Walk #325: Coleton Camp to Totnes
Map of the walk
Maps courtesy of Google Maps. Route for indicative purposes only, and may have been plotted after the walk. Please let me have comments on what you think of this new format. For a detailed table of timings for this walk, please see the table file.
The first part of this walk was quite steep in places, and it tired me out very quickly. This was more than made up for by the views however, which were for the most part stunning and beautiful. The cliffs were magnificent, and the path seemed to go to just the right places to make the most of them. Although it was not exactly a sunny day it was bright enough to make the views worthwhile, and I savoured every minute as I toiled up and down as the path winded its way around the cliffs.
The Brownstone Battery was very interesting, and I spent a little time walking around the existing buildings. The first building I came to was one of the old searchlight positions, and this was followed by a climb up a set of rickety concrete steps towards the lower gun position, which still gave commanding views out to sea. Next to this was an old inclined railway, which led a short distance uphill to the ammunition store and was used to send ammunition down the steep slope to the lower gun.
I was planning to have to walk along the A379 road from the upper ferry, one mile to the north of Kingswear, to Galmpton, a walk which I was not really looking forwards to doing. Fortunately the ferry was not running, and this meant that the road was exceedingly quiet as I walked along it. After a short distance a sign said that a footpath went away to the right to Maypole Youth Hostel; that was exactly the place that I wanted to get to ideally, but I could not understand why the path went away to the right, the opposite side of the road to Maypole. I discovered the answer a little while later, as the path crossed the road and plunged down through the woodland to the left. I decided to follow this route as it looked as though it would be more scenic than the road plod, and so it proved to be; however the path was not marked on my Ordnance Survey Map and therefore I had to trust the way markers. The path winded up and down through Long Wood, which made me even more tired, but I was rewarded with occasional lovely views of the River Dart through the trees. Eventually the path emerged out of the trees at Higher Greenway near Maypole, and from here I could follow the road to Galmpton. This was a lovely albeit strenuous diversion, and one I would most certainly recommend it over the alternative route along the road.
The rest of the walk to Totnes was along minor roads and green lanes, and this led to a fairly boring walk, without many good views available anywhere. The walk down and up Fleet Mill Lane was quite enjoyable however; this lane starts off surfaced but it soon becomes an unsurfaced deep sunken lane that was quite firm but very stony in places. I am hoping that the walk along the western side of the river Dart tomorrow will prove to be better; although it to involves lots of road walking it will be considerably nearer to the river than today's walk was.
In the Kingswear area I came across several plaques and references to Lieutenant Corporal H Jones, who became famous when he posthumously gained the Victoria Cross during the Falklands war.
Kingswear is the terminus of the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway, and I enjoyed looking at the trains in the station. Some shunting was being down by a diesel locomotive, and the first mile of the walk north of the town was between the river and the railway so I got some nice views of some of the rolling stock in the sidings. Unfortunately no services were running, and so I did not get the opportunity of seeing a steam train on the line, which could have been wonderful. The section of the Dart between the upper and lower ferries was packed with boats of all sizes and descriptions, and the marina looked fairly full, all of which looked wonderful in the morning sun, which glinted well off the water.
The second part of the walk northwards from Kingswear to Totnes is along the eastern bank of the River Dart. From the station in Kingswear head uphill along the B3205 road, with the railway on the left. After a few hundred yards some steps lead down to a black metal footbridge that leads over the railway line. On the other side of the bridge steps lead down to a footpath that runs between the railway line on the right and a marina on the left.
Turn right and follow the footpath northwards as it follows the railway line for more than a mile northwards until it reaches the upper ferry crossing by the A379. Here the footpath ends, so turn right and cross the railway on a level crossing before following the A379 road uphill. The road winds uphill, before a permissive footpath leads off to the left. Follow this footpath as it heads through the woodland - it is well waymarked and easy to follow as it continues northwards or over a mile before it eventually emerges near the farm at Higher Greenway.
Continue on down to a road near the farm. Here turn to the right to head northeastwards for a short distance to a road junction. Here continue on to the northeast along another road that crosses over a railway line on a bridge before eventually entering Galampton. Continue through the village and pass the school before turning to the left along another road that heads westwards out of the village. This road climbs steeply uphill before heading past Waddeton and Waddeton Court before turning to the right to head northwards and descend to Port Bridge.
Cross over the bridge and then immediately take a small road that leads of to the left. This road passes to the right of a small stream before it eventually ends and a rough footpath continues on into Stoke Gabriel. Take the first road to the left that climbs uphill towards the church and past a pub. When this road ends at a T-junction turn to the left up another road past the school and follow it as it turns to the right. Near a chapel take a road to the left that heads northwards for a little over a kilometre to the village of Aish, crossing a ford on the way.
When the road ends at a T-junction in Aish turn to the left and follow another road uphill. When this road curves to the right take a track that heads straight on, descending downhill to the west for a kilometre To Fleet Mill. Cross a bridge over a stream to Fleet Mill and then turn left to head north-northwestwards uphill along a very rough track, with a stream on the right. As the track nears the top of the hill it turns to the left to a more westerly direction before joining another track that heads northwards for a short distance before ending at a road.
Turn left and follow this road as it heads downhill. When it ends at a T-junction turn to the left and continue descending down into Totnes. Pass a shop on the right and then turn left along a road that curves around before ending by the bridge over the River Dart in Totnes, which is the first crossing point over the river and also where this walk ends.
This makes a total distance of 15.3 miles, with 3343 feet of ascent and 3854 feet of descent.
We stayed at the campsite at Broadleigh Farm, Coombe House Lane, Aish, Stoke Gabriel, Totnes TQ9 6PU. They can be contacted on 01803 782309. This site cost us seven pounds and fifty pence for the night, and was a reasonable site foe that price, although I found that the showers were too hot for me and that I could not adjust the temperature down.
Please note that I take no responsibility for anything that may happen when following these directions. If you intend to follow this route, then please use the relevant maps and check the route out before you go out. As always when walking, use common sense and you should be fine.
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And finally, enjoy your walking!
This walk was mentioned in the following routes: