit: Archant

Towns and villages promote themselves well - but they need to pull together to sell East Devon as a destination.

That is the message from Sheila Kerridge, the district’s tourism champion, who is calling for an overarching policy for attracting visitors.

She said a new officer role needs to be created to revive plans for a waterborne transport link that have stalled despite ‘a lot of work’ across the Jurassic Coast.

“The whole of our coastline do a fantastic job of promoting themselves but it’s very disjointed,” said Cllr Kerridge. We need a tourism officer to promote East Devon as one.”

The 90-mile Jurassic Coast was the first natural World Heritage Site in England, but Cllr Kerridge said many residents are unaware of that fact, adding: “Seeing it from the sea gives a whole new perspective and brings it to life. There’s been so much interest in the marine link – it’s such a fantastic project.”

But a waterborne transport link – with a ‘pleasure cruiser’ rather than a ferry – would need significant investment that is not currently available to build piers in Seaton and Sidmouth.

Cllr Kerridge said Sidmouth has the opportunity to build a pier that also protects the town’s shoreline if it is drafted as part of the emerging beach management plan.

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Town councillors allocated £25,000 towards the waterborne transport project in their budget for this financial year.

Engineers last year quoted £1million for a long, low-pitched concrete jetty structure reaching far out into the sea from the eastern end of Sidmouth. A jetty for Seaton would cost a similar amount.

Cllr Kerridge added that the best perspective of the Jurassic Coast is from the sea and everyone, from tourists to residents and cyclists to schoolchildren, would benefit from the marine link.

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