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

Sunday, 27 January 2019

South West Coast Path - Brixham to Paignton

Paignton Harbour

A 12 mile walk along the South West Coast Path between Brixham and Paignton.

There are a few moderately strenuous sections to this walk but nothing too arduous. The walk starts by heading out to Berry Head, the site of a an iron age fort, although most of this has been destroyed by late 18th century fortification for the Napoleonic Wars. The path then descends down into Brixham town where there are refreshment houses and shops set around the harbour. Brixham is much more of a heritage fishing town rather than its commercialized holiday resort neighbours of Paignton and Torquay. Out of Brixham, the path makes its way across the cliffs descending to Broad Sands and Goodrington Sands before reaching Paignton.

South West Coast Path - Brixham to Paignton - Essential Information

Walk Statistics:

Start point
Brixham View in OS Map | View in Google Map
End Point
Paignton View in OS Map | View in Google Map
Total Walk distance
11.5 miles
Walk difficulty
Moderate - some steep hills but nothing too arduous


The following maps and services can assist in navigating this route. The links include published hard copy as well as online plots and downloadable GPX route data for importing into navigational software and apps.

Ordnance Survey Explorer Map
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Online Ordnance Survey Route
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Online OpenStreetMap Route
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Online Google Route
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ViewRanger App Route
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GPX data for route (download)


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


Details of public transport that is required for the walk

StageCoach - Bus Service
Service Details
12 - At the time of walking this route the local 12 bus service was provided by Stagecoach and linked Brixham to Paignton. Due to the ever changing landscape of public transport it is advised to use the Traveline website to get the latest timetables and operators.

Walk Data

Date of Walk
Walk Time
10:00 to 16:30
Griffmonster, Kat
Weather Conditions
Sunny spells, warm

Walk Notes

This was completed as the 3rd days walk of an 8-day expedition to walk the South West Coast Path between Exmouth and Plymouth. The intention was to walk this as part as the first days walking but with the weather being so bad on the day it was put off to await better conditions. On all of the expeditions to the South West there is always a little contingency added to the agenda should the unexpected happen. In this case there was one free day which this walk slotted into nicely. And what a change it was too, gone the storms that had sept through the day before and a clear sunny day dawned that become warm and ideal for walking.

Between Brixham and Paignton we discovered Elbery Cove, an almost hidden cove not accessible by road and delightfully quiet. On one side of the beach is an old war lookout built into the cliff. From here steps lead back up onto the cliffs and over to Broadsands, a larger sandy cove flanked by hundreds of beach huts but still quiet. The Kingswear to Paignton Steam Railway cuts across the northern side of the cove and makes its way up the hills from the coast resulting in a full head of steam to get the trains up the incline. The path then follows the line through to Goodrington Sands, a more commercialized beach, before heading across Roundham Head and down into Paignton.

Altogether this was a really pleasant days walk and an excellent way to spend a day. A much recommended walk.

Goodrington Sands
Goodrington Sands


The path is clearly marked throughout with the National Trail acorns and is fully detailed in the The South West Coast Path: Falmouth to Exmouth National Trail Guide.

From brixham head out to Sharkham Point then take the Coast Path on the left and follow this around to Brixham. At Brixham the path goes around the edge of the harbour then heads across the cliffs.

Statue Of William Of OrangeThe colourful houses of Brixham
On the left Statue Of William Of Orange; On the right The colourful houses of Brixham


The Sprat And Mackerel Brixham View in OS Map | View in Google Map

Image of pub
The Sprat And Mackerel Brixham

Early or mid nineteenth century building that is very compact inside. There is outside seating on the pavement in front of the harbour. Ales include fine examples from Bays Brewery.


The pub stands right next door to the Crown and Anchor which we initially entered but finding no ale on offer went next door to find some Bays Devon Dumpling. Excellent beer with quite a lot of horsepower (5.1%) but very drinkable and full bodied.

Inn On The Quay, Goodrington Sands View in OS Map | View in Google Map

Image of pub

Very much a family oriented Brewer´s Fayre pub with large open areas both inside and outside. Offers a token ale amongst their array of keg beers, lagers and ciders.


It took a bit of surveying along the long bar but tucked away, right at the end there was a solitary handpump offering St Austells Tribute.

Talk Of The Town Paignton View in OS Map | View in Google Map

A Wetherspoons pub with the usual array of ale including local examples.


Once again Wetherspoons comes up with some local ale, this time being South Hams Eddystone Ale, a golden fruity ale.

Berry Head
Berry Head


Berry HeadView in OS Map | View in Google Map

Berry Head was the location of an iron age fort, its name deriving from the saxon word Byri which is translated as a fortification. The original fortification was a large earthwork with accompanying ditch but this was destroyed when the Napoleonic fortifications were constructed between 1794 and 1804. To give a good line of fire the ground was leveled leaving very little of the iron age remains. The Napoleonic defences still remain, including the former artillery house which has been converted into a public display and the old guardroom which now serves as a refreshment house.

At the tip of Berry Head is a lighthouse which has the claim to fame of being the shortest in the Trinity House fleet being a mere 16ft tall. Even so, at 190ft above sea level this has a range of 26 miles.


Golden HindView in OS Map | View in Google Map

In Brixham Harbour is a full size replica of The Golden Hind, the ship in which Sir Frances Drake became the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe during the 16th century. The Brixham visitors first impression of this galleon is just how small it is, even the cannons appear to be miniature and its overall size is only 70ft in length and 19ft wide. Despite its size, it has 5 decks and three masts and was the flagship in the expedition of 5 ships which were crewed by 164 men for the voyage. The original Golden Hind was built at Aldeburgh in Suffolk and christened as The Pelican and it wasn't until during the circumnavigation that Drake renamed her. It is thought that the name 'Golden Hind' was chosen to reflect the hind featured on the crest on the coat of arms of Sir Christopher Hatton who was the principal backer for the voyage. The replica has occupied the harbour since 1964 and has a long history of screen appearances in films and television.


Statue of William of OrangeView in OS Map | View in Google Map

Standing in the midfront of the harbour is a statue of William of Orange looking landward in a pompous pose. This statue commemorates the landing of what was to become King William III of England. It was from here, on November 5th 1688, that the Dutchman, together with a large mercenary army of 20,000 men and 5,000 horses went on to overthrow the catholic King James II of England. It is said that the block of stone on which he first set foot is preserved in the base of the monument.



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

Summary of Document Changes

Last Updated: 2019-01-27

2011-07-06 : Initial publication
2017-12-19 : general maintenance updates
2019-01-27 : general maintenance updates

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