Hoist Point walk
Explore the highest point of this coastline between Plymouth and Dartmouth on this circular, strenuous trail, which has some great beaches to visit along the way - ideal places to take a rest after all the climb. Why not pop into the 16th century pub, The Dolphin, in Kingston before returning home?
St James the Less church, Kingston, TQ7 4QE
From the church head past the Dolphin Pub, then right along the road past the recreation ground until you reach the National Trust sign for Scobbiscombe Farm on your right.
Go through the gate and follow the path round to the top of the field. Keep following the path crossing through several fields and gates.
Scobbiscombe Farm is marked on maps as early as 1809 and during the 1970s was developed by the Co-op. Today, a tenant farmer looks after the land and produces a number of crops for the nation to feast on, in particular fantastic potatoes and some lovely beef and lamb. It is a delicate balance of maintaining food production whilst growing special areas for birds to feed. Sheep help to ensure a rich variety of plant and wildlife by eating and trampling grasses and scrub that would otherwise dominate the landscape.
As you come out of a small copse you'll get your first view of the River Erme. The path continues along field edges with spectacular views of the river and Wonwell beach. Follow the signpost down to Fernycombe.
When you reach the cliff edge viewpoint, you can take a 30 minute detour along the South West Coast Path to Wonwell beach, or carry on following the coast path to the left and up to Beacon Point.
Following the path alongside the cliffs, you will pass through two gates before descending into Freshwater Valley. The field is the site of a cottage that was used by hunting parties from the Flete estate on the other side of the Erme.
Local folklore recalls smuggling as an important activity. At Westcombe beach there are caves (only accessible at low tides) where, reportedly, there are mooring irons fixed in the walls. A tunnel leading from the beach to Scobbiscombe Farm is talked of and another to nearby Ayrmer cove. Built into the cliff face at Freshwater valley is a cave (inaccessible) with a chimney, used as a lookout and a hideaway. Please be aware of the tides if you explore the caves.
Continue up the other side of the valley and take the higher of the paths to the top of Hoist Point and enjoy panoramic views from the highest place on the South Devon coast. Mind your footing as the path from Hoist Point to Westcombe beach is very steep.
At 305ft (93m) above sea level, the hill was used as part of the Armada warning system of 1586. Beacons have been lit for the Golden Jubilees of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II, the coronations of Edward VII, George V and George VII and the 50th anniversary of VE day.
Leave the beach by the left-hand path and walk along the valley. At the junction take the public bridleway along some fields. The path eventually becomes tarmaced. At the T-junction, turn right to head back into the village.
St James the Less church, Kingston TQ7 4QE
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