two rivers walk


thursday, 8th august 2019

The weather forecast for today looks to be hot and sunny with light winds. Hooray! It has been blowing a gale the previous few days.

Clevedon high tide 13:19

Clevedon low tide 07:08, 19:29

weather forecast.jpg
tide times.jpg

A new walk has opened up recently on my local patch, taking in the Land Yeo and Blind Yeo rivers and is the walk I’m doing today. You can find more details about the walk at the Land Yeo Friends website.

Coincidently, the proposals have just been released for the opening up of the North Somerset coast from Aust to Brean Down as part of the opening up of the entire England Coast Path. Hopefully, these will come to fruition relatively quickly and give me much more options for walking locally.

I head the short distance from our house through back streets to join the bank of the Blind Yeo close to the M5 motorway.

blind yeo

I amble along next to the river and, although it’s warm, there are signs that autumn is just around the corner with blackberries, hawthorn and rowan berries ripening nicely. It must be time to bake a blackberry and apple bakewell tart. Yum!!

Just before I cross Kenn Road I come across my first two rivers walk marker.

marker 1

I continue ambling along the bank of the Blind Yeo where starlings are out in some numbers and the yellow water-lilies are flowering.

yellow water-lilies

Just before I reach Lower Strode Road the ducks and black headed gulls usually congregate at this time of year and they recognize me straight away and start flocking towards me so I whip out an old loaf of bread and start feeding them.

marker 2

Feeding time is over so I cross Lower Strode Road and continue along the river. The grass is left to grow long here and is a perfect spot for butterflies. I come across painted ladies, although not in the millions promised in the news, common blues, small whites, gatekeepers, speckled woods, red admirals and brown argus butterflies.

I amble along the river bank enjoying all of the wild flowers.

I come across a grey heron who used to be very flighty but is becoming more tolerant of me now.

grey heron

marker 3

I reach the Blind Yeo Outfall at Clevedon Pill and enjoy the views out to sea.

blind yeo outfall

view out to sea

I turn right and walk along the top of the embankment with fine views out to sea where I pass oceans of ragwort and the memorial benches for Martyn Uzzell and Violet and Seymour Palmer. I pass these benches pretty much everyday except Christmas Day.

oceans of ragwort

martyn uzzell

violet and seymour palmer

marker 4

I reach the Land Yeo Outfall where I have lovely views over to Flat Holm, Steep Holm and the Welsh coast.

land yeo outfall

I retrace my steps slightly, turn into Marshalls Field and follow the bank of the Land Yeo on my left.

land yeo

marker 5

land yeo

I cross Southern Way where I come across a marker on a post in the middle of the traffic island.

marker 6

I continue along the river bank until I reach Strode Road. I turn left over the bridge at Strode Road and cross to the other side of the road and continue along the footpath, turning right immediately after number 70 Strode Road.

I follow the path over the footbridge and into a playing field where I follow the Land Yeo until the path runs out.

land yeo

marker 7

marker 8

I leave the river behind and continue on the footpath along Coleridge Vale Road North. Before reaching Old Church Road I turn right into Coleridge Vale Road East, and then follow a footpath next to the Lidl supermarket.

I turn left and rejoin the river briefly behind Teatro Lounge and the Curzon Cinema.

land yeo behind teatro lounge

I cross Great Western Road via the crossing and continue through the B&M Bargain store car park where the river flows below me in a culvert.

I’ve now reached Queens Square which is rather busy as it’s market day.

marker 9

I amble across the square before crossing Kenn Road again at a crossing and turn left onto a path between the Land Yeo river and the Conservative Club where a sign tells me about the Weston, Clevedon and Portishead Railway.

weston, clevedon and portishead railway

land yeo next to the conservative club

I follow the path across Parnell Road and along Teignmouth Road where I pass Clevedon DIY.

marker 10

marker 11

I turn left into Somerset Road and before the bridge over the river I turn right to rejoin the Land Yeo river.

marker 12

land yeo

I follow the river bank passing a moorhen with three fluffy chicks to reach Kingston Avenue and then turn right.

After a short distance I turn left onto the footpath running between numbers 25 and 27 Kingston Avenue.

marker 13

I continue along Sumerlin Drive to reach the rather busy Northern Way.

marker 14

I cross the road using the traffic island to my right and then turn left and follow the grass verge to rejoin the river.

marker 15

marker 16

I follow the river bank with the Land Yeo on my left, passing clumps of sea bindweed, until I reach Court Lane.

land yeo

sea bindweed

marker 17

I turn right onto a grass verge and climb over the bridge over the M5.

m5 motorway

m5 motorway

After the bridge I turn left onto a footpath which zig zags down the embankment.

marker 18

marker 19

I pass through a gate into a field full of friendly horses.

