Sails & Canvas: Our Favourite Places
Winter beach walks, stunning sunsets and cool cafes: Juliette and Mandi of Topsham's Sails & Canvas share their favourite seaside hangouts.
Spotted Sails & Canvas on Muddy’s Indie Store? If you love the beach, you’ll fall head over flip-flops with their beach and lifestyle gear, all handmade in a romantic old sail loft on Topsham’s estuary.
Owned by two eco-minded women and friends since childhood, Mandi and Juliette, the pair make everything from marine canvas and old sails, which they take in and recycle – sometimes still crusted with seasalt – from sailing clubs around the country.
Their ethical streak also extends to collaborating with brilliant initiatives like Clean Sailors and #2minutebeachclean to help educate and safeguard our oceans from the awful toll of 8.3 million tonnes of plastic that gets dumped every year.
Knowing their coastal cred, Muddy caught up with Mandi and Juliette to tap their local knowledge. Take the helm, ladies!
MANDI’S FAVE PLACES
Bantham Beach, Kingsbridge
Out of high season, a day at Bantham beach always feels like a mini holiday. Tucked amongst the dunes with warm water pools when the tide is out and plenty of bodyboarding in the surf. Also, one of the best beach bus cafes, The Gastrobus, for coffee and cake.
Budleigh Salterton Beach
A daily pleasure. It has one of the most amazing bays with the mouth of the River Otter at one end and its instantly recognisable line of pine trees on the headland. It’s great for swimming and paddle boarding. The pebbles are warm to lie on in summer and each part of the beach has its own character. I love listening to the waves echoing on the sandstone cliffs and in winter the sunsets are breathtaking.
South West Coast path
We walk the South West coast path a lot as it’s on our doorstep. It’s hard to choose a favourite stretch as the views when you are walking anywhere between Exmouth and Lyme Regis are of Lyme Bay and when the day is clear you can see all the way round to Portland Bill.
I did the Jurassic Coast Challenge 50km a couple of years ago from Lyme Regis to Exmouth in a day and the variety of the coast path from the undercliffs between Lyme Regis and Axminster to the never-ending steps down to the river at Weston Bay is amazing.
Jacobs Ladder Beach, Sidmouth
This place transports me back to childhood holidays with my grandparents. Its steep cliffs and huge expanse of sand and shingle are captivating. I love it most in the winter, when the beach is empty and the sea is wild, with waves crashing over the breakwater. At low tide, a favourite walk – especially with the kids – is to head for the far western end of the beach (Lade Foot) to explore the rock pools and caves.
For early summer downtime, this tiny cove has been a family favourite for over 10 years. Its sheltered bay and crystal waters are the perfect setting for a spot of paddle-boarding, not to mention the perfect sand for sandcastles. There is a lovely clifftop walk to South Milton, where you can stop off for a delicious lunch at The Beachhouse Café.
My hometown, on the bank of the Exe estuary, is packed with maritime history, Tudor cottages and Dutch gables. During summer months I meet with a local group to kayak and paddleboard on the estuary and the Clyst River, on the lookout for perfect sunrises or sunsets, always accompanied by spectacular river views and wonderful wildlife, whatever the weather.
Want to get with the beach vibe? Check out Sails & Canvas’ gorgeous handmade lifestyle gear, all designed and handmade in Topsham.