top of page
Abtot Logo. Encounter Walking Holidays member number 5357

Section 6. Dartmouth to Brixham - Devon Coast Path

Distance 11 miles : Grade - Strenuous - What this grade means.

Ferry Crossing at Dartmouth (River Dart)

Don’t be deceived by your final day. Yes, the route heads onwards now to the edge of the urban area of Torbay, but you have a run of strenuous ups and downs to cover before Brixham with a great end to the walk overlooking your destination and reflecting on your journey from a Napoleonic Headland Fort. 

The daily ferry crossing this morning is of the Dart, with the luxury for once of 3 ferries to choose from! Descend into Mill Bay Cove with its small castle-like old mill before a steady climb through impressive Monterey Pines at Warren Woods Wildlife Trust reserve to Froward Point and the Coast Defence Battery. 

This is a great place for a quick explore. Hidden in the pines are a scattering of gun positions, searchlight platforms, the concrete bases of Nissen huts, battery ramps and other defences, all open to wander through. Slightly inland of the path take a look at the unusual stone 80ft daymark. It has stood since 1864, marking the eastern entrance to the Dart. Just inland of the path here is the National Trust Gardens at the Art Deco Coleton Fishacre with fine terraced gardens full of tropical plants, ferns and bamboo.

The trail leads on to Pudcombe Cove where you can still spot the remains of an old swimming pool right on the beach along with fruit trees planted to encourage wild birds by the former owners of Coleton Fishacre. Now the next four miles is a  treat, a classic coast path rollercoaster up and down the cliffs, with a final brace of tough ascents above Long Stands and then again up lofty Southdown Cliffs. From Southdown, after some high level trail, a gentle descent to Sharkham point brings a perfect viewpoint for a packed lunch and time to reflect on the next section of the South West Coast Path as the views open up across urban Torbay towards the red cliffs of East Devon ahead.

After rounding St. Mary's Bay you may mistakenly think you have reached Brixham, but one more headland is covered and as ever with the coast path it’s a final surprise - The Berry Head Country Park, a site of Special Scientific Interest sitting on an extensive area of grassland that is said to hold over 500 species of plants including many rarer species. It is another former Iron Age Cliff Castle and now a nature reserve, where Skuas, Shearwaters, Fulmars and Kittiwakes share the 200ft cliffs with the largest Guillemot colony on the South Coast of England (they call them the Brixham Penguin round here).

The cliff caves are home to the protected Greater Horseshoe Bat. Perched at the top of the stacks sits the one of the UK’s stumpiest lighthouses surrounded by Napoleonic Forts and battlements and you can explore it all up here. Fortified in the late 18C against the French, cross the dry moat to enter the old ruined fort past the well preserved old sentry box.

A Bizarre and otherworldly Radio Navigation beacon sits in defiance above the remains which also include the Northern Fort, (the old guardhouse now converted for refreshments) and the old artillery store with an exhibition centre showing a live RSPB display of the activity on the cliffs below you. From here you can walk on out to the coastguard station before a final drop to the proud fishing harbour of Brixham, the entrance to the grand sweep of Torbay and the end of your South Hams adventure.

Overnight stops in Brixham at the end of your South West Coast Path Walking Holiday

bottom of page