Local Walks in South Devon

Walking holidays in South Devon

If you like walking you’ve come to the right place – there are enough walks round here to last a lifetime! Coastal walks are our favourites but walks on Dartmoor also give you a completely different outlook. Children and dogs are in heaven here, either on the vast expanses of sand at Mothecombe, on the coast path or on the wide open spaces of Dartmoor.

There are too many good walks to mention, many of which start right at your front door. Use the map provided in the cottage to make best use of local foot paths and bridleways. In case you do need inspiration, these are some of our favourites. The information is a guide only and landmarks are given OS references so we strongly advise you to take a map as well.

Why not try one of these walks whilst staying at Carswell Cottages

MOTHECOMBE BEACH

From: Carswell or Lambside to Mothecombe Beach (OS611472)

Distance: 2 miles from Carswell; 3.5 miles from Lambside. Duration: 1 hour from Carswell; 2 hours from Lambside. Terrain: Coastal path and beach. Several stiles. One steep hill with steps. No push chairs. Best Time of the Year: Any.

This is not a circular walk so you will either have to drop a car at the car park in Mothecombe or come back along the coast path the way you came. It is a beautiful walk none the less and not too long if you just feel like striding out! It’s also relatively easy once you’re on the coastal path but there are no watering holes along the way so take your own supplies.

From Carswell (Spring Cottage) take the quickest route to the coastal path which is to turn left out of the gate in front of Spring Cottage and bear right over the ‘Sleeping Policeman’. Follow the drive down in front of the farm house and when the field on your left ends go through the wooden gate and down the track towards the sea. Follow the track until you come to barbed wire gate with a yellow arrow on the post and go over the stile. Once through the gate, follow the hedge up to the next gate in the wall, go across this small field and you will see a stile, which is on the coast path below St Anchorite’s Rock. You are now on the coast path.

Turn left so that you are walking East with the sea on your right. Keep going along the path until you get to Mothecombe beach. Simple!!

From Lambside (Lambside House, The Mews,The Lodge, Corner & Shepherd’s Cottages) take the quickest route to the coastal path which is to walk up to the top road via the right hand side of the loop road and then turn left along the top road until you see a stile on the opposite side of the road. Hop over and along the lane until you come to the coast path.

Turn left so that you are walking East with the sea on your right. Keep going along the path until you get to Mothecombe beach. Simple!!

You now have two choices. If the tide is out you can walk over the rocks round the next headland and walk up the ramp in front of the coastguard cottages. If the tide is in you will have to take the narrow foot path at the far corner of the beach which will bring you out in to the beach road. Turn left here and you will then see the car park on your right. There is also a telephone box a bit further on – if you need to phone home for a lift home!

NOSS MAYO

From: Carswell or Lambside to Noss Mayo

Distance: 6 miles from Lambside; 8 miles from Carswell (11-13 miles if doing round trip). Duration: 2 – 4 hours one way. 5 – 7 hours for round trip. Terrain: Moderately flat. Steeper down hill towards the end. Sturdy push chairs and adventurous wheelchairs (from the warren only). Best Time of the Year: Any.

This is the other coastal walk near by and you can do as much or as little of it as you like. We have outlined the whole walk with options to peel off if you feel like it. Much of this section of the path was made in Georgian times by Edward Baring of Barings Bank to allow his wife and ten children to travel by carriage round the coast to church at Noss Mayo. For this reason part of the path is suitable for push chairs and wheel chairs. If you’ve got wheels in tow, we suggest you drive to The Warren, park there and start your walk from here.

If you’re foot loose and fancy free you can start from your cottage without having to get in the car and do the whole circular walk (with refreshments at The Ship or The Swan in Noss Mayo!)

From Carswell (Spring Cottage) take the quickest route to the coastal path which is to turn left out of the gate in front of Spring Cottage and bear right over the ‘Sleeping Policeman’. Follow the drive down in front of the farm house and when the field on your left ends go through the wooden gate and down the track towards the sea. Follow the track until you come to barbed wire gate with a yellow arrow on the post and go over the stile. Once through the gate, follow the hedge up to the next gate in the wall, go across this small field and you will see a stile, which is on the coast path below St Anchorite’s Rock. You are now on the coast path.

From Lambside (Lambside House, The Mews, The Lodge, Corner & Shepherd’s Cottage) take the quickest route to the coastal path which is to walk up to the top road via the right hand side of the loop road and then turn right along the top road. Almost immediately you will see a stile on the other side of the road, opposite Eastern Lodge. Hop over and along path by the side of the hedge. Then branch off to the left towards the ruin of the tea house and join the coast path there.

