south west coast path
tuesday, 13th september 2016
My weather app is showing me the oddest forecast I've seen in a while. It seems to think it will be 22 degrees, sunny, thundery, rainy and with very little wind. Make up your mind! I wake up early to find thick fog blanketing South Devon. Who knows what today is going to bring.
Exmouth Dock low tide 10:10
Exmouth Dock high tide 16:39
I start the day back on the beach at Teignmouth. It's fair to say that it's not the most exciting walking today with most of the day spent walking along sea walls or flat paths next to the railway but at least I'll finish the day on the ferry over the Exe estuary to Exmouth and back.
The cliffs to my right are still shrouded in fog but the weather out to sea is starting to brighten up.
I walk along the beach and under Teignmouth Grand Pier (@TeignmouthPier), built in 1865 by an engineering consultant from London called Joseph Wilson. The pier suffered badly in the storms of 2014 and was closed for six months but is now almost fully open again.
I head up on to the esplanade before continuing along the beach below Teign Corinthian Yacht Club where I have a decision to make as to which direction to take. The last time I was here the weather was filthy and forced me inland but today the tide is far enough out and so passive as to not cause me any problems so I head up the slipway and along the sea wall next to the railway.
This section of the railway was severely damaged in the storms of 2014 and was shut for two months but has now been reopened after being rebuilt at a cost of £35m.
It's easy walking along the sea wall and I have the odd runner, walker or dog walker for company before reaching the beach beneath Shag Rock at Holcombe and from here I pass under the railway and walk up Smugglers Lane to reach the main road at Holcombe Cross.
I continue along the main road before a rather worn sign points me down Windward Lane and I then follow paths next to fields with fine views over Dawlish and towards Exmouth.
I pass some fellow coast path walkers heading in the other direction and suddenly there is a burst of thunder followed by several other bursts. We are surrounded by thunderstorms. This does not bode well!
I climb down steps and then over a footbridge over a stream by the railway before climbing up steps to meet the main road. I turn right and walk along a quiet road which used to be the toll road into Dawlish. It has started raining heavily so I reluctantly don my waterproofs. I head down a path and come across a viewpoint overlooking Dawlish.
I climb down steps towards the railway line and then head along the footpath next to the road into Dawlish. In Dawlish I head under arches beneath the railway so that I can explore the sandy beach. At least I would have done if it wasn't chucking it down. Instead I shelter under the railway arches with several other people and rearrange my equipment so that it's more waterproof.
Coast path signs are non-existent but I head inland slightly behind the railway station and follow a path out of Dawlish signposted a bit too late for the coast path. Some signs here warn me that this path will be closed for 5 days either from the 5th of September or the 15th of September, it's hard to tell they are so rubbish. Either way it shouldn't affect me. Sure enough though I come across fresh tarmac and a blocked path.
The blockage is rubbish though and I can easily get through.
I cross a bridge over the railway and follow the sea wall out of Dawlish. It's now very easy walking on the sea wall parallel to the railway. It's a very uneventfull walk with dog walkers, runners and trains for company. Thunderstorms continue to rage out to sea.
I pass the closed and rather forlorn Red Rock Snack Bar at Langstone Rock and cross a footbridge over the railway and follow a road through Dawlish Warren, passing the many holiday parks.
Trains continue to pass me in either direction along the railway and I now have an uneventful walk along the Exe Estuary Trail. Although thunderstorms surround me it is definitely starting to brighten up so i remove my waterproofs and strap them back on to my bag.
I wander along the trail photographing the flowers and berries although my camera is struggling to focus properly in the damp and dreary conditions.
I round the harbour at Cockwood where trains continue to thunder by and pass the Anchor Inn.
I cross the road and head through the railway station and a footbridge over the railway takes me down to the wooden pier where I can catch the Starcross Ferry over to Exmouth. I've missed the 11:10 ferry by 20 minutes but I'm in plenty of time for the 12:10.
After a 30 minute wait the ferry arrives and I pay my £5.50 return fair. The journey over to Exmouth takes about 15 minutes and a shower of extremely cold rain passes over the ferry in the middle of the river. I then wander around for a bit before taking the ferry back over to Starcross. The journey over the River Exe and back all seems a bit pointless but I like ferries!
It's now time to get my lift back to Marldon. I head up the road, passing the Atmospheric Railway Inn, and head through the car park for the ferry and railway station.
FLORA AND FAUNA
Flora and fauna encountered on the walk today includes :-
- red campion
- bull rushes
- common knapweed
- canada geese
- red valerian
- little egrets
MARKS OUT OF TEN?
According to my phone I've walked a miserly 9.07 miles today which amounts to 19920 steps. It is hard to get a more boring walk than this one on the South West Coast Path and it has been thundery and wet but I've rather enjoyed myself. The ferry across to Exmouth and back has helped as have all of the trains. Nine out of ten!
My total ascent today has been a pathetic 131 metres or 429 feet. The elevation chart looks pathetic!!