I bear left towards a gate near the river bank in the far corner where I negotiate an odd arrangement of an electric fence protected by plastic piping. In all my time walking I’ve never seen this type of arrangement before.

electric fence

marker 20

I rejoin the Land Yeo river and turn right at the Yearling Ditch. I follow the Yearling Ditch on my left for a mile, passing Cooks Clyse.

marker 21

yearling ditch

I cross Cooks Lane and go through several gates until I rejoin the Blind Yeo.

marker 22

marker 23

marker 23

marker 24

marker 25

marker 26

swans on the blind yeo

I turn right and with the Blind Yeo on my left continue along the bank. There are butterflies fluttering around everywhere, including painted ladies, small whites and gatekeepers.

marker 27

I reach Manmoor Lane and go through a gate and cross the river over a bridge before continuing along the river bank with the Blind Yeo now on my right.

marker 28

I come across a herd of cows cooling off in the river.

cows in the river

As I approach the M5 motorway I climb up the bank of the river and head towards a group of conifers where a gate leads me out onto Davis Lane.

marker 29

I come across a farmer who is having trouble with his herd of cows. He’s trying to divert them into a field but they are not playing ball!

I turn right and follow a grass verge and footpath over the bridge over the top of the motorway.

m5 motorway

I turn right down another zig zag path down the embankment and cross the Blind Yeo again on a footbridge next to the motorway

marker 30

blind yeo

I turn left and follow the river bank with the Blind Yeo on my left to reach the point where I started the walk earlier on this morning.

marker 31

It has been a thoroughly pleasant walk today in rather nice weather. I’ll return to this walk again in the autumn, winter and spring to see how they compare.


Flora and fauna encountered on the walk today includes :-

  • blackberries

  • rowan

  • hawthorn

  • water lilies

  • buddleia

  • roses

  • hydrangea

  • starlings

  • ducks

  • black headed gulls

  • painted lady butterflies

  • common blue butterflies

  • small white butterflies

  • gatekeeper butterflies

  • speckled wood butterflies

  • red admiral butterflies

  • brown argus butterflies

  • grey heron

  • bistort

  • moorhens

  • ragwort

  • sea bindweed

  • horses

  • sheep

  • cows

  • swans

podcast logo small.png


The podcast of today's walk is now available. You can subscribe via the iTunes store or listen using the player below.

9 out of 10.png


According to my phone I've walked 7.3 miles today which amounts to 14850 steps. Walking in and around Clevedon is a bit limited as we are bounded by the sea, the motorway and boggy moorland so it has been an unexpected surprise to have an extra bit of variety. Nine out of ten!



brown argus

painted lady



minehead to porlock weir


sunday, 9th june 2019

The weather forecast for the week looks utterly filthy but I might just get a decent break in the bad weather today to complete the walk from Minehead to Porlock Weir. It’s not going to be a very warm day but there shouldn’t be much wind and I might just about be able to avoid any rain.

Minehead high tide 11:45

Minehead low tide 17:32

weather forecast 3.jpg
weather forecast 4.jpg
tide times 2.jpg

After a long drive over Exmoor, I start the day at the very start of the South West Coast Path (it could well be the very end of the South West Coast Path if you are walking it in the wrong direction) next to the map sculpture in Minehead.


The sculpture consists of a giant pair of hands holding a map, designed by local art student Sarah Ward and built out of bronze by Owen Cunningham and was installed in February 2001.

map sculpture

In a contest for A-level students, Sarah came up with the idea for a 12ft sculpture in galvanised steel. The sculptor Owen Cunningham, from Belper, Derbyshire, was commissioned to make it by the South West Coast Path Team, part of the Government's Countryside Agency. The sculpture cost £19,000 and Sarah won £100 (woo hoo!), which she put towards a gap-year trip to study a conservation project in Australia.

I leave the sculpture and amble along the promenade where I pass a Christmas tree dumped in a flower bed. It must have been there at least five months and no-one seems to have bothered to have removed it.

christmas tree

At the end of the promenade I pass the teeny harbour.

minehead harbour

I cotinue walking below a wooded slope before heading inland slightly to reach Greenaleigh Farm. Here I turn sharply back on myself to the left to climb steeply up through the wooded slope.

I then turn sharply to my right and continue climbing less steeply through woods before leaving the woodland behind to be replaced by gorse, bracken, foxglove and rhododendron coved slopes. The remains of Burgundy Chapel are somewhere just below me.

Burgundy Chapel was a medieval chapel formerly belonging to the Luttrell family of Dunster Castle. Little is known of the chapel's origins, but it has been suggested that it was built in thanksgiving for a Luttrell's safe return from the Burgundian Wars in the 15th century.

I begin to hear a cuckoo calling and hear it intermittently after this for quite some time so maybe there’s more than one about.

I continue climbing up the slopes to reach a bench, signpost and car park at North Hill where I have magnificent, if rather murky, views over the Bristol Channel to South Wales and over Steep Holm and Flat Holm.

bench with a view

I follow the signpost and turn right to Selworthy and Bossington (four miles away). I follow a stony path flanked by gorse and ignore a disintegrating sign marked ‘Rugged Coast Path’.

rugged coast path

I pass a group of Exmoor ponies - at least I assume they are Exmoor ponies since I’m on Exmoor - who aren’t bothered about my presence and just continue munching the scrub.

exmoor ponies

I enter the Holnicote Estate and pass a field bounded by a stone wall covered in foxgloves and full of some of the worst shorn sheep I’ve ever seen.



