Walk 2230 - printer friendly version
Exploring Plymouth Walk
Author - Peter Smyly
Length - 6.5 miles / 10.6 km
Ascent - 450 feet / 136 metres
Grade - easy
Start - OS grid reference SX477538
Lat 50.3643450 + Long -4.1427128
Postcode PL1 2NZ (approx. location only)
Although Plymouth is a city, this roughly circular route explores some of the greener parts of it and includes some scenic coastal views as the walk passes along part of the South West Coastal Path. Where possible, I have tried to select route options that avoid the busiest roads. For a city walk, there is some picturesque scenery as I hope my photos show.
Start at one of Plymouth's best-known locations, The Hoe, with its flags and monuments and the distinctive red and white hoops of the former lighthouse of Smeaton's Tower. Plymouth Hoe is backed by hotels and provides an open space on an area of elevated land looking out to sea, the natural harbour of Plymouth Sound. Walk down to Hoe Road and follow the pavement due east, overlooking the sea below where waves lap against a rocky shoreline. Drake's Island is seen with its barrack-like buildings, now deserted, and sailing boats are likely to be seen. The two headlands either side of the bay frame the view with the fort on Mount Batten Point catching the eye to the left. Inland, the Royal Citadel appears on the left. Follow the route round to the boat departure point for fishing trips and bear right towards the National Marine Aquarium with its eye-catching giant shrimp-like structure. Over a footbridge, pass the aquarium on the left and follow the path round to Lockyer's Quay. Now follow an anti-clockwise circuit of Sutton Harbour with its many yachts providing foreground views out to sea. This is a popular spot for eating and drinking at restaurants and bars in the evening and the area is known as Plymouth Barbican.
Here the suggested route takes a more circuitous route to avoid following the main road of Notte Street. Instead, follow round the marina to take a right turn up Lambhay Hill and back to The Hoe to follow Armada Way due north, which on the map has the appearance of a pillar of green running north-south, crossed from west to east by busy roads. The route passes through Drake's Circus shopping centre. Plymouth University appears on the right and a digression may be made here to see its different buildings and the artificial water feature.
At North Circus, follow the route ahead to pass the railway station on the right. Next there is an unavoidable section of walking next to a busy main road as you pass under the railway bridge towards Pennycomequick. A right turn at the next road and then a first left leads to the big green expanse of Central Park. Set up on a slight hill with a golf course, there are views looking towards the cathedral, the rooftops of houses and the railway station. Leave the park at the roundabout and take the road to the right, Stuart Road. Once past the railway bridge, a left turn past houses brings you to the next park, Victoria Park. Having passed through this park, due south west, another road crossing leads to a third green area with a sports fields and a community centre.
Once past here, cross the road called Stonehouse Bridge and follow along Richmond Walk, a road due south west that runs in parallel to a marina on the left with Mount Wise appearing on the right, one of the higher and better viewpoints in the area. Initially this road may not seem very promising but the views open out and it turns out to be one of the more scenic sections of the route, worth the digression from the main circular route.
From the top of the hill there is an observation tower. Views are far reaching in all directions with the River Tamar and Plymouth Sound clearly seen along with other Plymouth landmarks. Returning down Richmond Walk, turn right at the main road at Stonehouse Bridge. A right turn at the roundabout leads to Barrack Place and then a left turn leads to Millbay Road, which goes up a hill and offers some fine views out to sea. A return trip to the start point at The Hoe can be made either by a direct approach along Citadel Road or a longer but more scenic route by way of Cliff Road.