The Ergohacks Verdict

The beauty of Overbecks began long before arrival. We approached it through a misty valley on a single lane track on a wet day in late July. There is limited parking at the property and we were lucky enough to snap up a car parking space near the entrance. It’s a steep, windy drive with overhanging trees all the way to the top. Cass was sick, we’d nearly driven home instead of here, but she was adamant that ketones and a bad cold wasn’t going to ruin her holiday. As we got out of the car and approached the entrance, she started showing some interest as our National Trust passes were scanned and we were given a brief introduction. By the time we made it through the gates and down the blue-railed stairs into the garden with the most spectacular views, she was wearing a smile. I’ve always thought green spaces and fresh air is helpful, but watching her transform from misery to enthusiasm despite not actually feeling any better, made me want to stay here all day long.

Overbecks is a small but spectacular garden with unusual tropical plants clinging to the cliffs above Salcombe in Devon. It’s idyllic and well worth visiting. We spent some time walking around the garden and stopped into the tearoom for tea and a light lunch. We never made it into the museum, but just the gardens was well worth a visit. We’d love to return again when it isn’t raining to enjoy the outdoor tables with that spectacular view, explore the museum and revisit the gardens.

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Cost 

Price: ± £9.80 Adult, £4.90 Child, £24.50 Family, £14.70 Family with 1 adult. (Prices include gift aid.)
Free entry to National Trust Members and children under 5.

About

“We’re a charity founded in 1895 by three people who saw the importance of our nation’s heritage and open spaces and wanted to preserve them for everyone to enjoy. More than 120 years later, these values are still at the heart of everything we do. We look after special places throughout England, Wales and Northern Ireland for ever, for everyone.

As a charity we rely for income on membership fees, donations and legacies, and revenue raised from our commercial operations. We have over 4.5 million members and 62,000 volunteers. More than 20 million people visit our pay for entry properties, while an estimated 100 million visit our open air properties. We protect and open to the public over 350 historic houses, gardens and ancient monuments. But it doesn’t stop there. We also look after forests, woods, fens, beaches, farmland, downs, moorland, islands, archaeological remains, castles, nature reserves, villages – for ever, for everyone.”*

Design

Overbeck is perched on the cliffs above Salcome, Devon. The garden was laid out in 1901 by its first owner, Edric Hopkins. In 1913, Mr and Mrs George Medlicott Vereker bought the property, built the current house, called Sharpitor, and extended the gardens to what they are today. After their second son died in World War I, they offered their new home, rent free, to the Red Cross Society as a voluntary aid hospital for the treatment of convalescent British and Allied Troops. The hospital closed in 1919. In 1928, inventor Otto Overbeck purchased the house and gardens and continued to add unusual and exotic plants. The house was left to the National Trust in 1937 following his death.

Specification

Season: Closed from October – March for the winter
Location: Overbecks, Sharpitor street, Salcombe, TQ8 8LW, Devon, U.K.
Secure on-line booking: No booking required
Opening: 11 am
Closing: 5 pm (at dusk if its prior to 5 pm)
Parking: Limited parking on-site, 3 Blue badge parking spaces. Alternatively park at East Soar and walk to Overbeck’s. Pay parking (not National Trust) is also available at North Sands about one mile away. There is a park and ride facility on the outskirts of Salcombe. Then take the ferry or walk along Cliff Road.

Public transport access
By Bus: From Totnes or Knightsbridge to Salcombe. Once in Salcombe, either walk about 2 miles to Overbecks or take the ferry.
By Ferry: Salcombe to South Sands, then about half a mile uphill following the signs to Overbeck’s.
On Foot: Take the South West Coast Path which passes close to the property. Then take the road uphill following the signs to Overbeck’s.(about a half mile).

Special considerations

Overbeck’s is not easily accessible to those using wheelchairs as there are loose gravel paths, steps and steep paths. If you do wish to visit with a wheelchair then access to the museum, shop and, tea-room can be arranged. The toilets however, are unsuitable for wheelchair access. Braille and large print guides are available. Only guide dogs are allowed in the garden.

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We based our Ergohacks Verdict on a visit to Overbecks in late July 2017. This article was first published on 9 August 2017.