The ‘Tea House’ was built by Edward Baring and was known as a ‘pleasure house’. Mrs Baring is said to have used it to take tea and paint water colours. Gather your breath here for a moment and soak in the view! The next place you come to is Stoke where there is a caravan park. Try to ignore this but, if you fancy a detour, leave the coast path and walk down toward the caravans for a peek inside St Peter’s Church. It’s a church with no roof and is virtually a ruin but still has a font and is used for a service at the beginning of the Yealm regatta week in July.

Return to the coastal path and continue on along the path going west.

If, after a mile or two you’re starting to get tired and want to bail out, then take the path off the coastal path at the Warren Car Park (OS542465). If you then turn left and immediately right you walk down a loose gravel track straight into the village of Noss Mayo and if you turn left when you get to the main road you will see the Ship Inn just in front of you.

IF YOU’VE GOT A STURDY PUSH CHAIR, START AT THE WARREN CAR PARK (OS542465), JOIN THE COASTAL FOOTPATH AND HEAD WEST.

Provided you are still feeling strong keep going along the coastal path for another mile or so and you will be rewarded with a spectacular view, past the Mew stone and right over the Plymouth Sound. The path begins to descend through some woods. If you feel like a swim at this point (not with a push chair), take the path off to the left, just after these trees down to Cellars Beach. It’s a bit of a climb back up again though so make sure you are feeling strong. If you decide against it the path takes you on past the old coastguard cottages, down through the woods (which are particularly impressive during the rhododendron season in early spring) and out by the back of the Ship Inn where you can reward yourself with a pint and delicious lunch!!

For those walking back, leave Noss Mayo by the road past the church hall, past the tennis courts and Brookings Wood (on your left). Keep following this lane (which eventually turns into a track) for about a mile, past a house or two until you come to the road. Turn left and then almost immediately right and you are at the Warren carpark – go through here and re-join the coast path, turning east (sea on your right) and back to your cottage.

KINGSTON VILLAGE

From Wonwell Beach (OS617472), along the cliff, back via Kingston (OS637478)

Distance: 4 or 6 miles. Duration: 2 or 3 hours (but allow extra time to explore Westcombe beach). Terrain: Coast path, moderate hills. No push chairs. Best Time of the Year: Any, but May for Bluebells.

This is a lovely circular walk which starts at Wonwell Beach on the other side of the River Erme. Unfortunately to drive there you need to go all the way round the river – about an 8 mile drive. You can ford the Erme at Mothecombe up to about 1-11 hours each side of low tide – but this is unlikely to allow you time to do the walk. When driving, we advise you get there early during holiday season as parking is just at the side of the road and is not always easy in summer. Take the South West Coast Path towards the sea and follow it along the cliff edge.

SHORTER WALK – After rounding the headland you come to Fernycombe point. Take the footpath on your left inland to Kingston via Scobbiscombe farm. This is a permissive path over National Trust farmland. When you reach the tarmac road by the farm, turn left and into Kingston village.

LONGER WALK – Continue on the coast path at Fernycombe Point. After a couple of miles you will come to a very steep hill down to Westcombe beach.

This is a lovely beach, only accessible by foot, so usually pretty empty. If it is low tide and you have a chance to explore, there are a lot of caves here. Just turn to the far right of the beach (as you look at the sea) and walk through an opening in the rocks to a second beach. The caves are at the far end of that beach. They are said to have been used by smugglers to store their contraband – so look out for brandy!

Once you have explored Westcombe, go back to the river and follow the path heading inland (the river should be on your RIGHT). After about 1 a mile you will see a footpath and bridleway sign; take the right fork and follow the footpath for about a mile past the water works and into Kingston Village.

You can stop for a sharpener at the lovely Dolphin Pub in the centre of the village. When you are revived turn left out of the pub, left again then right still along tarmac roads. Look out for a single maritime pine tree on the corner. You can see this tree for miles around and it is known locally as the ‘Lonesome Pine’. (Keep your eyes on the horizon when you are driving along the road to Holbeton on your way home and see if you can spot it!) Continue along the made up road until you see the foot path again off to the left. Cross pretty fields and then through a wonderful bluebell wood which will bring you back to Wonwell beach.

PLYMOUTH & MOUNT EDGECOMBE

From Plymouth Cremyll Foot Ferry (OS461539) via Mount Edgecombe (OS455525) round to Kingsand and back via the Cawsand Ferry (OS435503)

Distance: 4-5 miles (walking). Duration: All day. Terrain: Moderately flat. Some gentle hills towards the end. No Pushchairs beyond Mount Edgecumbe. Best Time of the Year: Easter to end of September only

CALL FERRIES BEFORE YOU LEAVE FOR OPERATION AND TIMES.

