Budleigh Salterton is a small town on the coast in East Devon, England, 15 miles south-east of Exeter. It is situated within the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is a major part of the electoral ward of Budleigh. The ward population at the 2011 census was 5,967.


Budleigh lies at the mouth of the River Otter, where the estuary forms an area of reed bed and grazing marsh: an important haven for migratory birds and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It provides beautiful coastal walks and a large wild bird sanctuary on the estuary.

Budleigh also lies on the South West Coast Path, with clifftop routes eastwards to Sidmouth and westwards to Exmouth. The pebble beach and cliffs are part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage site, although this is an arrangement of geographical convenience, rather than being correct in terms of geological time, as much of the geology is Triassic, represented by bunter sandstone (Budleigh Salterton pebble beds). The Jurassic Coast stretches over a distance of 153 kilometres (95 mi), from Orcombe Point near Exmouth in the west to Old Harry Rocks on the Isle of Purbeck in the east. The coastal exposures along the coastline provide a continuous sequence of Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous rock formations spanning approximately 185 million years of the Earth's history. The Jurassic Coast contains a large range of important fossil zones. The area is known for radioactive nodules containing vanadium and uranium in red marl at Littleham Cove.

Facilities and transport

The town has ample cafes, licensed restaurants, tea rooms, gift and clothing shops, hotels and bed and breakfasts, and a cookery school. These are mostly found in the area of the High Street, Fore Street and Station Road (at the High Street end). Near the town centre is a park known as The Green.

Fairlynch Museum is housed in a listed, thatched marine cottage orné dating from 1811. It covers the history and geology of the region, and opened in 1967, offering exhibitions and a local archive. It possesses a large collection of period costumes. The town has a male-voice choir, which performs for charity.

Budleigh Salterton lies on the B3178 and the B3179 ends on the western edge of the town. It is served by three bus routes: The Coasthopper 157 (hourly) to towns Exmouth and Sidmouth, the 357 (hourly to Exmouth, also forming the local town service) and the 57C (one journey each way) to Exeter and Bicton College. Between 1897 and 1967, Budleigh Salterton was served by a railway line built and operated by the London and South Western Railway, which ran from Tipton St Johns to Exmouth, which is now the nearest railway station (8 km).


Budleigh Salterton is home to the scenic East Devon Golf Club, and to a croquet club founded in the late 1860s. The first team of the Budleigh Salterton Association Football Club plays in the South West Peninsula League Division One East. The club also has a second team, a ladies' team and a youth team. In addition, there is a cricket club, a rifle club, and a games club offering tennis, bowls and other pursuits.


Budleigh Salterton Anglicans were originally served by a chapel of ease that came under the parish of All Saints, East Budleigh. As the population grew, this was replaced in the 1890s by what became the parish church of St Peter in 1901. The church was heavily damaged by enemy aircraft bombing on 17 April 1942, but reopened in 1953. Today the Raleigh Mission Community at St Peter’s, Budleigh Salterton, and All Saints, East Budleigh, are part of a joint mission with St Michael’s, Otterton.

The Roman Catholic Church is also dedicated to St Peter. The Temple Methodist Church was completed in 1904, to replace an earlier, smaller chapel dating from 1812, built by the bookseller James Lackington, an associate of John Wesley. There is a Baptist church in the town, whose congregation dates back to 1843.

Notable residents

The birthplace of Walter Raleigh is a couple of miles to the north, at Hayes Barton, near East Budleigh and the town is the location for the painting The Boyhood of Raleigh by Sir John Everett Millais. A blue plaque affixed to The Octagon commemorates Millais' stay in the town.

The novelist Henry Hawley Smart died at Laburnum Cottage, West Hill on 8 January 1893. Other notable people associated with Budleigh Salterton include Henry John Carter, broadcasters Sue Lawley and Andrew Marr, ISSF 2006 World Shooting Champion Richard Phillips, Sally McNally, puppeteer of Muffin the Mule, the poet M. R. Peacocke, actress Belinda Lee, and writer Hilary Mantel author of Wolf Hall. The actor Reg Varney died in a nursing home here in 2008. Children's book author George Mills died here in 1972 while living at Grey Friars.

Festivals and events

  • Budleigh in Business - http://www.budleighinbusiness.org.uk/
  • Food & Drink Festival - held in Budleigh Salterton Town Hall, October 2013 http://www.budleighfoodanddrink.org.uk/
  • Guided Walks and Wild Bird Sanctuary on the River Otter - http://visitbudleigh.com/
  • Gala Week â€" a series of fundraising events, organised by the Lions, held during the last week in May.
  • Budleigh Music Festival â€" Classical Music on the Jurassic Coast - an annual week long event in July - http://budleighmusicfestival.co.uk/.
  • Budleigh Salterton Jazz Festival - held annually in April.
  • Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival - held annually in September since 2009
  • Active Budleigh Festival - sporting activities and events.
  • Budstock - a bi-annual one-day festival featuring local bands, usually at the beginning of August.
  • Sundown - an annual 3 day computer arts demoparty, held every September since 2005.
  • Imperial College Operatic Society visits Budleigh Salterton for two weeks in late July / early August (every year since 1966) to perform a musical.
  • Christmas Day swim on Christmas morning
  • Boxing day raft race down the River Otter, residents and groups make rafts and launch them down the river from Otterton to Budleigh

Twin town

Brewster, Massachusetts, USA

In popular culture

  • In the song "(Now) I know (where I'm going) our kid" by the parody group the Shirehorses, Budleigh Salterton is cited satirically as being on the road to Scotland.
  • The character Giles Wemmbley-Hogg portrayed by Marcus Brigstocke in the radio programme Giles Wemmbley-Hogg Goes Off lives in Budleigh Salterton.
  • Budleigh Salterton was used as a location for Jeremy Clarkson to review the Bentley Continental GT in a 2003 episode of Top Gear. He described the name Budleigh Salterton as the sort of name an owner of a Bentley Continental GT would have - and "Britain's most overpriced, dreary place."
  • In an episode of Blackadder the Third, after one of his failed get-rich-quick schemes, Mr. E. Blackadder exclaims "Goodbye, Millionaire's Row. Hello, Room 12 of the Budleigh Salterton Twilight Rest Home for the Terminally Short of Cash!"
  • Referred to in Blithe Spirit - "What ever is wrong with Budleigh Salterton?"
  • Budleigh Salterton is referenced briefly in an episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus, "The Cycling Tour".
  • The town Budleigh Babberton in the Harry Potter books is named after this town.
  • Budleigh Salterton was mentioned in an episode of Granada Television's adaptation/dramatisation of the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton" (aired under the title, "The Master Blackmailer") as an intended honeymoon location. In the original account by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, however, this location (as well as the entire scene) was never mentioned.
  • Budleigh Salterton is affectionately known as "God’s Waiting Room."

See also

  • List of places on the Jurassic Coast


Further reading

  • Cooper, Andrew (2007). East Devon Pebblebed Heaths: 240 Million Years in the Making. Impress Books. ISBN 978-0-9556239-0-5. 
  • Ford, Alan (2002). Mark Rolle: His Architectural Legacy in the Lower Otter Valley. Otter Valley Association. ISBN 978-0-9507534-5-4. 
  • The Jurassic Coast Trust (2003). A Walk Through Time, the Official Guide to the Jurassic Coast. Coastal Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9544845-0-7. 

External links

  • Budleigh Salterton at DMOZ
  • Otter Valley Association
  • Otter Valley Weather
  • Budleigh Salterton: geology of the Wessex Coast
  • East Devon Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust
  • Budleigh Salterton Croquet Club
  • Budleigh Salterton Town Council website

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