I go through a series of gates and climb steadily up on to Selworthy Beacon at 950 feet (290 metres). The summit of Selworthy Beacon is just to my left at 1013 feet (308 metres) so I climb up to the trig point (s3944) and cairn marking the summit where I have magnificent views across Porlock Bay.

selworthy beacon trig point

the (murky) view from selworthy beacon

cairn on selworthy beacon

It must be a pretty windy place usually up on Selworthy Beacon but I hardly have a breath of wind today.

I retrace my steps back to the coast path and turn right to start descending. I take a right hand fork marked for Bossington (2 miles) until I reach the point where the alternative ‘Rugged Coast Path’ rejoins the main path.

rugged coast path

I drop steeply through a valley at Hurlstone Combe, full of kids who don’t look too happy to be outdoors, to reach the coast again at Hurlstone Point where I have magnificent views over the shingle embankment at Porlock Ridge.

hurlstone combe

The ridge was created 8000 years ago but was breached by a violent storm in October 1996, creating a tidal saltmarsh.

view over porlock ridge

I follow the path which passes through a small wooded patch and head towards the River Horner which I cross using a footbridge and head into the rather pretty village of Bossington, mostly owned by the National Trust.


I head out of the village along a road to the right marked for Bossington Beach. The sparrows are chirping away from their vantage point in the guttering of lots of the cottages here. I walk down towards the beach. Although it’s possible to walk along the pebbly beach at low tide I turn inland left along a path and through fields full of acrobatic swallows.

I pass a memorial to the eleven people who lost their lives when an American aircraft crashed into the marsh at Porlock on the 29th of October 1942 while out on a U-boat patrol mission.


I pass a stone barn and a load of dead trees before turning right along a path which leads me out onto the western end of Porlock Ridge and I crunch slowly along the pebbles.

dead trees

porlock ridge

I briefly amble along the road into Porlock Weir where I pass the Ship Inn before walking through the car park to the tiny harbour, built in 1422, where I end my walk.

porlock weir harbour

I have now walked the South West Coast Path in its entirety three times and the podcast produced for this walk will mean that I think I’ve managed to record a podcast for every section of the coast path.

As we leave Porlock Weir in the car it begins to rain and that is followed by torrential rain as we drive over Exmoor. I seem to have finished my walk just in time!


Flora and fauna encountered on the walk today includes :-

  • housemartins

  • swallows

  • echiums

  • day lillies

  • salvia

  • fuchias

  • goldfinches

  • rape

  • comfrey

  • green alkanet

  • chiffchaffs

  • herb robert

  • foxgloves

  • rhododendrons

  • squirrels

  • cuckoos

  • deer

  • skylarks

  • exmoor ponies

  • navelwort

  • sheep

  • pheasants

  • sparrows

  • poppies

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The podcast of today's walk is now available. You can subscribe via the iTunes store or listen using the player below.

9 out of 10.png


According to my phone I've walked 10.9 miles today which amounts to 23526 steps. Despite an ominous looking forecast for the week I’ve managed to stay dry today and the walking has been lovely. Nine out of ten!

My Ordnance Survey app has failed me today so I don’t know what my total ascent is. My other tracking app has produced this elevation chart which looks about right. Selworthy Beacon is showing as 1018 feet rather than the 1013 feet it should be but I was stood on top of the cairn at some point which may have added an extra 5 feet!


map sculpture

exmoor ponies


selworthy beacon

porlock ridge

herons rest to dittisham via kingswear and dartmouth

dart valley trail

saturday, 4th may 2019

thursday, 9th may 2019

When I attempted this walk on Saturday I kept running out of Dart Valley Trail signs and so kept getting lost and ended up walking miles out of my way. I attempted the walk again on Thursday and made my way all around without getting lost this time. This account is an amalgamation of both walks but based on not going wrong.

The weather forecast looks pretty good today with sunshine all day long but I don’t like the look of those northerly winds which should make for a pretty chilly day.

Greenway Quay high tide 07:10

Greenway Quay low tide 12:58

weather forecast 2.jpg
tide times 2.jpg

I start the day at our holiday cottage, Herons Rest, set high above the River Dart and Dartmouth. I leave the cottage and head along the road before heading along a track beside some cottages.

the view from herons rest

I walk alongside a field of wheat before climbing a stile which takes me into Long Wood which is largely owned by the National Trust. The wildflowers in the hedgerows are looking at their finest.

Near to the start of Long Wood I come across a patch of dreaded Japanese knotweed. It’s only a small patch but I wonder how long it will take to spread.

long wood

japanese knotweed

I amble down through the wood enjoying the masses of bluebells and other wildflowers and I have fleeting views of the River Dart and its creeks.

view over the river dart

I leave the wood and briefly join the road down to Noss. Phillip and Son Shipyard used to be located here until 1999 and is now the home to Noss Marina. Swallows are flying all around the marina.

noss marina

The shipyard was attacked by German bombers on the 18th of September 1942, killing 20 men and women who were building military vessels to assist in the war effort. There should be a memorial stone here in honour of the people who lost their lives during the bombing but I failed to find it.


