Saltram pillars 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. This walk follows parkland and woodland, providing distant views of the estuary, Plymouth and Cornwall.
Please book ahead before visiting
The garden at Saltram will reopen from Monday 15 June and you’ll need to
book tickets online or by calling 0344 249 1895 by 3pm the day before your visit. Members can book for free, while non-members will need to pay when booking. We'll be releasing tickets every Friday. Please note we’ll be turning people away who arrive and haven't booked. We're looking forward to welcoming you back.
Saltram House car park, grid ref: SX520556
From the car park follow the entrance drive before turning right up a corridor footpath. You should be towards a set of fields on rising ground that are signposted Merafield.
Saltrams Boringdon gate piers
These much-travelled gate piers date to the 1600s and match two other pairs associated with Boringdon Park, where these were originally sited. Brought to Saltram soon after the laying of the Chelson Meadow Racecourse in 1828, they were erected at Playbox Corner, where racegoers paid for entry. They stood there until at least 1944, long after the closure of the racecourse in 1926. The gate piers were given to the us by Lord Morley in 1961. They were sited here on Stag Lodge Drive in 1971, after the racecourse had become a municipal rubbish dump - it's now a grass covered hill.
Turn right at the top of the rise. The track which becomes a tarmac road follows the edge of the field; in the summer South Devon cattle are often grazed here. View the panorama of the parkland, the house and the Plym estuary, with the city beyond and Mount Edgcumbe in the distance.
Stables and racing
The stables were built in the 1740s by John and Lady Catherine Parker, they were extended about 20 years later by their son, the first Lord Boringdon. The cupola was added then, and includes a clock made by William Smith in 1761, and a bell which strikes the hours dated 1765. Lord Boringdon loved the 'Turf' and bred racehorses. There are pictures of some of these in the house, including Anvil who was eventually sold to the then Prince of Wales (George IV) and Saltram, which won the Derby in 1783.
Ignore the track to the right and keep going along the tarmac road. This was the original road between Plympton and Elburton, it was re-routed following the construction of the A38 in 1975.
Racing and rubbish
Looking to the south-west from the pillars, Chelson Meadow lies before the River Laira. Originally a creek off the river, an embankment was built in 1807 by the Earl of Morley, perhaps originally to form a lake, but this quickly became a project to produce productive arable land. In 1828, Lord Morley created a rectangular race track for horse-racing around the perimeter of the site and eventually a small grandstand was erected in 1869. In 1964, by which time Plymouth City Council had acquired the land, it became the main refuse tip for the city, and in many parts the original creek is more than 98ft (30m) below the surface.
The road high-banked on one side, drops down to reveal the A38 running adjacent. Turn right here to join one of the main estate drives.
Follow the drive to the right. At this point the drive consists of tarmac on concrete, laid in the Second World War and used by the American forces prior to D Day. This area, known as the Dell, was a favourite walk of the Parker family - who lived at Saltram from 1712 to the 1950s. The Dell has some semi-formal planting including rhododendrons and palm trees.
Continue along the drive and through two ornate pillars brought from the Parkers previous home, Boringdon Hall. These were re-erected here in 1971. Enjoy some more panoramic views over the parkland. Return to the car park down an avenue of Lime trees with pasture fields on either side.
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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