Lee Bay is a small village a few miles from the bustling tourist areas of Woolacombe and Mortehoe known by many as Fuchsia Valley. Lee is a pretty stone built village with fuchsia lined pathways and gardens. Lee Bay Beach is a rocky beach, ideal for rockpooling. The beach itself has a concrete channel running down the centre of it, which carries fresh water from the valley into the sea. The cove at Lee Bay, used to receive coal and limestone from Wales, the limestone was burnt locally to produce quicklime which was frequently used in fields and in brick mortar.
Like much of this coastline, Lee saw its fair share of smugglers. The most well known local smuggler to Lee Bay, was Hannibal Richards, who moved to Lee in 1789, described as being six foot tall, with long black hair, he and his wife lived at a local farm. Hannibal had moved to Devon from Cornwall where he had been a member of a notorious gang of smugglers called the Cruel Coppinger’s Gang. It was not long before he returned to his ways, and despite being known to the local authorities he managed to avoid any convictions. He is believed to have stopped his ‘smuggling career’ following a raid which saw the other members of his gang captured, he managed to escape.
Today, Lee is a pretty village with plenty to see. It was developed in 1871 by a Mr Smith, his foreman was responsible for adding all the herringbone walls and planting fuchsias, which is now what the village is famed for. The village centre is a short walk from the sea, linked by both a road and pathway. The centre marked by St Matthews Church, The Grampus Inn and the old Post Office.