Frederick Clarence Adams, aged 22
John Richard Ash, aged 21
David Bott, aged 29
Jack George Charles Bustin, aged 52
Rosie Annie Crang, aged 20
Thomas Farr, aged 58
Richard Franklin, aged 26
Lionel Edgar Holden, aged 44
Walter Lewis, aged 40
George Herbert Frank Little, aged 17
Henry James Luckhurst, aged 70
John Martin, aged 48
Ernest Poole, aged 51
Sydney James Alfred Pope, aged 17
Hubert Ernest William Putt, aged 37
Ewart Edgar Trant, aged 27
Nella Eileen Trebilcock, aged 28
Samuel James Veale, aged 21
Frederick Thomas Skinner Vickery, aged 28
Hazel Joan Weaver, aged 20

I retrace my steps and cross a road and pass Coombe Cottage before continuing along the path towards Kingswear. I come across a patch of early purple orchids.

A sign warns me about killer pine cones! I joke but the cones are monsters and could do some serious damage if one lands on your head.

killer pine cones

killer pine cones

I now have magnificent views over Dartmouth.

view over dartmouth

view over dartmouth

I drop down to the road that takes me to Dartmouth Higher Ferry.

dartmouth higher ferry

I join the railway track of the Paington to Kingswear Railway and follow the railway track in to Kingswear. As I reach Kingswear I have a lovely view of the steam train pulling into the station.

I follow the footpath over a footbridge above the railway line and into Kingswear where I pass the Steam Packet Inn, the Ship Inn and the railway station.

steam packet inn

ship inn

railway station

Here I take the Dartmouth Lower Ferry over to Dartmouth. It costs me the princely sum of £1.50.

dartmouth lower ferry

ferry ticket

The crossing offers lovely views of Dartmouth, Kingswear, Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth Castle and the open sea.

I alight the ferry below Bayards Cove Fort, a Tudor fort built between 1522 and 1536.

I can’t find any Dart Valley Trail signs so I’m going to have to make up the route through Dartmouth. I walk along the Embankment passing many canons and also the, now closed, Cottage Hospital and Dart Marina and Dart Marina Hotel and Spa.


I walk through Royal Avenue Gardens, enjoying all of the varied flowerbeds.

I pass Dartmouth Visitor Centre and head behind the health centre where I find a set of stone steps, Cox’s Steps, heading upwards. This takes me to Clarence Hill which climbs steeply up to Tounstal Hill and then to Church Road where I pass St Clement’s Church, clad in scaffolding and plastic.

st clement’s church

I can see where I went wrong on Saturday now. There’s a Dart Valley Trail sign on a lamppost on this side of the road but I’d already crossed the road so I completely missed it and there isn’t a corresponding sign on the other side of the road.

I cross the busy A379 near to the entrance to Britannia Royal Naval College and walk down Old Mill Lane behind the college.

britannia royal naval college

I reach the end of the road and come across more signs pointing across Tounsal Crescent. I cross the road and find some steps next to Archway Cottage which takes me down to the next part of Old Mill Lane. I amble along this lane for quite some time until it takes me to Old Mill Creek.

old mill creek

At Old Mill Creek I cross over a bridge and turn right and follow a road which becomes unmetaled Lapthorne Lane where I pass Distin’s Boatyard and Creekside Boatyard, which looks like it might be up for sale.

old mill creek

I come across a signpost, next to a Raleigh Estate information board, which shows me that the Dart Valley Trail takes two different routes. On Saturday I took the shorter route but Thursday I take the longer route to my right.

raleigh estate information board


I amble through a woodland area which turns into a pine forest, passing, what my notes tell me is a lake on my right, but I’m sure it must be just part of the creek.

pine forest

not a lake

The woodland alternates between broadleaf and pine and the edges of the path are covered in mint for some reason. There are wildflowers everywhere, including some foxgloves not quite in flower yet and some wild strawberries.

I leave the forest and cross a steeply sloping field where I have lovely views back over the River Dart.

view over the river dart

I climb up a path next to fields. I hear the steam train chugging back to Paignton and I have lovely views over to Noss Marina on the other side of the river.

view over to noss marina

It’s a long climb upwards before I reach Green Lane, although it’s not marked on my Ordnance Survey map, which is covered in stinky wild garlic.

green lane

I turn right into fields and cross a field with no discernible path through it but the Dart Valley Trail sign is pointing right across the field. I follow a deeply rutted track which is full of yesterday’s rain until I join the road at Fire Beacon Hill. It must be a stinky old path after some proper rain.

I briefly follow the road before climbing over a stile and along a track and I’m now on the outskirts of Dittisham, where I climb down Rectory Lane. I detour left to visit the church as the photo I took of the church on Sunday was overblown.

I retrace my steps and amble steeply down through Dittisham.

