Walk - Brixham Breakwater

Walk information provided with help from Natural England. Map reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown copyright and database right 2022. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100022021.

Route Description

  1. Leave the car park - fee payable – and move the short distance from the car to the start of the walk. The ground is flat and tarmaced.  The pathway is concreted along the whole of the walk.

To your left can be seen the Torbay Lifeboat Station. Brixham Lifeboat Station was opened in 1866 but since 1924 it has been known as 'Torbay'. The lifeboat station was granted the Honorary Freedom of the Borough of Torbay on 29 April 1988. Since 2005 it has operated an all-weather lifeboat and an inshore lifeboat. For the period 1875 to 1923 Torquay also had a Lifeboat Station located at the 'Ladies Bathing Cove' (now known as Beacon Cove) close to the Imperial Hotel. 

To your right is Breakwater Beach. It has won many awards, including the Breakwater Beach Blue Flag, Quality Coast Award, and is a Marine Conservation Society Good Beach Guide Recommended Beach.

There is a plaque commemorating the American servicemen who left here, from the slipway for the D-Day landing beaches in 1944. As part of the D-Day preparations, a concrete "hard" was built inside the breakwater down which tanks and other vehicles were embarked before the final departure at the end of May 1944. Shortly before this took place, two houses in Berry Head Road were demolished so that the US Army's largest transporters could turn into the assembly area. The occupants of the properties were given just a few days to leave. "Churchill Gardens" occupies the site today.

  1. There are 2 gradients – the first is about 1 in 4 with a height gain of 5 metres.
  2. The second gradient has a rise of about 1.5 metres in its 10-metre length.

There are metal, backless seats placed at regular intervals all along the walk. However, be careful to not go too near the edge as there is no handrail or barrier between you and the harbour water. There is a regular placement of lifebelts.

Towards the lighthouse, there are the remains of an abandoned pier. The Americans constructed the pier and slipway in WW2.

Brixham was subjected to a number of air attacks during World War 2.  On 14 July 1940, a daylight raider dropped 4 bombs at Brixham and "sank a liner", according to the German News Agency. This was, actually, the coal hulk London City, which sank at her moorings. She was later refloated, only to be sunk a second time on 27th February 1941. On this occasion too, the German High Command reported a major success. During a raid in 1942, the London City was "sunk" for the third time.

During the war, over 1,000 small vessels were built or repaired at Upham's shipyard. The old Jackman's Yard on the north side of the Breakwater was also used for a while. The Central Diving School of HMS Vernon was relocated to Brixham and trained frogmen and other specialists for underwater operations in Europe and elsewhere.

  1. The lighthouse at the end of the breakwater marks the necessity to turn around and go back to the start of the walk.

A lighthouse was established here in 1878 - the current one was built in 1916. It is 9 metres high, painted white and has a lantern and a gallery. For maintenance purposes, it is accessed via a small door on its side.

Nearby refreshments

Refreshments can be found at the start of the walk.

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