The secret view of Salcombe to Snapes
Get away from the hustle and bustle of Salcombe and explore Snapes Point, with its unique 360 degree views of the spectacular Salcombe estuary and captivating birdlife.
Snapes car park, grid ref SX738403
Pass through the small gate at the back of the National Trust car park onto a wide track heading down towards the estuary and the town of Salcombe. The route you are following is an old carriageway built in 1800, originally for the Salcombe to Kingsbridge railway.
Salcombe to Kingsbridge Railway
This track was once used as a carriageway for Snapes Manor. It was built in the 1800s by the then landowner in preparation for the development of the planned Kingsbridge to Salcombe railway, which was to be built along the estuary to Snapes Point. Whilst work was started on the branch lines extension, it was soon abandoned and Kingsbridge remained the railhead for Salcombe.
Continue along this high-hedged footpath and ignore the other footpaths signposted to your left and right. The high hedges and surrounding farmland are managed for wildlife under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme. The scheme helps support the populations of farmland birds which nest in the thick hedges and feed on insects and seeds across the neighbouring fields.
The fields, which are managed through the Countryside Stewardship scheme, have wide margins and well maintained hedgerows which create an ideal habitat for farmland birds, like the cirl bunting. Once widespread in the south of England, the cirl bunting population declined rapidly to just 118 pairs in 1989, confined to the southern tip of South Devon. However, working with farmers to improve hedgerows and the over-wintering of stubbles as a food source has enabled the fortunes of these birds to be slowly turned around.
As the track contours along the edges of Batson Creek, take in the impressive views of Salcombe and all of the hustle and bustle that surround the town. The bench along here is a great place to sit and boat watch.
Beneath the waves
It isnt obvious from the surface but beneath the waves of Snapes Point there are steep underwater cliffs that go all the way to the seabed either side of the estuary. Depending on the tide, these cliffs can reach a depth of 60ft (18m), forming hugely rich marine communities from kelp forests to brightly coloured sponge gardens. Most of the animals that live here filter the water for food. The sponge, which is bright yellow, filters out food particles through tiny pores. Other dramatically coloured sponges can be found here including bright orange, red and even blue.
Eventually you'll reach a stone flight of steps on your left, signposted to a viewpoint. Take the short climb up here through the gate to the bench, for spectacular 360 degree views of the estuary's head at Kingsbridge right through to its mouth beyond Salcombe.
Now retrace your steps and return down the track up to the car park.
We hope that you really enjoyed this one-mile walk. The National Trust looks after some of the most spectacular areas of countryside for the enjoyment of all. We need your support to help us continue our work to cherish the countryside and provide access to our beautiful and refreshing landscapes. To find out more about how you too can help our work as a volunteer, member or donor please go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk.
Snapes car park, grid ref SX738403
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