Saltram boundary walk
Situated on the edge of the Plym Estuary, the Saltram estate includes a Georgian mansion, surrounded by the remains of 18th-century landscape parkland.
Discover magnificent views of the Plym Estuary
The walk follows parkland and woodland, providing views of the estuary and Blaxton saltmarsh. The woodland flowers are particularly beautiful at spring time. Grade of walk: Walking Boot (steep/rocky); Type of walk: 'Flora and Fauna', 'Beautiful Views'.
Saltram House car park, grid ref: SX520556
From the car park, follow the entrance drive before turning right. Head up a corridor footpath, signposted Merafield, between fields on rising ground.
Blaxton saltmarsh birdlife
Behind the seawall at Blaxton is the only saltmarsh habitat on the Plym estuary, following the loss of other areas to development. It is a very important area for birdlife, particularly at high tide, when other feeding grounds are covered by the sea. Wintering birds include curlew, redshank and dunlin. Migrants using the marsh in spring and autumn include black-tailed, bar-tailed godwit and greenshank. Opportunistic vagrants visiting the site have included black-winged stilt, which attracted much attention in 2006. Mandarin ducks appear quite often, causing excitement amongst birdwatchers.
Turn left at the top of the rise, following the edge of the field, which is often grazed by South Devon cattle in the summer. View the house and panorama of the Plym on your left.
'We will remember them... '
The Parkers, who came originally 300 years ago in 1712. They already owned the nearby estate of Boringdon but Saltram's fine position soon made it their principal home, where their descendants continued to live until the 1950s. In 1957 it was transferred to us through the National Land Fund, which had been established in 1946 by the visionary Chancellor of the Exchequer, High Dalton. He declared it was a thank-offering for victory and a war-memorial which would think finer than any work of art in stone or bronze.
Cross the estate drive be careful, this is the entrance and exit drive to the estate. Follow the Boundary Walk path down a flight of steps through woodland with the A38 road close by on your right. Before leaving the wood there are some benches with pleasant views towards the estuary.
Flyovers and cycling
The Plympton bypass was built between 1969 and 1970 following the expropriation of 26 acres (10.5ha) of the Saltram estate by HM Government. In 1974 it became the first place in Britain where the famous Tour de France cycle race took place. The great flyover of the Marsh Mills roundabout was constructed in the early 1990s, it was finished in February 1996 and cost £12.25m. It carries the A38, once the great holiday escape route for many midlanders, as it stretches 292 miles (470km) from Bodmin to Mansfield in Nottinghamshire.
The fenced path crosses pasture fields on leaving the wood, and in front of you is a vista of the Plym Valley, dominated by the A38 flyover and the houses of Estover in the background. On the horizon, although obscured by trees, is the Triumphal Arch - a folly erected in 1783 by the Parkers of Saltram.
At the drive turn left. This is Longbridge Drive and at this point it is fringed with woodland. In the spring this woodland will be carpeted with snowdrops, daffodils and then bluebells.
Opposite the Snowdrop Wood Forest School sign, take an optional short deviation down the woodland track to a bench overlooking the saltmarsh. This area is known as Blaxton Meadow. It was originally embanked and reclaimed by the Parker family in the 1860s. Since 1986 a restoration scheme has been in operation restoring the land to saltmarsh. The marsh is now a haven for numerous wading birds.
Return and carry on along Longbridge Drive, up the steep rise, and back to the car park.
We hope that you really enjoyed this one-mile walk. We look 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 visit our homepage.
Saltram House car park, grid ref: SX520556
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