Gallants Bower

The old Civil War fort Gallants Bower is located on the Little Dartmouth circular walk

Although now just a ruin, the Civil War fort is still an impressive place to explore with amazing 360 degree views across the estuary and inland.

Stand with the Royalists at a Civil War fort

Built between 1643 and 1645 to defend Dartmouth against the Parliamentarians, it saw the fiercest action in 1646, when it came under attack from Roundhead forces under General Fairfax. The Royalists having already fled the town and the castle finally retreated to Gallants Bower where they soon surrendered.

Four years later the fort was dismantled. It is now one of the best preserved in the country and is a Scheduled and Listed Ancient Monument.

A great time to visit is when all the bluebells are out in late April – early May.

An illustration of how Gallants Bower once might have been
An illustration of how Gallants Bower once might have been

Dartmouth Castle and Kingswear Castle

Combine your walk with a visit to Dartmouth Castle, built between 1481 and 1494, which has facilities and refreshments.

Kingswear Castle, on the east bank, was completed just a few years later, and together the twin forts guarded the narrow entrance to the estuary and the prosperous merchant port. At times of threat, a great chain was stretched across the water and raised to obstruct any attacking ships. Dartmouth Castle is owned by English Heritage and is open all year; Kingswear Castle is now a holiday cottage owned by the Landmark Trust.