Route details, maps, pubs, features, local history and folklore for a wide variety of walks focusing primarily on Norfolk and Suffolk

Monday, 27 June 2011

South West Coast Path - Brixham to Kingswear

Looking towards the Dart Estuary

A 10 mile walk along the South West Coast Path between Brixham and Kingswear.

This section is one of the most strenuous walks along the Exmouth to Plymouth section of the Coast Path but offers some spectacular views. There are craggy cliff-face paths as well as gentle wooded zig-zags before it finally meets the lanes that emerge by the railway station at Kingswear. A frequent bus service operates between Brixham and Kingswear to allow the walker to return to the startpoint.

Brixham to Kingswear Walk - Essential Information

Walk Statistics:

Start point
BrixhamView in OS Map | View in Google Map
End Point
KingswearView in OS Map | View in Google Map
Total Walk distance
9.8 miles
Walk difficulty
Strenuous

Accommodation:

Upton Manor Farm Campsite, BrixhamView in OS Map | View in Google Map
Website
Description
Upton Manor Farm Campsite, Brixham - a friendly site on the southern edge of Brixham, a mile from the town centre.

Transport:

StageCoach - Bus Service
Service Number
22 - StageCoach Service 22 from Brixham to Kingswear
Timetable

Walk Data

Date of Walk
2011-06-17
Walk Time
11:00 to 16:30
Walkers
Griffmonster, Kat
Weather Conditions
Overcast and blustery with a south-west breeze. The afternoon deteriorated into heavy rain

Walk Notes

This was completed as part of an 8-day holiday to walk the South West Coast Path between Exmouth and Plymouth. We arrived at the Uplands Camp site at 10:30 after setting out at 3:30am from Suffolk. The day had been forecast to be a total washout and despite an initial bright start to the morning, the weather soon deteriorated as we motored west. Luckily there was a let-up at Brixham when we arrived so managed to get the tent up in the dry before embarking to Kingswear along the Coast Path.

Living in Suffolk, hills are not something often encountered so getting onto the coast path was exhilarating with the constant ascents and descents and spectacular views despite the weathers gloom. By the time we encountered the first major descent down to Man Sands, the rain resumed forcing us to kit up in waterproofs. The rain became heavier as we went on and by the end of the walk we were absolutely drenched with water having penetrated rucksack, waterproofs and boots. Nonetheless spirits were not dented and it was a good feeling to have completed our initial walk of this section of the coast path.

As we rounded the coast into the Dart estuary the path meanders through the wooded cliff-face. At one point it zig-zags up the cliff to come out on a lane which eventually winds down into Kingswear. As we negotiated this climb we were blocked by a huge tree which had come down directly across the path. Standing next to this it was well above my head and I stand 6ft and it clearly could not be negotiated at this point. Going back down the path it was apparent that other walkers had attempted to tackle the obstacle further down the trunk. This involved mounting a steep bank and clambering over the trunk which in dry conditions would have been a feat in itself, but in the torrid conditions we were experiencing the bank was a streaming and slippery mass on water and mud and looked an almost impossible task. Nonetheless a run at the slope followed by grappling the attached vegetation about the trunk we were able to slowly haul ourselves over. The process took a little time and resulted in a lot of splattered mud but it gave great sense of achievement.

7800  Torquay Manor, GWR 7800 Class 4-6-0 on the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway
7800 Torquay Manor, GWR 7800 Class 4-6-0 on the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway

Directions

Follow the route as detailed in the The South West Coast Path: Falmouth to Exmouth National Trail Guide.

Brixham Town Centre to Sharkham Point

Proceed out of Brixham Town Centre up Bolton Street, easily located by the Bolton Pub. Follow this road up the hill, past the traffic lights and take Castor Road on the left. This continues in a winding fashion further up the hill until it junctions with Upton Manor Road with a large tree in the centre of the junction. Take the road to the left and keep walking round the left hand bend into St Marys Road. This leads down past Upton Manor Campsite and out onto the cliffs at Sharkham Point where the Coast Path crosses the track.

