Overbecks

Overbecks

  • Weird and wonderful collections of scientist and inventor, Otto Overbeck
  • Lovely subtropical garden, an exotic haven
  • Spectacular views over sea and estuary
  • Series of circular guided walks

Overbeck Sharpitor is an elegant Edwardian house set on a steep slope overlooking the sea, above the little port of Salcombe. The building, like the Victorian villa it replaced, is known as Sharpitor after the the craggy promontory that lies just off shore.

The beautiful garden offers spectacular views over the Salcombe estuary and surrounding coast. Run on organic principles, the 2.75-hectare (7-acre) garden has an intimate and informal atmosphere and is filled with rare and exotic plants, which flourish due to the sheltered microclimate. There are fruiting oranges in the conservatory and the whole garden has a Mediterranean flavour.Sub-tropical palms, pines and cypresses flourish and the palms even seed themselves. Below the upper lawn the garden slopes steeply down towards the sea in a series of terraces. In this sheltered site many rare and tender species thrive including olives and a Japanese banana.Fushias grow almost wild in the hedgerows. In the spring the magnificent pink blooms of magnolias are visible from far beyond the garden and Overbecks is famous for the beautiful ´Magnolia campbelli´. This was one of the fine trees planted at the turn of the 20th century when the structure of the garden, including the terraces, was first established.The inventor Otto Overbeck lived here until 1937, and the house contains his collections of curios, natural history and nautical artefacts, as well as his most peculiar invention, the ´Rejuvenator´. The Overbecks Museum is laid out in a half-dozen rooms but the building still has the feel of a private house.A nautical collection reflects Salcombe´s ship-building heyday in the 1870s when the port was famous for building schooners. There are shipwrights´ tools and model ships, including the Phoenix, which was built here in 1836. Photographs of the Swedish ship Herzogin Cecilie which was wrecked off the Devon coast in 1936 are a reminder of the hazards of sea-faring.The Natural History collection contains examples of local wildlife and rare British butterflies, insects and birds´ eggs

Tea-room in converted billiard room. Children´s menu. NT shop. Plant sales. Dogs on leads only on coastal walks from car park.

Photo Credits:

NTPL/ Andrew Butler

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