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

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

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 start point.

South West Coast Path - Brixham to Kingswear - Essential Information

Walk Statistics:

  • Start location: Brixham 
  • End location: Kingswear 
  • Distance:   miles (  km)
  • Total Gain:   ft (  metre)
  • Total Descent:   ft (  metre)
  • Min Height:   ft (  metre)
  • Max Height:   ft (  metre)
  • Walk Time:  
  • Walk type: Linear
  • Walk Grade: Strenuous
  • Terrain:


The following maps and services can assist in navigating this route. There are links to printed maps and links to downloadable GPX route data for importing into navigational software and apps.



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
18/18A - At the time of walking this route the local 18 bus service was provided by Stagecoach and linked Brixham to Kingswear. Due to the ever changing landscape of public transport it is advised to use the Traveline website to get the latest timetables and operators.

Route Verification Details

  • 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 expedition 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 when we arrived at Brixham 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, the girth of its trunk 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 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 enabled us to be 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


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


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

Image of pub
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.


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 beer-clip 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

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


Usual Weatherspoons establishment 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


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.


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.

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

Summary of Document Changes

Last Updated: 2021-07-27

2011-06-27 : Initial publication
2017-12-19 : general maintenance updates
2019-01-27 : general maintenance updates
2019-12-17 : general maintenance updates
2021-03-17 : Update website improvements and removal of Viewranger reliance


Post a Comment

Walk Summaries

Latest walk summaries are basic information sheets for walks that have yet to be fully documented. These provide links to maps, public transport and walks stats, although detailed notes and features are not included.

Latest Walk Summaries

Featured Walk

In Search of Sizewell Chapel

A 10 mile walk following the southern side of the parish boundary of Leiston in Suffolk This walk follows the route of a 17th century peramb...

What is GPX

All you need to know about GPX, electronic mapping and how to use modern apps and mobile devices as navigation devices

Popular Walks