East Soar Ranger Run, South Devon
This breathtaking circular trail run dips and climbs along rugged cliffs where 'Dartmoor meets the sea'. A wild, partially tamed landscape with views of the Atlantic ocean, sandy beaches and farm land. Overhead raptors fly and long-horned highland cattle peacefully munch on the rich grassland.
This route has been created in collaboration with expert trail runners and adventurers Jen and Sim Benson, as part of our Ranger Run Series
East Soar car park
Turn right out of the car park and along the road
Follow this quiet lane for a few hundred metres to the junction. Turn right at the T junction run for 100m then turn left and climb up steps onto footpath.
Follow the footpath across two fields, over a stone stile past the National Trust office/Southdown Farm then left-right dog leg by the farm road to find the public footpath and continue along the field to the green lane.
Turn left on Jacobs lane (green lane) and follow this to the end and the road.
Turn right on the quiet road down the hill to the T-junction.
Turn left on road then run for 75m and take the next right at the road junction.
Follow the quiet road for 300m and turn left on to a green lane then turn left on to a footpath then turn right before Higher Barton farm, and continue up the hill.
At the top of the hill turn left on the path and follow the path across the fields and then down through Hope Cove village till you hit the South West Coast Path by the sea.
Turn left and follow the South West Coast Path past the RNLI lifeboat station and beach. Start the climb up to Bolt Tail and onto the amazing coastal route. The whole coastal section of this route is the focus of a major project to significantly improve our land for nature and is already a recognised Site of Special Scientific Interest for the wildlife influenced by the sea. As you climb up from Hope Cove you will pass through the remains of an Iron Age hill fort before following the hill to the top. At the top, remember to stop at the gate and turn around to appreciate the amazing views over to Burgh Island, the Eddystone Lighthouse (18 m offshore) and on clear days out to the Lizard. All along the coast there are grazing animals from sheep to Dartmoor ponies and our favourite the Highland cattle. They look incredible with their shaggy coats and long horns but they are docile and passive and quietly munch away as you run past. All our tenants select livestock which are passive and happy to be around people.
Follow the South West Coast Path which will always be the path closest to the sea (to avoid taking a wrong turn) and appreciate the views. Half-way along the coast path you will start to drop down into Soar Mill Cove with great views and the chance to have a dip in the sea to refresh the legs for the climbs to come. A little further on the interestingly named Starehole Bottom nestles below Devonian rocky crags with many ancient hut circles and structures hidden among the banks and plants. As you climb out of the valley you pass along Courtney Walk, a narrow pass under the rocks, with views across the impossibly blue Atlantic ocean - home to several shipwrecks. When the path turns towards the mouth of the estuary and if the tide is right you will see the sand bar across the entrance with waves rising high and kayakers trying their luck to ride the waves up the estuary.
After approx. 10km pop out on the road below Overbeck's. Turn left and climb the hill pass the car park and the National Trust gardens entrance and take the footpath marked Sharpitor, that runs alongside the wall of the gardens.
Continue straight on the track over the field gate and stile - don't turn left on the footpath.
Follow this path across the fields arriving back to the car park to finish.
East Soar car park
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