The Devon Dive Centre sits on a spit of land on the western bank of the River Axe, along with the boat builders yard and a garage. Although on the Seaton town side of the river, this particular piece of land belongs to the village of Axmouth which is situated on the other side. I haven't been able to find any information about it; when it opened or closed for instance, but it's an interesting abandoned site to have a brief wander around. Rather photogenic too, with it's faded seaside charm of peeling paint and depictions of dolphins and waves.
This area, along with the now demolished Racal Electronics and Blue Waters Holiday Camp/Lyme Bay Village, has been earmarked for regeneration for several years now. The idea is to provide a site containing a brand new visitors centre as part of the World Heritage Jurassic Coast, along with a supermarket and additional housing...also possibly a hotel. With the loss of Seaton Youth Centre, there was also supposed to be provision for the youngsters of the town, incorporating the skate park along with a new centre and also play areas for the younger kiddies. However, although there have been extensive consultations with the people of Seaton, including an evening where two supermarkets showed their plans for the area, and despite the majority wanting what one had to offer...a superb visitors centre including cafe and rooftop gardens overlooking the Axe Valley, along with good facilities for the youth of the town...the other was chosen by East Devon District Council. A boring, generic area which can be seen in any other town and surely not what people coming on holiday wish to see.
Forgive the rant, but I feel it's appropriate here, as seaside towns offer that wonderful sea and wind swept feel about them...old boats, crab pots and crumbling stone walls from which the plant Valerian grows and flowers throughout summer, boatyards, ramshackle tea shanties, a slower pace of life and appreciation of the seasons and the elements. And as one of the Gateway Towns to this World Heritage Site, how can the building of a supermarket and housing estate (which involves dredging operations and the importation of hard core onto a flood plain...the greater part of which is nature reserve marshland) justify the cost not only to the tourist trade, but also an extremely high price in ecological terms?
This, for me, is what living on the coast is about. It's a shame that this concern stopped trading. Seaton used to be quite a bustling little town with plenty of visitors making the streets full and crowded during the summer season. As one town councillor that I talked to said, apparently people want a different kind of holiday now. I honestly don't think so as many people love to go somewhere that offers a slow, laid-back pace for their holiday, along with the glorious landscape and history of a certain place, not somewhere that reminds them of their own town.
Not accessible inside, the photo above was taken through a window (now boarded up).
Ramshackle and gloriously coastal. Enjoy the seaside dereliction. :)
Although the regeneration has now seen the opening of the new Seaton Jurassic Centre early in 2016; the supermarket having been built a while ago, and more recently some new housing, I decided not to edit this article to include any updates...let my rant stand, lol.
The complete set of photos can be viewed in the Photo Gallery album.