Walk - Fishcombe Point
Walk information provided with help from Natural England. Map reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown copyright and database right 2020. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100022021.
- From the car park behind Broadsands Beach take the old farm track past Elberry Farm, bearing right to follow it between fields, until you come to a kissing gate on the left. Go through the gate to cross Churston Golf Course on a clearly-marked pathway.
Churston Golf Club was established in the late nineteenth century. The 18-hole course benefits from good drainage as a result of the shillet and shale beneath the surface, meaning that the greens are in good condition throughout the year. For your own safety please stay on the waymarked path and watch out for flying golf balls.
In 1938 novelist Agatha Christie and her husband bought nearby Greenway as a holiday home, and her detective novel 'Murder on the Links' was inspired by one of her visits here.
- Reaching the old Brixham road, carry on ahead, past the church, keeping left at the junction and turning left onto the track just beyond it, following it down to Churston Cove and Fishcombe Point.
The road from the church towards Brixham was once known as the Lych Way, or the Way of the Dead, and was the route used to carry coffins to the church to be buried. The village derives its name from the Anglo-Saxon words 'cyric' meaning 'cross' and 'ton' meaning a settlement. The cross that gave Churston its name once stood near this road junction.
Known as Quay Lane, the track is one of the area's many ancient green lanes, possibly dating back three or four thousand years.
You are also walking on the John Musgrave Heritage Trail, a 35-miles walking trail set up in memory of the Chairman of the local branch of the Ramblers' Association.
Agatha Christie regularly attended services at the Church of St Mary the Virgin when she was holidaying here. In 1955 she donated the royalties from her short story Greenshaw's Folly (which appeared in The Adventures of the Christmas Pudding) to the church. The gift paid for the east-facing stained glass window, depicting Jesus as the Good Shepherd, in her favourite mauves and greens. The window was designed by Bideford artist James Patterson.
Churston Court in Church Street is a twelfth century manor house and is a listed building. In the sixteenth century a frequent visitor to the court was Tudor adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh, accompanying his half-brother Sir Humphrey Gilbert, who lived at Greenway. Sir Humphrey achieved fame when he discovered and colonised Newfoundland, and the subsequent links between the two areas continued for many generations. A notorious twentieth-century visitor was Bruce Reynolds, who hid here after the Great Train Robbery and managed to avoid detection even though police followed him here.
Next to the church, the Churston Court Inn also dates back to the twelfth century and its kitchen is said to be haunted by the ghost of a monk.
- At Churston Cove turn left to climb steeply along the edge of the woodland, following the South West Coast Path to Elberry Cove, where you descend to the pebble beach.
Surrounded by woodland and fringed with rocks, the sand and shingle beach at Churston Cove is a secluded and tranquil place. The romantic-looking building at the end of the beach was a seawater bathing house built by Lord Churston in the nineteenth century, and in the trees behind the cove a number of carved tree stumps are camouflaged by their natural surroundings.
- From Elberry Cove the Coast Path skirts around the seaward edge of Elberry Common to bring you back to the car park at Broadsands.