Total steps: 5
Total steps: 5
Prawle Point car park, grid ref: SX775354
From the car park, join the South West Coast Path and turn right towards Gara Rock. Walk up the hill towards the look-out at Prawle Point, soon passing the row of coastguard houses. The Trust has been working with the local tenant to create flower rich pasture here, which is a key site for rare invertebrates including the Long-horned Bee and Mediterranean Oil Beetle which need nectar rich areas to survive.
Site of radar station
These fields were the site of a radar station in the Second World War. The grass-covered bunker near the path, and others to the east, housed the transmitter, receiver and generator blocks. The site was protected by light anti-aircraft guns to the north and on the cliffs below the coastguard look-out. Today the scrub around the bunker is populated by crickets, grasshoppers and rare cirl buntings. From the bunker roof you can get a good view eastwards of the raised beach and fossilised cliff features formed by the sea level falling during the last Ice Age.
Continue west along the coast path, through a gate, and onto the clifftop of Prawle Point. This headland, the most southerly in Devon, has served on and off as a coastguard station and Lloyds signal station since the 1860s.
Known as Prahuille (a look-out hill) in 1204, Prawle Point was also the site of a medieval chapel. The coastguard station now stands in its place and is manned by National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) volunteers and has a small visitor centre. Thrift, burnet rose, sea mayweed and sea beet grow among the crags, and rare sea storks-bill around the look-out.
Continue along the path as it climbs past cairns (built by walkers) and through the stone walls of ancient fields – these are protected scheduled monuments and are hundreds, if not thousands, of years old. At Signalhouse Point a late 18th-century admiralty semaphore station once stood on the summit, similar to that near Soar. Follow the path as it cuts through the rock and out over Elender Cove, with views to Gammon Head.
Admire these incredible ancient stone walls, which mark timeless boundaries on the fields, running away from the cliffs. Cormorants, razorbills, fulmars and little owls breed on the cliffs, and the grassy slopes are scattered with tormentil, birds foot trefoil and autumn squill.
Keep on the coast path, past a steep detour to Maceley Cove, and go through the gate and onto Gammon Head, taking the path up the incline.
Navelwort, stonecrop, sea spleenwort and butchers broom grow in rock crevices. You’ll also find several rare plants amongst the outcrops including Portland spurge, autumn squill and the parasitic broomrape, feeding off the roots of wild carrot. Look for green hairstreak and dark green fritillary butterflies, linnets, cirl bunting and rock pipits.
Continue along the cliffs to reach Pig's Nose. An unsuccessful iron mine operated here from 1857 to 1860, its cliff-face adit now hidden by gorse. Turn inland at the waymarker, up the path and through a gate. Ignore the next gate and instead turn right and head uphill, with the wall on your left. Pass through a gate into a green lane, and at the next junction of paths go straight ahead to eventually emerge onto the cliffs, alive in summer with orange tip, heath brown and red admiral butterflies, as well as crickets. Ignoring all paths down to the right, keep to the higher path until you reach a lane which leads up to the road. Turn right and back to the car park.
Moor Sands Beach
For a longer walk to Mill Bay, past Moor Sands Beach (site of a possible Bronze Age shipwreck), continue along the cliffs. At Pig's Nose other neolithic artefacts have been found such as chert, flint and quartzite tools, all made from pebbles.
Prawle Point car park, grid ref: SX775354
Prawle Point car park, South Devon. TQ7 2BX. grid ref: SX775354.
Totnes,16 miles (26km); Plymouth, 24 miles (38km)
Regular services, Totnes and Plymouth city centre to Kingsbridge; service, Kingsbridge to Salcombe and Thurlestone; service, Torcross to Dartmouth, Kinsgbridge and Plymouth.
Daily ferry services from Salcombe, across estuary to East Portlemouth (all year) and to South Milton Sands (April-October); also from Kingsbridge to Salcombe (May-September).
South West Coast Path continues on east side of estuary, going from East Portlemouth to Torcross, via Prawle Point.
A379 from Plymouth and A381 from Totnes both meet at Kingsbridge. A381 continues south to Salcombe and A379 heads east to Torcross. Take A379 until Frogmore, then head south following South Pool, then Chivelstone and finally East Prawle.
Dogs are welcome but please keep them on leads and be aware of grazing sheep.
Please note that members park for free at the National Trust car park (please display your membership card on the dashboard image side up). There is a car parking charge of £3 for non-members. To pay, please use PayByPhone by calling 0330 0604037 or use the app with the location code 805688. Signal is poor at Prawle but you should be able to find some signal once you are out walking.
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