|Distance : 13 miles||Grading : +++++||OS Sheet : 202|
This walk is a long walk between Brixham at the south of Torbay, to the village of Kingswear on the banks of the river Dart, a short ferry ride from the ancient port of Dartmouth. Starting in the interesting fishing town of Brixham, the walk passes the breakwater of Brixham, up to Berry Head, now a Country Park, with a castle and a (seasonal) shop. The views from here are stunning. From here, the path goes round the beach at St Marys Bay then with some steep climbs past Man Sands, Long Sands and Scabbacombe Sands. Once round Scabbacombe Head, the path rounds the edge of the National Trust Gardens at Coleton Fishacre, from here the walk passes through woods, past the Daymark (a Navigational Aid), and descends into the village of Kingswear, on the banks of the river Dart. A short ferry crossing will take you to the ancient port and maritime town of Dartmouth. Alternatively, during the summer, steam trains operate from Kingswear to Paignton.
Brixham is on the A3022 , which is linked to the main A380 dual carriageway (and the M5 at Exeter). There is a large car park at the back of the harbour at Brixham.
Although there is no longer a station in Brixham, there are frequent buses to Brixham from Torquay and Paignton. Most buses go to Paignton bus station (and beyond), which is adjacent to the rail station in Paignton if you're travelling from further afield. For more details on public transport to Brixham, see the links below.
There is a good choice of accommodation in Brixham, as well as the nearby resorts of Torquay and Paignton. Accommodation is limited in Kingswear, but there is more choice across the river in Dartmouth.
This walk starts at the harbour in Brixham. The path is signed from the harbour (across the other side of the harbour from the Golden Hind replica). The path climbs out of Brixham, and there is some road walking along this section (although the road is not that busy). There are good views of the mariner on this part of the path. You will soon pass the long breakwater here. The beach behind although small is very clean and is a seaside award winner. From here the path enters the Berry Head Country Park. This park has an interesting castle and a shop / information centre, as well as cafe which is normally open in the summer. The views around the bay from the headland are superb.
From Berry Head it is a pleasant walk round the coast to St Marys Bay, a long and mostly sandy beach. It is worth going down onto the beach, although it is quite a long walk down and back up again! It is a pleasant walk from St Marys Bay round Sharkham point and past Man Sands, where the path then drops rapidly into Man Sands, where there is one remote cottage! The climb from here is steep but the scenery is excellent. There is another steep descent towards Scabbacombe Sands (a naturist beach) and then a steep climb to Scabacombe head.
The scenery round Scabbacombe Head is excellent, and the rock formations here are interesting. Rounding Ivy Cove and Pudcombe cove you will pass the National Trust gardens of Coleton Fishacre. Round Froward point you will pass the Mew Stone rocks. The walk from here into Kingswear takes you past some derelict cliff top buildings and through some woods owned by the National Trust. The castle on the cliff near Kingswear is privately owned and not open to the public (unlike Dartmouth castle across the river). The path descends rapidly into Kingswear. At Kingswear, buses depart from a circle just up the road to the right of the railway station. Steam trains run from Easter to October from here to Paignton. There are two ferrys across the river if you wish to visit Dartmouth, the lower car ferry and a passenger ferry. Both operate frequently. Alternatively a little up the river there is the higher car ferry which lands near the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth. There is a small shop on Kingswear and a greater choice across the river in Dartmouth.
Frequent buses operate from the turning circle in Kingswear to Brixham (generally every 30 minutes). From Dartmouth there are some buses to Torquay Kingsbridge and Plymouth.
The Paignton and Dartmouth steam railway runs from Kingswear from Easter to the end of October with trains running to Churston, Goodrington and Paignton. The line runs along the edge of the river Dart for much of the time before joining the coast and passing the beach at Broadsands and Goodrington on the way into Paignton, giving excellent views of the coast.
From Dartmouth there are river cruises to Totnes, from where frequent buses operate to Torquay and Paignton.
For more information on these services, see the links below.
Here are some photos of the walk. Click a picture for a larger version and description.
Ordnance Survey Landranger map 202 covers this area of the coast path and is available from most book shops nationwide. It is also stocked at the tourist information centres in Brixham and Dartmouth.
Multimap is a web site which provides maps of the UK. The links below will be of most use to the coast path from Brixham to Kingswear. These maps join to provide the complete coast path between the two points.