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The National Trust trust fears access to Bantham beach and the Avon estuary could be reduced and the coastline could be at risk of inappropriate development if another buyer snaps up the estate, which is on the open market.
The Trust has already been able to commit £4.6 million from its Neptune campaign to protect coastal areas, but urgently needs to raise another £2.6 million to buy the beach and estuary and pay initial management and conservation costs.
If it buys the land, it plans to maintain access for visitors and conserve the landscape of the flooded river valley, enhancing the oak woodlands that sweep down to the estuary and sowing wildflower rich meadows.
An urgent public appeal to raise £2.6 million has been launched by The National Trust to help it buy a "magical" stretch of coastline for the nation.
The trust wants to buy Bantham beach and the Avon estuary in south Devon, to maintain quality access to the sandy beach for the hundreds of thousands of people who visit each year and to protect the landscape along the unspoilt coastal site for nature.
The beach, nestling in the South Hams, has panoramic views over Bigbury Bay and Burgh Island which, with its Art Deco hotel and access by "sea tractor" at high tide, is the famous setting for Agatha Christie novels and TV adaptations.