27. East Prawle to Bantham

I drove to the village of Bantham and  left my moped in the car park, £2 for the whole day was not too bad. I then drove in the Doblo around to the village of East Prawle and parked for free around the village green. East Prawle is a lovely village, situated very close to the coast and having a unique and charming pub – The Pigs Nose! Its full of curios and is very interesting.

I set off down the lanes out of East Prawle on what would be a very hot and sunny day. I made my way down to the coast path and turned east. I headed for Prawle Point, the most southerly headland in South Devon. I rounded the point past the Signal Houses, whose purpose is unknown. The path dropped down to the shoreline and snaked between rock formations, up to and past Gammon Head. I kept an eye out for the Cirl Bunting, a small bird unique to this area. I passed tufts of beautiful Sea Pink or Thrift as I rounded Limebury Point and now heading into Salcombe Harbour.

Heading for Prawle Point
Heading to Gammon Head
Approaching Salcombe

This estuary is well served by an all year round ferry between Salcombe and East Portlemouth, the journey is short and costs just £1.50. I head up steep steps, past the Ferry Inn into Salcombe and continue walking along a road south. I walked  around South Sands, where I saw a large sea-tractor which carries passengers out to a boat and which then ferries them into Salcombe. The walk out to and around Bolt Head was wonderful, with steep slopes and rock formations making the walk very interesting.

Crossing over to Salcombe
Steep steps down to the ferry
Tractor ferrying passengers to the ferry
Rounding Bolt Head

The path flattens out onto a very relaxing stretch over Bolberry Down, where I met numerous other walkers. I round Bolt Tail and look down onto the villages of Hope and in the distance Thurlestone. Hope is split into two villages, Inner Hope and Outer Hope. The village is very busy, with people enjoying the hot sunshine on the beach and drinks in the local pub – the Hope and Anchor. The path makes a detour, which is annoying because it seems to send me well out of my way. As I approach Thurlestone I encounter another path diversion. The diversion goes some distance inland. I ignore the signs and climb a few fences past some private houses – big mistake!! I encounter a dead-end, with no way down to the beach and people’s gardens on my right side. I also attract the attention of the occupants, who give me an earful about I should not have come this far! Not my finest hour and embarrassing! They let me through their garden and onto the road beyond. I scuttle off suitably chastised!

Bolberry Down
Looking down to Hope and Thurlestone
Outer Hope
Path to nowhere!!

After passing the golf course, Burgh Island and Bigbury-on-Sea come into view. I walk along easy grassy slopes into Bantham. A fantastic walk, only spoilt by my stupidity in the latter stages!

Distance today = 17.5 miles
Total distance =   430.5 miles




26. East Prawle to Dartmouth

It was forecast to be a hot and sunny day, as I dropped my moped off in the car park in Dartmouth. Like most public car parks in Devon its free to park mopeds/motorbikes/scooters – as long as you use the designated parking bays. I then drove around to East Prawle where I parked on the rough car park around the village green.

Todays walk would be quite long and with the temperatures forecasted to be quite high I ensured I had enough fluids to see me through. I walked out of the village and descended down to the coastal path. I headed below The Torrs (cliffs that mark the early Pleistocene cliff-line). I walked past Woodcombe Point and into Lannacombe Bay. There were not many people out on the beach yet, as I continued on along The Narrows and out towards the Lighthouse at Start Point. I followed the minor road that leads away from the lighthouse. After a short distance the path left the road and descended down a slope along a hillside covered in yellow primroses. I arrived at the old ruined settlement of Hallsands, mostly reclaimed by the sea at the start of the last century. After reading the story of how this settlement was lost, I continued walking due north.

At Lannacombe Bay
Walking along The Narrows towards Start Point
Looking back towards the Lighthouse at Start point
Descending down through a field of primroses to Hallsands
Ruins at Hallsands

I descended to the beach and walked along Bee Sands. As I approached Torcross I was forced to go inland slightly as some difficult rocks blocked my way. At Torcross, the main road, the A379 runs down to the sea and follows the line of 2 – 3 mile sand bar, quite similar to Chesil Beach. This is Slapton Sands and a number of memorials are located here including a salvaged American Sherman tank. It was here in 1944, during Exercise Tiger  (training for the D-Day landings) that a combination of friendly fire and enemy action resulted in the deaths of some 749 American servicemen. I continued on through the village of Strete and passed above a very busy Blackpool Sands. I pass around the village of Stoke Fleming and continued onto Blackstone point. I now headed into the Dart Estuary and could now see Kingswear on the opposite banks of the River Dart. I passed through Warfleet and into Dartmouth itself, which was very busy. I saw the steam paddle-ship Waverley just departing for a run along the coast with passengers.

At Torcross looking north along Slapton Sands
Sherman tank memorial at Torcross
Looking down on a busy Blackpool Sands
Looking towards Dartmouth and Kingswear with the Waverley just leaving port
Although never a railway station, Dartmouth railway station just sold tickets


Distance today = 18.5 miles
Total distance =   413 miles