Category Archives: The South west Coast Path

Dawlish to Sidmouth on The South West Coast Path

Today started off as a low energy day, funny how buildings can do that to you. It didn’t get much better when I left and found it to be raining. 🙁

wet bucket & spadesI continued walking along the coast wall between the sea and Gods Wonderful Railway as the GWR was known. at Dawlish Warren (an apt name) you have to leave the wall and meander pass sad looking shops for the bucket & spade brigade then walk next to the road along an elaborate new path/cycleway that can’t make it’s mind which side you should be on,  before it gives up and dumps you on the narrowest bit of the road.

I crossed the railway at Starcross for the ferry with it still pouring, of cause there was no shelter. Eventually we left, me as the only passenger for the 15min £4.50 crossing to Exmouth into the new harbour complex of flats, which I’m afraid to say held no appeal. I eventually found a cafe in an old Pullman carriage at the model railway centre. A short climb later I was next to some fancy needle sculpture opened by Charles in 2002, whoever pays for this stuff? The little stone engraved stones on the side of the path were better (telling me gorse smells of coconut).

Three Bristol PostiesAfter passing the depressing caravan site near Budleigh I met three posties (Steve, Larry & Bertie) from Bristol, a very cheery lot especially given they were camping the path. One of whom had completed it before. I bumped into them again in the cafe at Budleigh. They are hoping to do A Coast to Coast walk next year so I told them about the lady who produces the b&b guide. Here’s the link for their daughters and better halves. None of the lads use the internet!

Thatched cottage before
Before
Caravan site
After

After the lunch my spirits and the weather lifted. I gave a group of squaddies a good run for their money (OK they were carrying 60kg backpacks).

Then past the amazing Ladram caravan site. Where a gorgeous thatched cottage is surrounded by cravans. I just imagined the cottage owner waking from a deep sleep and thinking WTF has happened. Before I used to live ina gorgeous valley with a lovely beach now I’m surrounded by hundreds of campers trying to be happy. 🙂

Finally the sun came out as I was entering Sidmouth, what a civilised lovely place this is. Even the ice cream shops close at 5pm its all very prim. However, I notice like Cambridge it’s lost the main Post Office. However, it still has a vibrant range of independent shops. Mike at Luggage Transfers found me the b&b at Larkstone House & I’ve forgiven him for giving me the wrong postcode, adding an extra mile to the day 🙂

The pictures for today are here, statistics here and Everytrail below
Dawlish to Sidmouth on The South West Coast Path at EveryTrail

Tomorrow Tuesday I pass through Seaton & Beer on my way to stop at Lyme Regis, then its Abbotsbury on Wednesday followed by Weymouth for a couple of nights Thursday & Friday to do The Bill . Which means the next stop is Poole and the end.

Paignton to Dawlish on The South West Coast Path

Another brilliant sunshine day with no wind, that’s two in a row now 🙂

National Association of Master Masons benchThe day started with an easyish walk along The English Riviera past all the very English beach huts overlooking the red sands. Climbing out through the old gasworks, now skilfully converted into a park with the old gasometer basins made into pond like features (In Cambridge ours was converted to a Tesco!). After the harbour, who affords all these vast tupperware boats? and past the aviary I came across more interesting park benches, I loved the one made in stone by the National Association of Master Masons bench. Maybe it serves as a reminder to get your order in for your gravestone.

Way Marker postToday’s trail markers were 6 inch square solid wood posts, notched out to take the directional arrows. They really love spending money on these markers. Problem is there are so few it is easily to get confused, maybe it’s a cunning plan to get you to buy guides.

Oddicombe Cliff railwayJust before Oddicombe Beach a cafe was doing brisk business selling tea at £1 and cakes at £1 as he said it kept business simple, just like the pound shop. The bridge to Oddicombe beach was allegedly closed but seemed in pretty good order to me ,-) I loved the cliff railway out of Oddicombe, although of cause I walked alongside it.

After a few more roller coaster hills and a few mistakes (Why mention a car park in the guide when you have to walk on the road! not in the car park)

Only one interesting guy today. He walks his dog 10miles in the morning & 6miles in the afternoon EVERY day. Then spends his time rock climbing round the UK. No wonder he was as thin as a rake.

The ferry across to Teignmouth was very cosy with holiday families debating about wether to walk up to the viewpoint. To get to Dawlish involved walking along the top of Brunel’s seawall holding the GWR line in place.unfortunately it ended by the tunnel so there was more ascending to do. Before I called it a day at the rather expensive, jaded & dated Oceans B&B on the Marine Parade, I think i will leave future accommodation to the experts

My pictures are here stats here and Everytrail below (I’ve given up trying to add photos to Everytrail, It’s just to frustrating & unreliable now.

Paignton to Dawlish on The South West Coast Path at EveryTrail

Stoke Fleming to Paignton on The South West Coast Path

After the mother of all sleeps at Fairholme I awoke for the first time, on this trip, to a glorious blue sky and no wind. After a lavish breakfast I was on my way.

