Hallsands Lost Village/Ruined Village, Torcross, South Devon

Hallsands Lost Village/Ruined Village, Torcross, South Devon

Lost coastal village in one of the most remote areas of South Devon at the southern end of Start Bay

Start Bay arcs from the mouth of the Dart Estuary down through Torcross to Start Point and Start Point Lighthouse. At the southern end of Start Bay are Hallsands and Hall Sands (Beach). South of the beach, above the water, are a collection of ruined buildings. These form Hallsands Lost Village.

There's a viewing point lined with information boards that tell Hallsand's story in great detail. Visit to read and learn more but the following section outlines how the village was lost to the sea:

'Hallsands was lost as a direct result of shingle being removed in order to enlarge Plymouth docks just before the First World War.

The village was built on a secure rock ledge, originally formed when sea levels were higher (breaking waves create a terrace - a 'wave cut platform'). Over time the gaps in the rock you see were filled with sand and earth which became cemented together, making a wide, flat shelf. The site may look precarious now, but the wide shingle beach that used to be in front of Hallsands provided a protective buffer from powerful waves coming from the east.

What wasn't understood at the time the shingle was dredged, was that as Hallsands beach is bounded by cliffs at either end, no more shingle could wash in to replace what was removed.

What's more the shingle wasn't going to be replaced by the cliffs eroding - most of it was put there thousands of years ago by rising seas following the ice age. This meant that when the shingle was dredged from the water, waves and currents simply filled the holes with shingle from the beach. The beach just became narrower, the high watermark crept up the shore and the sea started to wash away the 'cemented' sand and rocks from the ledge.

Eventually, land gave way to sea and as written in the Western Daily Mercury 29th January 1917, "Hallsands ... ceased to be".' (Source: information board on site)


Location of Hallsands Lost Village/Ruined Village

We've positioned Hallsands Lost Village/Ruined Village on Google maps. Zoom in on the 'Satellite' setting to see its location. The viewing point and information boards are at the southern end of Hallsands where the South West Coast Path leaves the village on its way to Start Point.