I love Meadfoot Beach in Torquay because of all the islands. Everywhere you look there are lumps of rock sticking out from the sea. The biggest is Shag Rock, then there is West Shag, and despite the names the islands are mostly populated by cormorants. We swam at the Eastern end of the beach, in the shadow of Kilmorie Flats, a 1960s monstronsity that looms out of the woods. The sea was a dark, slaty green - though it looks grey in the pictures - with a gently rocking swell. We swam along towards Thatcher Rock, admiring the evergreen oaks clinging to the cliff faces above us, before turning back and swimming to a small pair of chunky islets, guarded by cormorants.