CREMYL FERRY – 01752 822105. CAWSAND FERRY – 07833 936863

This is a day’s outing really, so it’s best to start early and take it slowly as there is plenty to see. You need to drive to Plymouth and park in the car park by the Cremyll Ferry at Stonehouse. In order to find this, drive into Plymouth on the A379 and follow the signs to Torpoint. As you go on through the town you will come to a junction where there is a massive Toys R Us. Go past this still in the direction of Torpoint. You are now on Union Street, which is Plymouth’s main nightclub area. Go straight over the first roundabout you come to and then turn left at the second round about towards Stonehouse. Take the fourth turning on the right and you will see the car park on your left side and the Cremyll Ferry straight ahead.

This ferry runs every half hour or so, so if you find you’ve just missed one, you can grab a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich at the greasy spoon café at the top of the ramp. Once you get to Mount Edgecombe take time to wander through the formal gardens. We never bother with the house but if you do go there you might have to sacrifice the rest of the circuit as the last ferry back from Cawsand to Plymouth is around 4.30pm.

Continue along the path at the edge of the river heading out to sea and follow the footpath signs through the woods at the back of Mount Edgecombe. You will come across various little follies along the way as well as a Napoleonic fort (now luxury apartments) at Picklecombe Point. You may also see some deer as there is a large deer park at Mount Edgecombe. The path eventually brings you out at the top of Kingsand and you will have to wind your way through the narrow streets to find one of the three hostelries for some refreshment. We always seem to end up at the Sole Bay Inn on the front and usually buy fish and chips from the shop next door but if you’re after something a little more sophisticated you can try the hotel/pub on the corner opposite the post office (sorry can’t remember it’s name). Try to take time to wander round the village as it has some special landmarks – Nelson is said to have romanced with Lady Hamilton in Cawsand at the Old Ship Inn. Look out for the old county boundary line too, which runs through one of the houses on the left as you walk the road between Kingsand and Cawsand.

Once you’ve refreshed and had a look round, you will need to walk to Cawsand Beach, which is the next one around (about 1/3 mile from the Sole Bay Inn). This is where the Ferry runs from, usually 3pm and 4.30pm are the last ones – so don’t miss it or you will have to walk back the way you came! The boat comes onto the beach and you walk up a gang-plank on to the ferry. If you’re lucky, you may see dolphins in summer!

When you get back to Plymouth, you will be dropped at the Mayflower steps, so your walk has not ended yet as you will need to walk round the length of Plymouth’s magnificent Hoe in order to get back to your car at Stonehouse.

If you’re too tired and hungry to go home and want to eat in town, here are our suggestions:

The Waterfront (01752 226326) is at the end of the Hoe on Grande Parade and is a great restaurant. Don’t be put off by it’s rather predictable décor, the view is fantastic and so is the food.

The Wet Wok (01752 603260) – Chinese restaurant, the food is good but view is fantastic and this is also just at the end of the Hoe Road.

Artillery Tower Restaurant (01752 257610). If you can wait until you get back to the car then try the. Turn right instead of left when you come out of the car park and along Durnford Street towards Firestone Bay. When you can go no further you have reached the Artillery Tower. Don’t be put off by its forbidding exterior – the food is delicious although not cheap!

ONTO THE EDGE OF DARTMOOR

From Near Owley (OS677593) – round Ugborough Beacon – via a rough and roundabout route!

Distance: 3 miles. Duration: 1 1 hours. Terrain: Moorland, fairly easy walking, boots may be needed in winter. No Pushchairs. Best Time of the Year: Any

There are lots of lovely walks on Dartmoor but this one is a relatively short one and will give you a taste of Dartmoor as well as a spectacular view of where you’ve just come from!

Drive to the A38 (OS685578) via Ermington and Ugborough and turn as if you are going to go onto the motorway towards Exeter. Just off the slip road, before you hit the duel carriage way is a road off to the left. Take this and wiggle your way round Cheston so that you are on the road to Owley. Just before you reach Owley you will find a gate onto the moor where there is enough room for several cars to park (OS677593). Leave your car here and stride out taking the path straight ahead of you. The path gently rises and, if you keep following it as it curves gently round to the left, eventually you will find yourself at the top of Ugborough Beacon, demarcated by a pile of large rocks. From here you should have spectacular views of Paignton and the other way to Plymouth. When you feel you need to come down for air, continue on your way, still following a rough path, which eventually curves round back alongside an old stone wall which runs up to the gate and your car.