“ Slapton is a village in Devon, England, between Kingsbridge and Dartmouth. The nearby beach, known as Slapton Sands, is today noted as a naturist beach, but in 1944 was the site of the ill-fated Exercise Tiger. A Sherman tank that was sunk in this action „
From the pictures Slapton appears quite charming in the sunshine and thus I don't particularly want to discourage any one from visiting but with the recent bad weather we are being plagued with, this review can be viewed as a worthwhile word of warning and is primarily aimed at those visiting the field centre.
I went to Slapton Ley Field Centre for a week late last October and I cannot recall one day of sunshine whilst I was there, it made the entire trip miserable and bleak. Dont get me wrong, I am a country girl and all but being out 24/7 in depressing weather is something quite different.
One of the primary reasons to advise travellers not to visit Slapton is the possibility of multitudes of students (like myself) visiting the Slapton Ley Field centre as part of their biology A2 course. Such students soon realise that despite the staff being excellent, there is very little to do at the centre in the evenings, the food is dreadful and the accommodation even worse (the showers that the girls had consisted of two cubicles with clear glass doors and believe it or not boys but girls do not particularly wish to watch each other shower) and therefore the more overconfident of the bunch attempt to plague the town searching for pubs/ the single shop to see if they possibly be served alcohol and better food. As the centre is run not dissimilarly from a boot camp it is made difficult for the students to achieve their alcoholic aims however their wandering is both noisy and thoroughly unwanted, especially by those who have moved into Slapton from afar expecting a quaint seaside town.
Whilst this rampaging occurs, the wildlife at Slapton and preservation effort remains superb, if you wish to observe over 2,000 species of fungi, Slapton is quite possibly the best place to visit. The most remarkable facet of Slapton however is not the fungi but the incredible way in which it offers a combination of habitats in such a small place, ancient woodlands (about an hour walk away), streams, saltwater, freshwater (largest freshwater lake in the South West), a shingle ridge and grassland. This makes it a fantastic place for studying such habitats and also a great opportunity to see all kinds of wildlife that are either not visible or non existent in other areas of the country both for students and tourists.
I have already noted the poor food and accommodation at Slapton but I shall now elaborate. The food left much to be desired, I believe breakfast was the best meal possibly as it involved making your own lunch (sandwiches) so there was a lot of excess food to eat, whilst dinner was awful, although surprisingly generally slightly better for the vegetarians despite their meal the first night consisting rather stereotypically mainly of a salad. The rooms were fairly large, we were in the older block which was the worst of the two. There were several cracks in the wall plaster, some ominous stains on the floor and no locks on the doors of the rooms (only a lock on the main entrance of the building) but the rooms were generally clean. The main complaint was the showers as already noted, although the showers in the other block (which we escaped to almost every morning via running across the grass) were much better.
If you are student scanning this for information on Slapton Ley Field Centre, I must add that with the staff being excellent I easily attained an A grade there although admittedly I underwent much of the work on my coursework in a rush quite long after the field trip. The Field Centre was a worthwhile experience although I recommend visiting it at a more apt time of year than me. I did enjoy my week at Slapton Ley but I was also pleased to return home and at least for a few weeks after I put a greater value on private showers and not working 9 am till 9 pm.