Date : 21 June 2019 to 24 June 2019
Time : 18:00 to 14:00
Location : Torbay Hotel, Torquay
Torbay and Dartmouth Walking Weekend
June 21-24, 4 days and 3 nights.
Following our successful Devon weekend in Lynton last year, we’ve decided to do it all over again - but in a different location. This time we’re off to Torbay and Dartmouth in Devon for a long weekend of top-notch walking - once again on the fantastic South West Coast Path. The Torbay area (which comprises Torquay, Paignton and Brixham) is known as the English Riviera, and it has something of a Mediterranean feel to it with its exotic palm trees and balmy climate.
We’ll be staying in the centre of the lively, vibrant resort of Torquay at the Shearings Torbay Hotel. The Victorian resort is famous for its sandy beaches and many attractions as well as its shopping, restaurants and popular nightlife.
However, probably of more interest to us is that it is close to some pretty spectacular coastal walking - and we will be exploring the area thoroughly on this weekend. We will have three Moderate grade led walks from the nearby historic ports of Dartmouth, Kingswear and Brixham.
The cost of the break is £114 per person for a standard room and half-board (no single rooms left). That’s for three nights and four days - so a bit of a bargain. There are also some front-facing and Standard Plus rooms for a supplement of £21 per person. There is also an additional £10 fee for the coach which will take us to the walk start points. Limited secure car parking is available close by for £6 per day - we recommend you take up this offer. You may otherwise find it difficult to park close to the hotel in Torquay.
Note: The hotel has an unheated swimming pool.
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The led walks plan at the moment is detailed below. This is not final and it could change, especially if the weather turns out to be inclement.
Walk 1 Kingswear, Froward Point, Scabbacombe Sands and Brixham Linear Walk
Saturday June 22
Moderate 9 miles
Start: Torbay Hotel 09.00 (coach). Finish: Brixham 16.30 then bus to Torquay (every 15 minutes).
This walk explores a spectacular, beautiful and wild piece of coastline between Kingswear and Brixham - it certainly feels a million miles away from the bustle of Torquay. We follow the South West Coast Path to Kingswear castle then descend to Mill Bay Cove before climbing through pine woodland to Froward Point from where there are impressive views. Here there is also the National Trust-owned remains of a World War Two gun emplacement built to protect Dartmouth from German attack.
We then continue along a classic rollercoaster coastal path to Brixham, passing Scabbacombe Sands and Man Sands (swimming opportunities), as well as the tropical gardens of the National Trust property at Coleton Fishacre and Pudcombe Cove.
Walk 2 Strete to Dartmouth Linear Walk
Sunday June 23
Moderate 8 miles
Start: 09.30 from the Torbay Hotel (Coach to Strete).
Finish at 15.30 (leaving time to explore Dartmouth after). Ferry to Kingswear at 16.30. Coach leaves Kingswear at 17.00.
From Strete we will walk to Dartmouth along the South West Coast Path, initially across high pasture, with extensive views over Slapton Sands to the south.
The path then descends through woodland to idyllic Blackpool Sands (a little different to the namesake Lancashire beach and resort) where there will be a swimming opportunity and a beach café stop.
We then continue inland through Stoke Fleming and then return to the coast - which is now our constant companion - and through more woodland to the 15th Century Dartmouth Castle. There will be another welcome café stop here, and the views across the Dart estuary to Kingswear castle are simply gorgeous.
Finally, we walk back to Dartmouth to explore this fascinating town and to catch the ferry to Kingswear where our return coach will be waiting.
Walk 3 Brixham, Sharkham Point, St. Mary's Bay and Berry Head Circular Walk
Monday June 24.
Moderate 5 miles.
Start: Outside Breakwater Bistro, Brixham at 10.30. Finish 14.00.
This is a walk full of historic and natural interest.
We start in Brixham and walk along the harbour then through the town and up to Sharkham Point with its spectacular views down the coast towards Scabbacombe.
The walk then takes us around gorgeous St. Mary's Bay with its red sandstone cliffs and on to Berry Head Country Park, which is a nature reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The area is said to have over 500 species of plant, including many rare species, and also has the largest guillemot colony on the South Coast (also known as the Brixham penguin).
The Park also features an unusual lighthouse and a Napoleanic fort, built to defend against French invasion. There are extensive views from Berry Head over Start Bay and Tor Bay.
We then descend back into Brixham, a working fishing port that still has the atmosphere of a traditional fishing village with its narrow streets and colourful houses.
We will complete our weekend with an optional lunch at the Breakwater Bistro, a popular beach cafe with a local seafood menu and impressive sea views.