The National Trust has launched an urgent £2.6 million appeal to preserve and ensure public access to a beautiful stretch of the south Devon coastline. Bantham Beach and the Avon Estuary are part of the Bantham estate, which is for sale, with a harbour, 18-hole golf course and 21 cottages-in essence, a village- plus a car park and a private road to the beach, for £11.5 million.

 
Picture: National Trust/Steve Heywood

The Trust, which is not aiming to buy the cottages, will use £4.6 million from its Neptune Coastline Campaign, set up in 1965 to raise funds to protect coastal areas. It already looks after 742 miles of coastline, most recently raising £1.2 million to buy a one-mile stretch of the White Cliffs of Dover.

Family firm Evans Estates has indicated that it will only sell Bantham to owners who maintain its unspoilt charm. The Trust’s south-west director, Mark Harold, says that, if successful, they will work closely with the new owner of the rest of the estate. ‘This is a magical place and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,’ he says. ‘If we don’t raise the money, then this stretch of coastline might one day be disrupted by inappropriate management or development.’

To donate, telephone 0344 800 1895, text BANT14 plus the amount you wish to donate to 70070, post a cheque to National Trust, Supporter Services Centre, National Trust, PO Box 574, Manvers, Rotherham S63 3FH, or visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lovebantham.

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