We have such excellent walking available in Britain that the choice can be overwhelming. Today, we are going to enjoy part of the longest National Path, the South West coastal path. It runs 630 miles from Minehead to Poole Harbour, circumnavigating Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and Dorset. The route was created by coastguards who needed ready and regular access to all coastal inlets to search for lurking smugglers.
Needless to say, we are not walking all 630 miles. We will do a scenic stretch between Maidencombe and Babbacombe in South Devon, a walk of just under 4 miles and with a handy bus stop at each end.
The Hop22 bus runs regularly along the Teignmouth to Paignton road and we will start this walk from the Maidencombe bus stop. From here, just follow the signs down to the coastal path – either down Steep Lane, or across the neighbouring field. The view from here will show you what a good idea this walk is.
Our route takes us past The Thatched Tavern pub (a beautiful spot if you are in need of refreshment before setting off) and then just a short stroll to join the actual path.
This section is a fairly strenuous walk as the rugged coast ensures that the path goes up and down, up and down…
The route is well marked and steeper sections have steps and sometimes handrails. The compensation for the expended energy is views of a stunning red coastline, and pleasant detours around fields and through woods.
In summer, with the dense greenery in wooded areas, the sea is sometimes hidden from view, but every now and then you’ll catch a temping peek of the target beach at Babbacombe.
Not far from our destination, we skirt the coastal side of Torquay Golf Course and then descend to Oddicombe beach and the cliff railway.
From here, we make a brief climb alongside the funicular track, turning across it, and then speeding along our final stretch of walk, now at a low level, to Babbacombe Beach.
Feel free to rest here for a while, absorbing the beauty and gathering energy for a steep walk up the street, to the main road and the Hop22 bus stop.
Copyright Debbie Smyth, 9 August 2016
Part of Monday Walks