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26 July 2014
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Home town Kingsbridge

Jane Windsor-Smith

Nutritionaist, Jane Windsor-Smith along, with her husband Ray, moved to the South Hams from Stratford-upon-Avon in 1998.

They think that their hometown of Kingsbridge is a fantastic place to live. So let Jane show the the sights and explain just why she loves Kingsbridge .....

I came to Kingsbridge just over three years ago. It was a fatalistic discovery on our part as we had been looking for a new home for over a year, and we came upon Kingsbridge simply by chance, when out driving during a holiday in North Devon.

Whilst wandering up Fore Street we idly gaze in the estate agent's window - a habit that had become ingrained after a such a long search - and we saw a house that was just right for us.

Kingsbridge basin
The beauty of boats feature
strongly in Kingsbridge

We had no intention of looking for property here - in fact, I must confess I had never even heard of the South Hams, let alone Kingsbridge.

However, it was instant love and we moved down from Stratford-upon-Avon into our new home.

The night we arrived was one of those mizzly nights in December that we have since become used to. I stood outside our new home and the sound of carol singing drifted up from the road.

The air, although damp, was fresh and I can remember a slightly magical feeling coming over me - this was home. What a discovery. Now I can't think of anywhere else I'd want to live.

Masts bob and seagulls thrive in Kingsbridge

In the summer it is a quieter retreat than bustling Salcombe to the South West and Dartmouth to the East.

At the bottom of the town is the quay. This is a wonderful place to sit and watch the world go by - terns and sea gulls tend to dominate the scene but the keen birdwatcher will notice a wealth of different ducks and sea birds floating on the water.

Everyone who visits Kingsbridge seems to take a walk along the Quay and there's a picture postcard feel in the summer.

When the tide is out it's a muddy estuary scene with the swirls of water-moulded mud taking on a strange beauty all of their own. The colouful little boats moored in the estuary are stranded for half the day and it takes careful timing to get into and out of deeper waters.

The Estuary
Arial view of the town on the estuary with the patchwork hills in the distance

A ferry takes the traveller to Salcombe and around the little bays and inlets of the estuary - its timetable shifts along with the tides.

Kingsbridge is a small market town but has a bustling town centre as the hub of the South Hams locals from a big surrounding area come to do their regular shopping.

Kingsbridge has got a charm of its own. It feels welcoming as you walk down Fore Street past all the family run stores.

There are none of your multiples, apart from the obligatory Peacocks, Woolworths and Boots and most of the shops are run by their owners. So a shopping trip is full of welcomes and genuine care - it's difficult not to feel at home here.

Kingsbridge shambles
The Shambles in Kingsbridge

There's a slightly old fashioned air to the place with traditional drapers, butchers, hardware shops and bakers. Whatever you need you can get in Kingsbridge - it hasn't been overrun with gift shops and charity outlets.

My favourite time is Fair Week when each shopkeeper puts an unusual object in their window and the children spend hours staring at the display trying to spot the intruder.

The adults do too, but surreptitiously as they pretend that they haven't really got time for such trivia - as I haven't a family I find it best to borrow a child so I can pretend I'm just helping them!

It's all too easy not to look up when shopping as we tend to be scrutinising the shop windows, but the buildings in Kingsbridge are quite beautiful and are evidence of the long history of the town, graciously standing above the shops, three or four storeys high. Some of them date back to the 15th and 16th century.

Continue your tour of Kingsbridge More

Pictures of Kingsbridge courtesy of Tim Stanger

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