At the bottom of the road I reach the gaudy, pink Ferry Boat Inn and Anchorstone Cafe on the banks of the River Dart.

ferry boat inn

anchorstone cafe

Here I catch the Greenway and Dittisham ferry which takes me over the river to Greenway. The ferry fare is £2.

river dart at dittisham

greenway and dittisham ferry

I head up the road briefly and then head through a side entrance to the Greenway Estate, once the holiday home of Agatha Christie.

One day we saw that a house was up for sale that I had known when I was young... So we went over to Greenway, and very beautiful the house and grounds were. A white Georgian house of about 1780 or 90, with woods sweeping down to the Dart below, and a lot of fine shrubs and trees - the ideal house, a dream house.
— Agatha Christie

I spend a bit of time enjoying the edge of the gardens of Greenway Estate before heading for home.

I pass through a field on the outskirts of the estate before I enter a field where I have magnificent views high over the River Dart towards Dartmouth.

I follow a road past the Maypool Youth Hostel and from here it is a short walk back to Herons Rest.


Flora and fauna encountered on the walk today includes :-

  • skylarks

  • buzzards

  • honesty

  • red campion

  • bluebells

  • greater stitchwort

  • japanese knotweed

  • herb robert

  • celandines

  • wrens

  • whitethroats

  • chiffchaffs

  • navalwort

  • bugle

  • garlic mustard

  • gorse

  • lords and ladies

  • common dog-violet

  • oaks

  • holly

  • pheasants

  • swallows

  • wild garlic

  • early purple orchids

  • common bird’s-foot trefoil

  • orange tip butterflies

  • green alkanet

  • mint

  • foxgloves not quite in flower

  • buddleia

  • wild strawberries

podcast logo small.png


The podcast of today's walk is now available. You can subscribe via the iTunes store or listen using the player below.

10 out of 10.png


According to my phone I've walked 12.6 miles today which amounts to 25494 steps (on Saturday I managed to walk 14.2 miles with 29679 steps). It has been magnificent walking today in what turned out to be not too bad weather. The walk had ferries and trains and helicopters. Ten out of ten!

The total ascent today has been 997 feet or 303 metres.


noss marina

early purple orchid


steam train

ferry boat inn

herons rest to broadsands, brixham and back again

john musgrave heritage trail, dart valley trail, greenway walk and south west coast path

monday, 6th may 2019

The weather forecast looks pretty good. It should be sunny most of the day but it’s not going to be particularly warm again.

Dartmouth high tide 08:04

Dartmouth low tide 13:45

weather forecast 2.jpg
tide times 2.jpg

I start the day at our holiday cottage, Herons Rest, set high above the River Dart and Dartmouth. I leave the cottage and head left along the road where I pass Maypool Youth Hostel.

the view from herons rest

The wildflowers in the hedgerows are looking at their very best.

I enter a field where I have magnificent views over the River Dart before entering the grounds of Greenway House.

view over the river dart


I come across a signpost for the Greenway Walk and head off in the direction it is pointed.

I follow a footpath through fields and next to farm buildings to reach Lower Greenway where I come across a lime kiln on the beach next to the river.

lime kiln

The lime kiln on the beach is one of several scattered on the estuary foreshore, and limestone from the quarry across the creek was burnt here to produce a soil fertiliser. The area from Berry Head sits on a thick bed of Devonian limestone, once marine reefs, and Galmpton was an important centre for quarrying the stone on the River Dart. It was also used as a ballast in the early ships sailing from here to Newfoundland, and Galmpton Creek limestone has been found in some of the earliest buildings in the New World. It also appears in French and Spanish harbours, for the same reason.

My notes tell me I can cross the beach here. What my notes don’t tell me is that the beach is swallowed up at high tide and the path is impassable. It happens to be just about high tide and I won’t be crossing the beach for a few hours.

high tide

I retrace my steps back up to a minor road and follow this for a while towards Galmpton. A bit unexpectedly I come across Greenway Halt just below the road. Next to the entrance to Greenway Halt a sign points through fields telling me that there is a permissive path to Galmpton.

I follow the sign into a field and climb down to cross a stream. I continue following paths which take me to Galmpton Creek.

galmpton creek

Galmpton Creek has been a boatbuilding centre for centuries, and in its heyday over 300 sailing trawlers were built here, as well as wooden motor torpedo boats during World War II. It is still a bustling marine repair centre, but its use nowadays is mostly for pleasure craft.

I pass Dartside Quay where I join Kiln Lane. I follow the lane which passes another lime kiln before joining onto Stoke Gabriel Road which takes me through Galmpton.

another lime kiln

Next to the turning into Slade Lane can be found the Manor Inn.

manor inn

I turn left into Slade Lane and follow the road up to Galmpton Warborough Common.

galmpton warborough common

It is a pleasant surprise to find early purple orchids covering the football pitch here. It doesn’t look like football is played very often here!

I pass the war memorial next to the A3022.

war memorial

I cross the busy road and then follow a footpath which takes me underneath the arches of Hookhills Viaduct, below the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway line.

railway arches

The viaduct was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Construction commenced in 1860, after Brunel’s death, and was opened to the railway in 1864. The viaduct has nine arches and is 85 feet tall and 116 yards long.

