Tunnels Beaches are one of the few remaining Victorian attractions in Ilfracombe. Made famous by the unique tunnels carved out of solid rock giving access to the tidal Ladies and Gentlemen bathing pools. Zoe and Jamie McLintock took over the running of the family business in early 2000 and recognised the potential of returning this unique attraction to its former glory.
In a short time they raised the profile of the existing facilities and obtained the coveted Blue Flag, but recognised the need to provide a designated Information/Visitors Centre, larger Restaurant/Bar and improved Toilet Facilities, together with good quality indoor and outdoor children!s play facilities making the Tunnels an all year round attraction.
A scheme was devised to improve the Entrance and Ticket Office in connection with new Information/Visitors Centre located in the original Café/Toilets. This was to lead to the Tunnels via a new Restaurant/Bar and alongside the new In and Outdoor Play Facilities in an enclosed Courtyard created by extending the existing out buildings around the perimeter of the outdoor play area.
This enclosure would provide a safe environment for the children to play in clear view of their parents either in the Restaurant/Bar or on the balcony over looking the play area.
The scheme involved the extension of a Listed Building and bearing this in mind the extension was designed to reflect the existing single storey structure in material and scale, only stepping up to 2 storeys where the building abuts adjoining higher ground. Where the structure is set into the existing bank softening the impact with existing tree planting rising up behind.
Sustainable natural materials were chosen for use in the construction ranging from the Green Oak frame to the timber and stone cladding and natural slate roof.