Sharkham Point to Kinswear

The route is clearly marked out with the National Trail acorns.

Man SandsThe Royal Dart Kingswear
On the left Man Sands; On the right The Royal Dart Kingswear

Pubs

The Royal Dart, Kingswear View in OS Map | View in Google Map

Image of pub
Address
The Royal Dart, Kingswear

Located on the waters edge in Kingswear, this 17th century inn has had a number of names throughout its history. Originally called The Plume of Feathers, it changed its name to The Station Hotel when the railway arrived in the mid 19th century before changing again to the Yacht Hotel in honour of the Dart Yacht Club that held their meetings at the inn. When Queen Victoria paid a visit to the regatta the name of the pub changed yet again to The Royal Dart Hotel and finally in the 1980s with the selling off of its rooms for apartments it eventually obtained its present name of The Royal Dart. As if this name changing was not enough, during WWII, The Royal Navy requisitioned the building to use it as a HQ to control various coastal flotillas and as all naval establishments have ships names, The Royal Dart was called ‘HMS Cicala’.

The present building offers a balcony restaurant overlooking the river and offers a wide variety of locally sourced fish, meat and vegetables on their menu.

Review

The barstaff, despite our being in very wet and muddy condition granted our entry and they appeared to be impressed that we had completed this section of the path in such dreadful weather conditions. Although there was a Bays beerclip attached to one of the beer engines, the only ale available was St Austell's Tribute Ale. A very fine and rewarding pint.

The Vigilance, Brixham View in OS Map | View in Google Map

Address
The Vigilance, Brixham
Website

Opened on 18 Mar 1998 this Wetherspoons pub is named after the last sailing trawler to be built in Brixham in 1926. The usual Wetherspoons range of ales including local examples

Review

Usual Weatherspoons with a good choice of ales. However we returned after the following days walk but were disappointed by the fact they were serving beer in plastic glasses. We retired to the Three Elms Pub just off Castor Street, a little local serving Tribute.

Brownstone Battery
Brownstone Battery

Features

Brownstone BatteryView in OS Map | View in Google Map

During WWII a series of emergency Coastal Defence Batteries were built including the one that still stands at the mouth of the river Dart at Inner Froward Point. Armed with two six inch guns with a range of over 14 miles, these were operated in tandem with a searchlight close to the high water mark. During its operation the base was manned with 230 soldiers who operated the guns, searchlights and observation post. Together with the generator room, ammunition store, accommodation block, latrines, general store and mess rooms the complex was fairly extensive and can still be viewed today. The area is currently owned by the National Trust.

References

The Paignton and Dartmouth Steam RailwayView in OS Map | View in Google Map

This restored line on the former Kingswear branch line between Paignton and Kingswear runs for 6.5 miles terminating adjacent to the current Paignton Railway Station. The original branch line was built by the Dartmouth and Torbay Railway in 1864 and operations continued on the line up until the Ministry of Transport put forward a proposal for closure in 1968. At this point the Dart Valley Railway stepped in and bought the line in 1972 and by January 1973 had a regular service running. Today there is a regular service operated by a mixture of steam and diesel locomotives including GWR 7800 Class 4-6-0 7800 Torquay Manor (originally numbered and named 7827 Lydham Manor) as well as frequent visits of steam excursion trains from Bristol Temple Meads.

References
Sunset after a long day of rain
Sunset after a long day of rain

Images

Below are a selection of images taken from from the photo album for this walk. Feel free to browse through these or click on any image to view a larger version in the Gallery.

Click on an image below to view the Image Gallery

Maps

Below is the route depicted on the OpenStreetMap, Ordnance Survey Map and Google Map. Links to full page versions are found in the Essential Information

Summary of Document Changes

Last Updated: ... 2016-01-14

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