I follow the road which takes me down to the large, curving red sandy beach at Broadsands. I amble out along the beach before retracing my steps, admiring the colourful beach huts and the newly restored Broadsands Bistro.

I leave Broadsands and amble along the South West Coast Path around Churston Point to reach the shingly Elberry Cove.

elberry cove

I amble along the beach and then head along the coast path besides Churston Golf Club before passing Fishcombe Point to reach Churston Cove, where I now have views towards Brixham Harbour.

churston cove

I cross the shingly and rocky beach and climb up onto the coast path and continue towards Brixham, dropping steeply down to Fishcombe Cove.

fishcombe cove

I climb steeply out again and head through Battery Gardens where the remains of 378 Battery Artillery Southern Command can be found. I head along Oxen Cove next to what was once AstraZeneca's Brixham Environmental Laboratory but which was donated to Plymouth University in 2013.

oxen cove

I pass through the car park where a new shellfish landing jetty is being constructed to improve Brixham’s fishing infrastructure. It should be open in Summer 2019. I then pass Brixham Fish Market to reach the centre of Brixham.


I amble along the harbour and pass the full sized replica of the Golden Hind in which Sir Francis Drake circumnavigated the globe.


I retrace my steps back through Brixham and head back towards Fishcombe Cove where I pick up the John Musgrave Heritage Trail.

The John Musgrave Heritage Trail is a 35 mile walking trail encompassing parts of Torbay, South Hams and Teignbridge. It was launched in March 2006 in memory of John Musgrave, a former chairman of the South Devon Group of the Ramblers, whose generous legacy to the group on his death in 2003 has been used to fund the development of the trail. John was an enthusiastic walker, leading walks in many of the areas through which the trail passes.

I pass through woods and then open scrubby ground where I come across whitethroats singing. I follow a track where I hear a cuckoo before joining a road which leads me into the village of Churston Ferrers. I explore the village and come across Churston Manor Hotel and St Mary the Virgin.

churston manor hotel

st mary the virgin

I rejoin the John Musgrave Heritage Trail and wander along Churston Road to reach Churston Cross. I cross the A3022 and pass Alston Farm. The wildflowers are looking delightful in the hedgerows.

I come across a field of rape.


At Higher Alston I fail at the final hurdle. Either I missed a sign or it doesn’t exist. I should have headed through fields to my left but instead I keep ambling on to reach the busy A379 which I warily cross by dodging the speeding cars.

Directly opposite me there should be a footpath. There isn’t. Instead I’m met by a massive, locked gate. There should be another footpath a little further up the road. There isn’t. I just find a wooden gate covered in barbed wire.

I return to the massive gate and climb over it and walk through fields in the general direction of Higher Greenway. I can see the Paignton and Dartmouth steam train chugging along below me.

It’s clear that this isn’t a footpath so I retrace my steps back to the main road and clamber back over the gate. I’m confused so I’ve got no option but to take the safe route down the A379 and through Galmpton and out through to Higher Greenway. It’s rather a long last trek to get me back to Herons Rest, our holiday cottage for the week.

[Addendum: I retrace my steps back to Higher Alston a couple of days later to see where I went wrong and there is indeed a sign pointing left up a track. Unfortunately it was hidden behind a big, red ‘Road Closed’ sign so it’s no wonder I missed it!]


Flora and fauna encountered on the walk today includes :-

  • honeysuckle

  • bluebells

  • green alkanet

  • red campion

  • herb robert

  • wild garlic

  • garlic mustard

  • early purple orchids

  • periwinkle

  • red valerian

  • daisy

  • greater stitchwort

  • ivy-leaved toadflax

  • cow parsley

  • alexanders

  • primrose

  • bush vetch

  • herb bennett

  • rape

  • chiffchaffs

  • song thrushes

  • chaffinches

  • wrens

  • whitethroats

  • a cuckoo

  • swallows

  • a buzzard

  • pheasants

  • great tits

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The podcast of today's walk is now available. You can subscribe via the iTunes store or listen using the player below.

8 out of 10.png


According to my phone I've walked 14.2 miles today which amounts to 31532 steps. I’ve walked around 3-4 miles further than I should have done at the end of the walk which brings the score down on what was otherwise a thoroughly pleasant walk. Eight out of ten!


early purple orchid

hookhills viaduct




dittisham to totnes

dart valley trail

sunday, 5th may 2019

It has been pretty nippy overnight and although I should be getting a fair amount of sunshine today it’s not going to be particularly warm.

Totnes high tide 07:41

Totnes low tide 14:02

weather forecast.JPG
tide times.JPG

I start the day at our holiday cottage, Herons Rest, set high above the River Dart and Dartmouth. I leave the cottage and turn left to head along the road towards Greenway.

the view from herons rest

I enter a field where I have magnificent views over the River Dart towards Dartmouth.

view over the river dart

I head across another field and drop down towards the Greenway Estate, once the holiday home of Agatha Christie.

