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Walk 3431 - printer friendly version

Beeson to Salcombe Walk

Author - Andy Smith & Tony Maries

Length - 12.0 miles / 19.5 km

Ascent - 3300 feet / 1000 metres

Grade - mod/hard

Start - OS grid reference SX811408
Lat 50.255186 + Long -3.6692482
Postcode TQ7 2HW (approx. location only)

South Devon offers some of the finest coastline on mainland Britain, ranging from golden sandy beaches to dramatic rocky cliffs plunging into the sea. Although this route is spread over two days, the going is relatively easy as this section of the South West Coast Path is well walked and the way ahead clear. The walk takes in the lovely seaside resort of Salcombe as the half waypoint, with its stunning cliff top approach from the east.

Day One - The walk starts from the small village of Beeson (Grid ref. SX811408), just south of Slapton Sands where there are a few street parking options. Walk out of the village on the tiny road leading down to Beesands beach; here pick up the South West Coast Path just above the beach heading southbound. Within the first half hour you reach the ruined village of Hallsands. On a dark January night in 1917 a hard storm took place and the beach in front quite literally disappeared into the sea, taking most of the homes in this tragic event. Even to this date it is not known whether dredging the shoreline was to blame, or simply speeded up the inevitable.

From there continue along the coast around Start Point, a short extension to the lighthouse is well worthwhile (grid ref. SX829371). After turning the corner, the coastline becomes a lot more dramatic with a strong history of many shipwrecks in this area; care should be exercised on this section at all times.

Passing the coastguard lookout at Prawle Point, make sure to notice the natural arch carved out the cliffs, not as spectacular as Durdle Door in nearby Dorset but still a sight worth looking out for. Continue along the Coast Path to pass Gammon Head and onto Gara Rock. From here the going is good and you can set a great pace reaching out for the town of Salcombe. The high-level cliff top entry into the estuary is quite stunning and somewhat tropical as you stare though the ferns down onto the golden sands 100 feet below packed with holidaymakers. The path winds inland into the east side of the town where the next objective lies - the ferry. This tiny 10-man boat is quite an experience as the sea can be somewhat choppy! Remember to bring some change for this, around £ 1.80 to cross.

Once across the estuary, there are many possibilities for accommodation including a choice of four campsites, the nearest and probably best kitted is Rew 1.5km to the west (Grid ref. SX714382).

Continue to Day Two Description

Walk 3431 Route Map

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