Local walking in South Devon
South Devon is famed for its walks. From coastal treks to wild moorland hikes, to tranquil river foraging, the surrounding countryside offers walks to suit every pace and level.
Here is a list of our top ten favourite walks (in no particular order!).
1. Avon Estuary Walk- 7.7 miles
· Park in the free car park by the roundabout in Aveton Gifford.
· Check tide times before walking, as the road on the car park side is tidal (an alternative route is available, or you could simply reverse the walk).
· Walk down one side and then up the other side.
· At Bantham there is a ferry to cross the river - it operates 10-11:00 and 15-16:00 during the summer months. Please check the timetable here.
· There is a pub called the Sloop Inn in Bantham which is open all day: there is also the Gastrobus in the beach car park, which serves light refreshments.
2. Ringmore - wonwell- Kingston circular- 4.5 miles (6.6 miles extended route)
·This is a stunning stretch of coastal path with steep ups and downs. Ayrmer, Westcombe and Wonwell Beaches are great for a picnic and swim. The highlight of the extended walk is the view as you round the corner into the beautiful Erme Estuary.
· Park in the National Trust car park in Ringmore - free/donation. Go through the gate at end of car park and walk down to Ayrmer Cove, then walk right along the coastal path.
· At the next beach (Westcombe) go right up Wiscombe Lane and head towards Kingston. Alternatively, carry along the coastal path until Wonwell Beach at the mouth of the estuary. You can then follow the footpath up through the woods and across a field to the road, and into Kingston.
· There is a pub here called The Dolphin Inn in Kingston, but check opening hours as they are not open all day.
· Then either walk back to Ringmore across the fields, or along the lanes.
· There is a great pub in Ringmore called The Journeys End which does lovely food (12-2.30pm) and is open all day for a drink at the weekend.
3. Bantham - Hope Cope/Bolt Tail (along the South West Coastal Path) Bantham to south Milton return- 4.6 miles, south Milton to hope cove and around bolt tail return-3.9 miles
· This is a beautiful stretch of undulating coastal path, with lots of coves along the way where you can stop for a picnic or swim if you fancy.
· You can either park at Bantham (£6 for the day), South Milton Sands (National Trust car park, free to members or £5 non-members), or there is metered parking in Hope Cove.
· There are lots of places to eat in Hope Cove, or you could visit the Beach Shack at South Milton Sands, or The Sloop Inn at Bantham.
· You could do a circular walk, or just walk there and back.
4. East Soar- Salcombe via Bolt Head Circular- 4.5 miles
· The scenery on this walk is dramatic and rugged around Bolt Head, then calm and peaceful as you round the corner into the Salcombe estuary with its colourful houses and bobbing sailboats.
· Park in the East Soar National Trust Car Park (free for members, or a £2 donation). Walk down to Middle Soar, then onto the coastal path around Bolt Head, past Starehole Bay (there is a small beach which you can reach low tide, which is lovely for a swim).
· You can then walk onto South Sands pass Overbecks (a National Trust Property).
· There is a hotel/pub and café on the beach. There is also a ferry during the summertime which takes you into the main part of Salcombe. You could then get another ferry across to East Portlemouth if you want, or just have a look around Salcombe which is lovely.
· To return to East Soar you walk back via Overbecks, up through the woods and across the field to the car park.
5. Soar Mill COVE- 1 mile to beach and back, 2.4 miles circular walk
· Park at Soar Mill Hotel and walk down to Soar Mill Cove, which is a lovely secluded bay, ideal for a picnic and a swim.
· You can then walk right along the coastal path and take the next right and walk up to South Down Farm and complete the circuit back to Soar Mill Cove Hotel for a Devonshire cream tea.
· It is possible, albeit hard work, to take an off-road pushchair down the track to the beach and back.
6. Noss Mayo Circular- 4.5 miles
· This walk is unique as the coastal path is fairly flat along this stretch and is therefore excellent for children, off-road pushchairs or people who are less fit. It initially has far-reaching panoramic views down the coast until you then turn into the beautiful tree-lined Yealm estuary.
· Park in the Warren car park and walk along the coastal path and around to the estuary. After 2 miles there is a small path on your left which goes down to Cellar Beach, which is accessible at low tide. There is a rocky ledge which is always accessible which is great for a picnic and a swim. You then carry on down the estuary for another mile where you will come to The Ship Inn, which is a great place to stop for a drink and lunch. We then often send the nominated driver the last mile up the only hill on the walk to get the car. There is a play park near the pub which is a good place to wait.
· Alternatively if you just want a short walk you could also park in Noss Mayo and just walk along the estuary and back, but be warned the pub car park is tidal!
7. Loddiswell- Avon River Walk- 3.5 miles
· This is a lovely walk up and down the river with an old disused railway line running down one side – there are a number of places where you can have a paddle in the river. · I would recommend parking at the garden centre - Avon Mill and then walking from there. Take a left out of the car park and over the bridge, then through a gate and across a field. You then walk along the road until the old Loddiswell Station House. The path then meanders along the right side of the river. After 1.2 miles you can cross over onto the other side of the river. Take the left-hand path and walk bath along the other side of the river, after just over half a mile the path turns to the right and runs alongside a stream up a hill. Continue up to Reads Farm then Ham Butts before taking an unmetalled road back down to the garden centre where you can stop at the cafe for a well-deserved cuppa and piece of cake!
· You can extend the walk if you want by walking further up the river.
8. East Prawle- East Circular to Woodcoombe Sand 2.8miles or west circular to Elender Cove 4 miles
· There are a number of circular walks around East Prawle – the walks in both directions are really beautiful with places to swim. If you are looking for somewhere to have a drink or some lunch then I can recommend The Pigs Nose, a quirky pub with good food, or you can also eat in The Piglet Cafe across the road from the pub.
· You can either start your walk in East Prawle, parking near the green, or you can park in the Prawle Point Carpark. The stretch between the car park near the coastal path and Woodcombe Sands is fairly flat, although a little stony and uneven in places.
· The walk in the other direction to Elender Cove is much more undulating.
9. East Portlemouth- Gara Rock Circular- 3.5 miles
· You can park in the National Trust car park in Mill Bay (free to members).
· There is a lovely beach there on the estuary, which is nice and sheltered. BBQs are not permitted on the beach.
· You can then walk around the coastal path to Gara Rock, where there is a fabulous café with amazing food and views.
· You can also get down to the beach there for a swim if you like.
· You can then walk a shorter route back to the car down a stony track. This is a wonderful walk with wonderful views across to Bolt Head and of the Salcombe Estuary.
10. Little Dartmouth Circular -3.2 miles
· Park at Little Dartmouth National Trust car park. Walk straight down the coastal path until you reach Warren Point then turn left and follow the coastal path to Compass Cove. You then carry on to Sugary Cove and onto Castle Cove. The walk back to Little Dartmouth is along a flat path.
· You can get down to Compass Cove, Sugary Cove and Castle Cove which are all lovely secluded beaches, great for a picnic or a swim.
· It is possible to swim between the rocks from Sugary Cove to Castle Cove when the tide is high which is breathtaking!
· You can also extend the walk and go to Dartmouth Castle, where there is a tea room, selling light refreshments and ice creams.
11 Staverton to Totnes - 45 minutes each way
40 minutes along the river to Totnes - why not eat at The Bull Inn for lunch or hairy barista for fabulous coffee and plant-based cakes.