One day we saw that a house was up for sale that I had known when I was young... So we went over to Greenway, and very beautiful the house and grounds were. A white Georgian house of about 1780 or 90, with woods sweeping down to the Dart below, and a lot of fine shrubs and trees - the ideal house, a dream house.
— Agatha Christie

I walk along the edge of the gardens of Greenway Estate admiring the wildflowers and the rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias.

I pass through a gate and walk through the entrance to Greenway and head down the road towards the river where I catch the Greenway and Dittisham ferry. I would have rung the bell on Greenway Quay to summon the ferry but the ferryman was already there waiting.

the view from greenway quay

The ferry putters its way over the river and takes me over to Dittisham. The ferry fare is £2.

I alight at the rather gaudy, pink, Ferry Boat Inn, known locally as the FBI.

ferry boat inn

the fbi

I walk up through the village passing the Red Lion Inn.

red lion inn

At a T-junction next to St George’s Church, I turn sharply right down Lower Street and follow the road quite a long way out of Dittisham down to Dittisham Mill Creek.

dittisham mill creek

dittisham mill

Just before Dittisham Mill I turn right over a wooden footbridge and climb some stone steps before following a footpath along a field edge and then a wooded area covered in wild garlic. I turn left onto a minor road and climb up after a bridge at East Cornworthy before turning right at a signpost pointing to Coombe.

Here I come across a sign promising me that there will be loads of hedgehogs about. Needless to say I didn’t see any!

I pass Coombe Farm Studios and Gallery and Fingals Luxury Country House B&B.

At Barberry Cross I carry straight on before turning right down Broadgates Lane which is covered in bluebells and wild garlic.

broadgates lane

longland cross

I follow the lane which becomes a road and I cross straight over at Longland Cross, underneath a flying buzzard, and walk down into the village of Cornworthy. I come across housemartins nesting in the eaves of a house and enjoy the centaurea montana on the edges of a number of the front gardens.

centaurea montana

I stop at the wisteria covered Hunters Lodge Inn. The inn is closed at the moment but new tenants Grahame and Sue Nutt, from Holmfirth, have just moved into the village and are hoping to have the pub opened towards the end of May.

hunters lodge inn

hunters lodge inn

I had wandered down through the village with a couple of friendly villagers and, seeing that I was taking photographs, they beckoned me over to the back of the pub to show me a mural painted on the back wall.

alice in wonderland

I pass through the rest of the village passing more wisteria covered houses.

Next to Court Prior Farm I turn right onto a footpath and pass a row of cottages where I have a final view over Cornworthy.

view over cornworthy

I enter Charleycombe Wood, managed by the Woodland Trust, and then drop down to the banks of Bow Creek.

charleycombe wood

I turn downhill through a kissing gate and then follow a signpost pointing to Tuckenhay half a mile away. I walk alongside Bow Creek and then climb steps steeply up through a newly planted area.

I pass through another kissing gate and rejoin the road at Tuckenhay Bridge and follow the road through the village of Tuckenhay where I pass the Maltsters Arms (@TheTuckenhayPub).

maltsters arms

I follow the road out of Tuckenhay next to Bow Creek, passing, according to my Ordnance Survey map, Springfield House, but I must have missed it. I pass Perchwood Lime Kilns set in the wall by the side of the road and dating, apparently, from the 1940s. The rooks around here are making an awful racket.

At Bow Bridge I come across the Watermans Arms.

watermans arms

I retrace my steps and turn left down steps to some stepping stones which I’m supposed to use to cross over the creek. My fear of water gets the better of me and I retrace my steps back to the Watermans Arms even though the water is only a few inches deep!

stepping stones

I cross Bow Bridge and turn right and follow the road into the village of Ashprington where I pass the Durant Arms (@DurantArms).

bow bridge

durant arms

Ashprington was recorded in the Domesday Book as the Manor of Aisbertona, and until an auction in September 1940 most of the greystone houses, with characteristic latticed windows and bargeboarded gables, belonged to the Sharpham Estate.

I pass the Church of St David on my left and amble along Sharpham Drive.

church of st david

I come across the pillars of Sharpham House where Sharpham Vineyard can be found. At the pillars I turn left down a footpath where I have magnificent views over the River Dart and which proves to be a popular cycle path.

pillars of sharpham house

view over the river dart

Sharpham House was built between 1770 and 1824 for Captain Philemon Pownall, with prize money from the capture of a Spanish treasure ship, and the estate is now a working vineyard, situated on the warm south-facing slopes above the Dart.

I leave the footpath, climb over a stile, and steeply drop down through a field. I climb over another stile at the bottom and then turn left past a field of cows.

I pass through Lower Gribble Plantation and then turn right over a stile and then amble along a path through fields, passing Higher Gribble Plantation and Linhay plantation.

I come across some early purple orchids in a particularly murky section of the wood.

early purple orchid

I rejoin the banks of the river and walk through a wood and next to some fields before arriving at the wharf in Totnes. Unfortunately the path seems to have been re-routed behind the wharves through a scabby patch of ground, presumably because of the construction of Baltic Wharf housing development.

