Past Remains

A view of yesterday from today

Seaton Heights Hotel, Seaton, Devon

I first explored this site in April 2007, then again in December 2008. The photos here are from the later visit, when I wanted to look more closely at the WW2 remains. Seaton Heights was a motel (later called a hotel) and leisure site, but there are also the remains of two nissen huts and a circa WW2 building in the grounds.

I was unable to discover why these were built here. However, I did find a tenuous reference to RAF Branscombe, which makes sense as RAF Branscombe was a Chain Radar Station, which was one of a system of linked radar stations around Britain. There was apparently one in Beer, the next village along to the West, between Seaton and Branscombe, and being on a high promitory Seaton Heights would have been a perfect site. Interestingly, there are now masts for modern day usage situated on the site.

As for the motel itself, it has been left unused since 2004, pending approval for the site to be demolished and a new holiday home complex to be built. It has taken a long time to obtain approval, many applications being rejected due to problems with various resources, such as sewerage, and also overbuilding in a site of natural interest. It took four years from conception for it to be eventually approved in Jan 2012, but that was also rejected in February 2014 due to an objection from Natural England organisation. The problem was that sufficient surveyance of the movement of bats (which are protected species) across the site hadn't been carried out. At the time of editing this page (November 2015), planning permission was finally granted in October of this year. The complex is to be called The Seaton Gatehouse, Hotel, Spa & Leisure Resort. More info about it and the latest updates can be found here... 

The entrance to the accommodation has a wonderful Art Deco look to it (below) and a lovely winding ramp at the rear as an alternative access to the stairs inside (above). When I sneaked my visits the hotel complex was virtually untouched by vandals; the only signs of disrepair due to natural weathering and lack of maintenance. Sadly, since then I have seen more recent photos from other explorers showing smashed windows and rubbish everywhere. I hate that sort of thing and am really grateful to have seen it during it's graceful decline into decay.

Downstairs, the plants were climbing in through an open window area. I should imagine that there was once seating here; a bench perhaps, somewhere to enjoy the garden whilst sheltering from the elements.

Below is the view through the lovely Art Deco windows from the inside. There was a delightful little robin bobbing about on the stairs when I went in, which can be seen on another photo in the Photo Gallery album. Friendly little birds (to humans at least, as they are extremely territorial and aggressive towards other robins), this one wasn't the least bit disturbed when I carefully passed it on the stairs. 

I didn't brave going up the stairs on my first visit, but did on the second, and on this later visit the corridor felt a little spongey underfoot after long neglect. None of the rooms were open during my visits as the doors were locked, which have since been forced open and wrecked according to other photos I've seen online.

Looking down from the corridor at the top of the ramp.

And from the outside, below. 

And this is the accommodation from the front.

The sports and pool area (below). Although it was almost mid December there was still plenty of greenery and autumn foliage to be seen along with drifts of red and orange leaves on the ground.

When I undertook my first explore in 2007 this area was quite bare, with just paving stones and gravel, but by now it had begun to grow over.

A lone picnic bench, wistfully waiting for someone to sit there once again. I would have loved to, but it was far too damp and I didn't want to overstay my welcome. 

The front of one of the Nissen huts abutting the side of the path leading to the pool area.

I love this gently winding path made even softer by the grass, moss and fallen leaves. 

When the place was alive and kicking I came here a couple of times; once to play badminton in the sports hall with some friends followed by a beer in the lounge bar, and the other time for a work-related day course. On that second time we were in a room with a view of the patio and swimming pool. It looked quite nice then, but to me it was lovelier during it's sleepy slide into dereliction when the lines between buildings and nature begin to blur and become part of the landscape. That's the thing I love about abandoned places that have been left untouched.

Finally, a fond farewell to this delightfully faded hotel with a last look at part of the old front gate and drive.

Lots more photos of both visits, as well as these, can also be seen in the Photo Gallery album. I've also made a slide-show video set to music, which can be found on the Links page.

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