• Start Bay exterior
  • Start Bay bedroom
  • Start Bay dining room
  • Start Bay lounge
  • Start Bay serving area
  • Start Bay garden and ropes course
  • slapton local view
  • slapton local view

Start Bay is a separate self-contained property situated at the top of Slapton village, surrounded by beautiful countryside. The beach is about a mile from the centre with a steep gradient down.

From the Start Bay Centre, you can access the ancient woodland (only accessible to people who stay on site). The property sleeps 41 guests in eight bedrooms, with a large, secluded and enclosed garden including a low ropes course, pond and barbecue area.

The building and village also feature in Michael Morpugo’s book Adolphus Tips. It was once used as a school which closed in the 70’s. The Field Studies Council bought the property from Devon County Council in 2011 and it hosts the majority of our primary school residentials, self-catering and venue hire.

Start Bay is a stone’s throw from the unspoilt and picturesque coastline of South Devon. It is located on the Start Bay coast and is surrounded by the 210-hectare Slapton Ley National Nature Reserve that includes the 4km long Slapton Sands beach and the largest freshwater lake in the Southwest.


  • Capacity: Eight bedrooms with 41 beds. Three rooms are en-suite.
  • Car Parking: Parking spaces for 15 cars.
  • Disabled Facilities: Limited disabled facilities. There is ramp access to the property and two en-suite rooms that are good for easy access. Accessible washroom and toilet. Downstairs accommodation.
  • Linen: All bedding is provided, but you will be required to bring your own towels.
  • Lounge: Large cosy sitting room area adjacent to dining room with interactive whiteboard. Sofa and chairs to seat everyone. Games and books available.
  • Outdoor Facilities: The centre is located within beautiful, landscaped grounds with seating areas, large, enclosed garden and wildlife areas. There is an outdoor firepit, low ropes course and large secluded garden for outdoor games. There is also an area for camping and a safe, fenced in pond area.
  • Self catering: Self catering kitchen available.
  • Wi-Fi: Free guest Wi-Fi is available throughout the centre.


We want your stay to be as comfortable as possible. Our residential centres offer a range of room sizes and layouts from single and twin up to larger dormitories. Note: not all centres have single/twin rooms. All rooms are subject to availability. Some rooms are en suite and others have shower and toilet facilities close by. Please contact us if you want to discuss your room requirements.

Each centre also has places to relax during any free time such as a lounge, games room and outdoor space.


For one day visits you are usually asked to bring a packed lunch unless it is specified otherwise.

Residential visits include freshly prepared seasonal meals, with a hot breakfast, packed lunch and choice of evening meal. Food is sourced locally wherever possible and we can cater for most dietary requirements. All of our residential centres have been awarded the Soil Association’s Food for Life Served Here Bronze Award which recognises organisations which go the extra mile to make sure visitors are receiving healthy, nutritious and sustainable meals.

To get a better idea on what food we offer at our centres, please see our sample meals

Local area

The centre adjoins the 210-hectare National Nature Reserve that includes the 4km long Slapton Sands beach and the largest freshwater lake in the Southwest.

Slapton Village is a short walk away which provides a range of facilities including a community village shop selling fresh produce and two pubs (the Queens Arms and Tower Inn). For walkers and cyclists both the Southwest Coast Path and NCN 28 run close by. Cafes and additional pubs are situated at Torcross with spectacular views out to sea, a short drive (5 minutes).

Dartmouth and Kingsbridge are 8 miles away and can be accessed by bus or car. Totnes is 35 minutes by car and Salcombe is 30 minutes by car. Exeter and Plymouth are an hours’ drive. The nearest supermarkets/banks can be found in Kingsbridge and Dartmouth 8 miles away.

Virtual tour

Travel to Start Bay

13 miles (20km) from Totnes station
20 miles (30km) from A38
As part of our environmental commitment we encourage all visitors to travel by coach, train or public transport.

By car – The property is situated about two hours from Bristol, 1 hour from Exeter, 30 minutes from Plymouth if coming by car. 20 miles (30km) from A38. Take the A384 to Totnes. Turn right onto A381 to
Harbertonford/Kingsbridge. Turn left onto A3122 to Dartmouth. Continue past Dartmouth Golf club on left, then turn right at signs for Slapton. Continue for 5 miles along coast, then turn right for Slapton village. The Field Studies Centre is located on the right, approximately 1 km from the main road.

By train -The nearest train station is Totnes (13 miles). Totnes Station is on the Southwest Main Line and is under 3 hours direct from Birmingham New Street and London Paddington. You could then use a taxi service, which takes around 30-40 minutes, to reach the Start Bay Centre.

By bus – The no. 3 bus Service from Plymouth or Dartmouth to Slapton via Kingsbridge is operated by Stagecoach. The bus stops on Slapton Line and at the village bus stop outside the main Field Studies Centre a few minutes’ walk away.

On foot/bicycle – For the more energetic, the Nature Reserve is on the route of a national trail, the Southwest Coastal Path and near Route 28 of the Sustrans National Cycle Network.


Courses and Experiences at Start Bay

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