I leave the scabby patch of land and I’m now in Totnes next to the Steam Packet Inn.

steam packet inn

I turn right and amble along the riverside path before rejoining the road which leads me to The Plains, a riverside area in the heart of Totnes. Since I’m here I’ll attempt to continue my walk along the Totnes Town Trail.

totnes town trail

It’s now time to explore Totnes a little bit. I’m stood by the Wills Memorial on The Plains. The granite obelisk commemorates William John Mills, A British surveyor who was born in Totnes, and was part of the first expedition to cross Australia from south to north.

Many of the buildings here were originally warehouses.

wills memorial

I turn left into Fore Street and admire the Tudor and Victorian buildings which line the street.

fore street

I detour left down Bank Lane where I find a brightly yellow painted Gothic House whose facade features castellations and sharply pointed windows. It is built in a style known as 'Strawberry Hill Gothic'. It also has the unusual distinction of having a Public Right of Way pass right through it.

gothic house

I rejoin Fore Street and climb up it until I reach the Mansion, a red brick Georgian building built in 1795. It was once the old grammar school and is now a community facility.

the mansion

I continue along Fore Street and pass the teeny Atherton Lane, full of colourful flower pots (and wheelie bins!).

atherton lane

The Brutus Stone is set into the pavement exactly opposite Atherton Lane. In the 12th Century the historian, Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote about the landing in Totnes of Brutus the Trojan. It was believed that Britain takes its name from him. Royal proclamations over the centuries have been read out on the stone by the mayor and the custom continues to this day.

brutus stone

I continue up the hill and reach Totnes Museum on my left, once an Elizabethan merchant’s house and now a museum housing period furniture, costumes, toys and games. It also houses an exhibition about Charles Babbage whose link with Totnes seems to be rather tenuous although he did attend the grammar school here for a short while.

totnes museum

I can now see the East Gate Arch, spanning Fore Street, once the gateway to the medieval town and faithfully reconstructed after a devastating fire in 1990. The gate house houses English in Totnes, founded in 1980 and offering English language courses.

east gate arch

I continue my walk along Fore Street which merges into High Street where I turn right up some steps to follow Ramparts Walk which follows the line of the old town walls.

ramparts walk

I turn left to enter the churchyard of St Mary’s Church. The church was completed in 1450 on the site of Totnes Priory which was dissolved in the sixteenth century and there is no longer any trace of the priory.

st mary’s church

I walk down some steps to the right of the 120 foot red sandstone tower of the church which leads to the Guildhall, built in 1553 and over the years it has been used as the town gaol, boy's school, magistrates court, and is still used today as the Council Chambers and Mayor's parlour for Totnes Town Council.

the guildhall

I pass Guildhall Cottage and then turn left into Church Close and regain the High Street.

I turn right into the High Street and climb upwards. The covered walkway in front of the shops is known as The Butterwalk. In Tudor times the shops were open fronted stalls with accommodation above. The Butterwalk was built to protect the dairy products sold here from the sun and rain, whilst the covered walkway opposite protected poultry stalls.

the butterwalk

I turn right into Castle Street and just before the North Gate I come across Totnes Castle, a classic Norman motte and bailey castle.

totnes castle

I return to the High Street and turn right to walk through the Narrows towards the site of the old West Gate.

the narrows

I turn left across an open space area called the Rotherfold.

the rotherfold

From here I should be able to amble up Leechwell Street to come across the Kingsbridge Inn, allegedly the oldest pub in Totnes. Unfortunately, and confusingly I fail to find the pub. I walk in both directions but just can’t seem to find it so maybe I just didn’t walk far enough.

That’s the end of the Totnes Town Trail for now. I’ll have to come back another time and explore the trail more thoroughly when I’ve got much more time. I retrace my steps to the North Street car park where my lift awaits back to Herons Rest.


Flora and fauna encountered on the walk today includes :-

  • robins

  • chiffchaffs

  • cuckooflower

  • wild garlic

  • bluebells

  • greater stitchwort

  • red campion

  • garlic mustard

  • rhododendrons

  • azaleas

  • camellias

  • hawthorn

  • primroses

  • swans

  • song thrushes

  • orange tip butterflies

  • pheasants

  • no hedgehogs!

  • cow parsley

  • celandines

  • a red admiral butterfly

  • squirrels

  • blackcaps

  • chaffinches

  • green alkanet

  • a buzzard

  • housemartins

  • wisteria

  • speckled wood butterflies

  • a peacock butterfly

podcast logo small.png


The podcast of today's walk is now available. You can subscribe via the iTunes store or listen using the player below.

9 out of 10.png


According to my phone I've walked 13.2 miles today which amounts to 26331 steps. It has been a lovely day’s walking today and although it was a cold start the fleece didn’t stay on for long. Just a shame I failed to complete the Totnes Town Trail. Nine out of ten!

The total ascent today has been 664 feet or 202 metres. 





broadgates lane

alice in wonderland