Ringmore to Ayrmer Cove walk

Ringmore, South Devon

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Be careful where you put your feet - you might disturb a slow worm © Simon Garner

Be careful where you put your feet - you might disturb a slow worm

Explore the rock pools at Ayrmer Cove © Simon Garner

Explore the rock pools at Ayrmer Cove

Are you quick enough to spot a dragonfly © Simon Garner

Are you quick enough to spot a dragonfly

Route overview

Explore the beauty and remoteness of the Ringmore Valley on a journey through old smugglers' lanes down to an unspoilt, secluded cove, boasting magnificent coastal views. Return through fields and woodlands rich in wildlife.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Route of the Ringmore to Ayrmer Cove walk in Devon
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Ayrmer Cove car park, grid ref: SX649456

  1. At the far end of the car park follow the sign for Ayrmer Cove along the path known as Smugglers' Lane. The path veers left then winds down to the beach. Ringmore Valley contains many hedgerows from the 1800s which are still maintained by traditional cutting and laying practices. The hedgerows also provide great nesting sites for a variety of birds, including the nationally rare cirl bunting. Halfway down is a resting point and your first real glimpse of the cove.

  2. Just before the beach there's a stretch of restored dry stone wall. At the beach turn right, cross the bridge over the stream and head over the sand dunes.

    Show/HideReptiles

    You may well see reptiles, like adders or this slow worm, in the grass, or basking in the sunshine on the stone walls in Ringmore Valley.

    Be careful where you put your feet - you might disturb a slow worm © Simon Garner
  3. Follow the path from the sand dunes through a gap in the wall, then up a steep hill and on to the South West Coast Path. Continue along this path until you get to a fence line and a way-mark post to Ringmore. From the coast path you'll notice the cliffs are eroding and we've had to move the path a number of times.

    Show/HideAyrmer Cove

    An ideal place for exploration, constantly evolving and offering something new each time you visit. At low tide the vast rock pools are teeming with marine life such as blennies, anenomes and starfish. The sand dunes are constantly shifting and developing. Bound together with marram grass, they're also home to sea sandwort, forming a lush green carpet bearing greenish white flowers in summer. The cove also has unique and colourful rock formations, great for anyone interested in geology.

    Explore the rock pools at Ayrmer Cove © Simon Garner
  4. Take a moment to savour the breathtaking coastal views before turning right along the top of Ringmore Valley and along the footpath inland, following a dry stone wall.

  5. The footpath follows a stone wall back towards Ringmore. Go through two gateways and after the third head downhill, following the path by the fenced bank to the woods. You'll see fields of wild flowers and some which contain rare arable plants that require cultivation to exist.

  6. Enter the woods and take the path straight down the hill (there's a short excursion to the orchard area signed on your left). In the woodlands you'll find a mixture of oaks and softwood plantings; the timber is used on the estate. The site of an ancient orchard lies at the top of the woods and is currently being restored with traditional Devon apple varieties. At the bottom of the hill, turn left onto the track and follow this round to the right until you come to a small stone bridge.

  7. Cross the main stream over the bridge (this is a good place to see brown trout and watch for kingfishers), following the footpath. Go through a gate then walk up the hill. Veer left around the back of Lower Manor Farmhouse and follow the road up.

    Show/HideDragonflies

    Many dragonflies can be seen darting around the rivers and streams in summer. The emperor dragonfly (pictured here) is one of the largest species in Europe. You'll need to have keen eyes to spot one though as they posses amazing speed and agility. The stream running through the valley is a wonderful haven for wetland plants and animals. The site of an old mill up-stream and earth works of ancient catch meadow systems (where water was diverted to fertilise the grassland) indicate that it was once used more intensively.

    Are you quick enough to spot a dragonfly © Simon Garner
  8. Just before the brow take the public footpath to the right. Continue to the road then veer left towards Journeys End Inn. At the inn turn right up the hill and follow the road to a T-junction. Turn right and walk along verge back to car park.

End: Ayrmer Cove car park, grid ref: SX649456

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 3 miles (5km)
  • Time: 1 hour
  • OS Map: Explorer OL20
  • Terrain:

    A 3 mile (5km) circular walk or 1.5 mile (2.4km) walk to the cove and back. Fairly strenuous with several steep slopes and steps. Route can be muddy in places after wet weather. Resting points, with some benches, located at various points along the route. Dogs welcome under close control.

  • How to get here:

    By bike: 4 miles (6.5km) from Modbury along busy, narrow roads, steep in places

    By bus: service 875, Plymouth (close to station) to Bigbury-on-Sea, via Ringmore; Fridays only

    By train: Plymouth, 15 miles (24km)

    By car: just off A379 between Modbury and Kingsbridge

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