Muddy pathThe first 4 miles to Dartmouth were OK, although I declined the option through the mud and followed a dog walker up to the coastguard cottages and then along the road (the old route apparently according to the OS). In fact on the side of the road there is a plethora of acorn signs which don’t really make sense.

DartmouthDartmouth is very photogenic and I recognised the huge Officer Navy Training building on top of the hill, where, in a past life, I was lavishly treated to a night’s stay. The stay came about because we sold them some kit for their electron microscope a long time ago (I remember the orderly reeling of a huge list of marmalades when I stupidly just asked for marmalade).

Chandlers shop ropeThis time I was with the plebs and went to the chandlery, the sort of shop that sends my brain whirring on what I could use all the marine kit for around the house 🙂 this time it was spinnaker tape for fixing holes in my shorts pockets, some gorgeous nylon cord & a special cement for fixing tears and holes in nylon (even punctures in rubber boats). Then it was on the ferry. Which is dragged across by a tug boat driven with extraordinary skill. At  the other side I started walking up the hill only to realize I had left my poles in the shop 🙁 so back across the water and another £1.20. The ferryman felt sorry for me on the third crossing and let me on for nothing 🙂

Car stuck in devon laneI walked on only to get stuck behind a plonker who thought his car wouldn’t go down a narrow lane, I tried to convince him he could but he insisted on reversing which was even worse especially with his wife saying it was very going to hit with a good 3″ gap. I began to wonder if I would ever get started on the difficult bit ahead. Fortunately two ladies came by and took over 🙂 I squeezed by and sped on.

A short while later the ladies zoomed past, saying they had been relieved by another group who had convinced the driver to get through. I was left thinking I’m getting very slow…I overtook them shortly afterwards when they sat down to admire the view,

Paignton walk altitude profileThe route quickly turned into a roller coaster with a vengeance up and down lots of coombes (which got me thinking about my most hated teacher at school was a Ma Coombes!).

Eventually, at Berry Head I found a cafe in the fort as i was getting parched (dry carrot cake at £2.80). I left suitably refreshed and who should I find on the seats down the lane but the two ladies from earlier in the day, so maybe I’m not so slow after all 🙂 they were only on a day walking trip to Brixham taking a weekend off from kids & hubbies to visit the Dartmouth music festival.

Golden Hind with Clare & SarahI left them at the historic replica of the  Golden Hind ship and raced on for the next 6 miles to Paignton, past 100’s of Sally’s objects of desire, Beach huts 🙂 even more up and downs past the kids and unhealthy looking folks dawdling along.

I eventually found The Adelphi ready for another good nights kip, although the bed is very soft!

The pics are here and stats here with Everytrail below:
Stoke Fleming to Paignton on The South West Coast Path at EveryTrail

Salcombe to Stoke Fleming on The South West Coast Path

No complaints about the weather today! mainly sunshine light winds pretty well perfect.

Now we are threeAfter a hearty , if somewhat late breakfast, at The Ria View I took the£1.50  ferry across the estuary and started walking at 10am. I made excellent progress and soon caught up with the lads I met at the Avon ferry yesterday, now down to 3 as the fourth had suspected food poisoning from the Brie he had last night and so was taking the bus. As for the taxi two no sight of them all day.

StonechatTotally inspiring scenery with some quite dodgy bits on Gammon Head climbing around rocks with a big drop on one side. Then past Maelcombe House a  sprawling pile that woud never get planning permission these days. Where <i met a full blown twitcher who pointed out the Stonechat.

At Start Point (great name especially with signs that say Coastal Path Start) I met a guy carrying a tripod who told me of the benefits of using neutral density filters and long exposures to get great cloud shots (the clouds are stretched to give the picture atmosphere).

Paul & wifeThen I dropped down to a smart large building (formerly the Trout’s Hotel) where I noticed a guy languishing  in a chair, I commented there was no cafe between here and Salcombe when to my surprise his wife appeared and said we had met on the ferry from Falmouth. Oh! how I envy folks who can remember faces. So a cup of tea and slab of cake was soon forth coming and a chair passed over the railing so I could have a snack literally ON The South West Coast Path. Afterwards Paul and his wife showed me round their luxury apartment that they were preparing to rent out & an amazing place it is too. You can find it here Start Bay Lookout and it really is as luxurious as they make out 🙂

Much refreshed I continued down to Hallsands& Torcross then along the historic Slapton sands used for the mock D-Day landings (all the population was evacuated). After which the path starts using the dangerous A379 around Strete, although a £25,000 alternative path is under construction.

I finally stopped for the night in the lovely village of Stoke Fleming where Mike had fixed me up in Fairholme B&B, Chris is very friendly waiting in for me before dashing out to the Dartmouth Musical festival.

All the days pictures are here, walk statistics here and Everytrail below.

Salcombe to Stoke Fleming on The south West Coast Path at EveryTrail