Dartmouth Castle from Little Dartmouth.

Start. Little Dartmouth.

Route. Little Dartmouth - Castle Road - Dartmouth Castle - Sugary Cove - Compass Cove - Combe Point - Warren Point - Little Dartmouth.

Notes. Come visit Dartmouth Castle with us, an artillery fort built in 1388 to protect the Dart Estuary and the vibrant port of Dartmouth from a French invasion. We could have driven there from Dartmouth or catch the ferry, an attractive alternative, but opted to walk in along ancient rights of way making our return along the spectacular South West Coastal Path.

The small National Trust car park at Little Dartmouth marked our starting point, after leaving the car park we turned right onto Castle Road, the tarmac surface soon gave way to a stoney track, passed farm buildings we wandered before striding into spectacular vistas. After passing through a field gate we stepped onto tarmac, a steep descent followed through woodland terminating on the coast at the ancient stonework of Dartmouth Castle. Spectacular views over the entrance to the River Dart welcomed us as did a small cafe serving cream teas, we indulged before continuing.

This area has a long military history. In 1145 long before the castle was built boats sailed from Castle Cove carrying knights bound for the second crusade. Across the river mouth stands 16th century Kingswear Castle, in times of invasion a chain would be stretched across the river stopping enemy shipping from entering the river, if any happened to slip through Dartmouth's dedicated gun batteries could easily dispatch them.

Brief history lesson over we headed back along the coastal path, passed Sugary Cove and it's sandy beach. Through coastal woodland above Ladies Cove then round Blackstone Point we wandered, we skirted Compass Cove before ascending to the cliff top. Cliff top paths ushered us above Willow Cove and Shinglehill Cove before depositing us at Combe Point. Here at Combe Point the rock architecture is quite spectacular, we even had the honour of watching seals in the blue water of Shinglehill Cove far below our feet.

Inner Combe and Outer Comb Rocks drew the camera lens, as did Dancing Beggars and lots of jagged coastal features. Once we'd had our fill with rain sweeping in from the south we made the short walk back inland.

view route map.


Wandering between the hedge rows of Castle Road, looking to the Day Mark.

Viewing Inner Forward Point across the mouth of the Dart Estuary, with Mew Stone rising just of the point.

Kingswear Castle on the east bank of the Dart Estuary, built between 1491 and 1502 to protect the harbour against a threat of French attack.

Taken from a small cove under the cliffs supporting Dartmouth Castle, views to the wooded cliffs of The Warren with Inner Forward Point a paler green to the right.

Dartmouth Castle with views across the mouth of the River Dart.

Over the past 600 years various embellishments have been added to the castle, here we have what was once Dartmouth Point Battery, the first purpose-built artillery fort in Britain.

St Petrox Church at the mouth of the river is the oldest of three parish churches, the earliest reference being in 1192,  when it is thought to have been referred to in a deed as the 'monastery of St Peter'. Believed to have provided a light at the harbour entrance, as well as being for the use of residents in South Town between Bayards Cove and the harbour mouth.

We left the castle via the coastal path through woodland rising from Deadmans Cove and Ladies Cove.

Near Blackstone Point looking to Kingswear Castle across the Dart Estuary.

Along the ragged edge where land meets sea, Ladies Cove, Deadmans Cove and just visible Dartmouth Castle seen from Blackstone Point.

Approaching Compass Cove with views to cliffs of Combe Point.

Looking back along the stretch of coast we've just had the pleasure to walk.

A moody view from Western Combe Point, stunning scenery with Start Point melting into the horizon.

Inner Combe and Outer Combe Rocks seen from Warren Point.

Guarding the entrance to the Dart Estuary, capturing the late afternoon sun, Shooter Rock with Shag Stone just visible shadowed by the much larger Mew Stone.

Above Warren Point looking to Stoke Fleming.

Ascending to Little Dartmouth with a final look back to Inner Forward Point and the Mew Stone.

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