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Otterton History - Ladram Bay Camping 1914/1978


The beach and foreshore at Ladram Bay had been an attraction for local people and occasional visitors since the late 19th century and teas were being served in the cottage by 1910

1910 Note Cottage left Coastguard Post centre, High Peak in background. (not Peak Hill)

In July 1914 The St. Thomas, Exeter Scout Group is enquiring if they could camp at Ladram which suggests they might have been camping earlier. In 1924 Clinton Devon Estates Agent, Mr Foster gave permission to Mr. Mingo, the farmer at Sea View Farm to have a Girl Guide Group camping on one of his fields. He also had plans for a tea house behind the cottage, which did not materialize.


In 1929 John Palmer, builder of Budleigh Salterton is leasing “ALL the beach and foreshore, down to low watermark, of sea at Ladram Bay” which does suggest that a field had been set aside earlier for a camp site. March 1932 Mr.Palmer is leasing for 99 years, three fields behind the old cottage and is erecting a tea house.

Ladram Bay

Early 1930’s. Fields set aside.

On the outbreak of war, 1939 the Army Authorities requisitioned the Camping site and Beach and paying Mr. Palmer a token rent. Mr. Towell, the farmer of Sea View Farm had suffered from the 1930’s Agricultural Depression and had to give up the farm in 1940. He was succeeded by Frank (Bill) Carter. The camp land became derelict although an aerial view taken by the R.A.F. in 1942 appears to show crops growing in Palmers fields. Mr. Carter would have benefitted financially from wartime conditions with a much greater demand for agricultural produce probably including the derelict camping site on instructions from Government.

Following the end of hostilities 1945, Mr. Palmer took over his lease of the camp site with the 8 years to run and asked for a 6 year extension which the Estate reduced to 3. In 1953 Mr. Palmer negotiated new leases to cover the cottage, watch hut, water supply, pavilion, beach & foreshore etc. Mr. Carter at Sea View Farm took over the leases during the following two years (65 years ago) and then took over 20 acres pasture for a caravan park, car park, shops and by 1956 the “3 Rocks Café” and “Ladram Bay Holiday Camp” are named.

On 29th. September 1978 the Freehold of the whole site was sold to the Carter Family .


1956 View of the Ladrab Bay site & coastline

Gerald Millington 2018


Clinton Devon Estates Archives. Documents, Letter Books

Kelly’s Directories

Charlie Fishers reminiscences

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