Revelstoke Drive

A view down Revelstoke Drive

The wide track along the coast from Noss Mayo to Stoke Point is part of a nine mile circular carriage ride, called Revelstoke Drive.

It makes an ideal track to follow as it is wide and flat and enjoys uninterrupted views of the sea as it gently follow the contours of the cliffs.

It was built in the 1880s by the land-owner, Edward Baring, first Lord Revelstoke to take his visitors on spectacular rides.

Lord Revelstoke by Frank Dadd, Oil on Canvas, 1878
Lord Revelstoke by Frank Dadd, Oil on Canvas, 1878

Look out for the walls which were built to prevent horses from plunging into the sea on sharp bends. The drive was built by out-of-work fishermen. The story goes that when the carriage way was completed the labourers looked so dejected at the prospect of unemployment; Baring promptly ordered them to make it three feet wider. This extravagant gesture was typical but short-lived.

Under his leadership Barings Bank collapsed and, unlike the bankers of today, he was held personally responsible and had to sell Membland Estate, his land, home and possessions.

His legacy however is still evident today, so as you drive along the lanes make sure to lookout for lodges, farms and outbuildings he built in a distinctive, romantic style.

Warren Cottage

As you walk along the Revelstoke Drive towards Noss Mayo, you’ll come across Warren cottage. This was once the home of the Membland Estate warrener, who would have been responsible for breeding rabbits for meat and fur. 

It was later rebuilt as a summerhouse and luncheon stop for Lord Revelstoke’s carriage parties; he entertained the future King Edward VII here.

Gunrow Signal Station

During the late eighteenth century, from 1793 onwards, Britain was continuously at war with post-revolution France and the Admiralty decided to establish a chain of signal stations to warn of approaching enemy fleets. In south Devon these included stations at Mount Edgcumbe, Gunrow's Down, Scobbiscombe, West Soar and Prawle Point.

Gunrow Signal Station was a communcations system for the fleet during Napoleonic times
Gunrow Signal Station was a communcations system for the fleet during Napoleonic times

Signal officers would alert neighbouring stations in the chain by means of semaphore flags hoisted on poles. The present unoccupied building dates back to the early 1900s, and in the past has served as a coastguard lookout, a Second World War observation post and searchlight position, and a National Trust shop and cafe.