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A view over the rocky cliffs and grassy fields towards the mouth of the river Dart at Dartmouth, with rocky cliffs on the other side of the river, and a tiny rock islet
Walk towards the harbour of the river Dart at Dartmouth | © Phil Hemsley

Circular walk from Little Dartmouth

A beautiful four-mile circular coastal walk with some impressive sea and estuary views, following the boats along the coast towards the safe harbour of Dartmouth. Along the way you'll see birds, grasshoppers, crickets and butterflies and, for many the highlight of the walk, the ruins of Gallants Bower, an old Civil War fort with impressive 360-degree views.

Total steps: 5

Total steps: 5

Start point

Little Dartmouth National Trust car park, Devon TQ6 0JR. Grid ref: SX874491

Step 1

Follow the path at the southern end of the car park towards the sea, joining the coast path at Warren Point. The Point gets its name from the large burrows where rabbits were bred for meat and fur in the 19th century (long gone now). From the Point there are far-reaching views south across Start Bay to Start Point Lighthouse 8 miles (13km) away.

Step 2

Follow the coast path eastwards passing Western Combe Cove (don't be tempted by the steep unstable steps carved into the cliff face). Walk past the gorse-covered outcrop of Combe Point and the rocky inlets of Shinglehill Cove and Willow Cove. (You'll pass an inland path which offers a short cut back to the car park.)

Step 3

The coast path eventually loops around Compass Valley. At the finger post follow the sign to continue on the coast path, across the field and then through the gate towards Dartmouth. At this finger post you could alternatively head seaward to visit a view point or detour down to Compass Cove before retracing your steps to rejoin the coast path.

Step 4

Continue along the coast path and onto Blackstone Point. Follow the path as it climbs steeply through woods above Deadman's Cove and Sugary Cove, until you reach the lane at Compass Cottage (if you turn left here you can bypass Gallants Bower and return to the car park). On the estuary below stands Dartmouth Castle (English Heritage) with refreshments and toilets.

Step 5

Turn right, going downhill along the lane. After a short distance on the left take the path up into Gallants Bower (Dartmouth Castle is now below you). Follow the path up through the woods. Through the gate into the open area - the site of the fortification. Take the path westwards staying below the fort. Then back through a gate and down through the woods and on to the lane. Bear right heading up hill, passing the old Coastguard Station and continue along the bridleway back to Little Dartmouth car park.

End point

Little Dartmouth National Trust car park, Devon TQ6 0JR. Grid ref: SX874491

Trail map

Little Dartmouth Circular Walk map, Little Dartmouth, Devon
Little Dartmouth Circular Walk map, Little Dartmouth, Devon | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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Stoke Fleming, Dartmouth, Devon, TQ6 0JP

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