Countryside and castles on the South Devon coast. Small but perfectly formed, this satisfying circuit is full of character and interest, offering glorious views from the cliffs, the tang of the sea close up on the rocky shore, the rich history of the castle and the beautiful River Dart. This circular walk can also be started at Dartmouth Castle. You can use the Castle ferry from Dartmouth, to reach the alternative start of this walk.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) Start walkthrough seaward side car park signed ‘Link to Coast Path, Dartmouth Castle 2½m’. Follow field edge path down. Through kissing gate, head to the right of bench and bear left along the coast path.
(1) Dropdown through the valley beyond Compass Cove, following ‘acorn’ waymarker. Towards the bottom of the valley, ignore the stile, and continue along the path, then through a gate. The path eventually passes through the woods. Bear right where the path joins lane.
(2) Here you have a choice. Option one is to continue down the road. Alternatively, turn immediately right upon joining the road, down the footpath. Turn right at waymarker and follow the coast path down steps and above the sea. This route enjoys fine sea views but involves several flights of steps and some ‘up and down’. The route emerges past a picnic area to the road. Turn right and immediately right again as directed below to rejoin the main route. Turn right down steps signed ‘Coast Path, Dartmouth Castle’ to visit the castle, tearooms and toilets.
(3) To return, retrace your route back up the steps and turn left along the road.
(4) Follow the road, passing a sign reading ‘Access to Compass Cove Cottages and Coastguard Station’.
(5) Where the road ends, go straight on through the gate and follow the bridleway. Continue straight through Little Dartmouth Farm and back to the car park.(D/A)
D/A : km 0 - alt. 114m - Little Dartmouth car park
1 : km 2.09 - alt. 85m - Compass Cove
2 : km 3.31 - alt. 75m - Alternative path
3 : km 3.6 - alt. 14m - Dartmouth Castle
4 : km 4.08 - alt. 80m - Road
5 : km 4.38 - alt. 99m - Road end
D/A : km 5.65 - alt. 114m - Little Dartmouth car park
Start : Little Dartmouth car park TQ6 0JR (if starting at Dartmouth Castle, begin at point 7)
Terrain : Surfaced and unsurfaced paths.
Parking : National Trust car park, Redlap, Little Dartmouth TQ6 0JR (or Dartmouth Castle, TQ6 0JN)
Public transport : Buses to Dartmouth, see www.travelinesw.com
Refreshments : At Dartmouth Castle
Toilets : Dartmouth Castle car park
Make sure you check the ferry timetable to help plan your route.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
This walk can be done as two smaller circular routes or joined up to make a longer figure of eight. The walk offers great coastal views, green lanes, glorious beaches and plenty of history and wildlife along the way!
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The lower half of the Dart Valley Trail, a great circular walk in itself! One of the area’s truly great walks, this day- long ramble follows the wooded banks of the broad and beautiful Dart estuary, on a route crammed with gems and jewels of human and natural history.
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.