Walk - Bigbury on Sea to Salcombe

14.0 miles (22.5 km)

Bigbury-on-Sea Car Park - TQ7 4AZ Salcombe

Moderate - to strenuous.

Much of this stretch of the South West Coast Path is owned by The National Trust. There are spectacular views as the Path passes through fields above beautiful sandy coves, all part of the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Your journey begins on a boat across the Avon to Bantham and from here the Path offers fairly easy walking past Thurlestone (watch out for golf balls!), until it begins to dip up and down to the sea on its way to the beautifully sheltered Hope Cove.

The following section from Hope to Salcombe is thought by many to be one of the most beautiful sections of the entire 630 miles of the South West Coast Path. Look out for kestrels and peregrine falcons around Bolt Tail and take a rest to look at the extraordinary mica schist rock formations around Soar Mill Cove. The Path is quite rugged and difficult in places, but becomes easier as you join the Courtney Walk and look down on the steep rocky slopes which lead down to the sea along the final stretch into Salcombe.

There are a range of wonderful places to lay your head near the Coast Path for a well-earned sleep. From large and luxurious hotels, to small and personable B&B's, as well as self-catering options and campsites. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Rocarno B&B

SINGLE NIGHT STAYS. Lovely views. Free wi-fi, free tea & coffee, great breakfasts.

Ocean Reach

Luxury holiday homes with 360-degree coastal & countryside views. Restaurant & Bar.Food locally sourced, cooked and presented to the highest standard.

Higher Rew Touring Caravan & Camping Park

Higher Rew is a 4 star family run park close to beautiful Salcombe and the South West Coast Path. The Squire family have, over many years, created a relaxed caravan and camping park for your enjoyment.

Bolberry Farm Cottages, near Salcombe

Half a mile from the South West Coast Path at Bolberry Down. Short breaks available. Dog friendly.

Bolberry House Farm Caravan & Camping Park

Nestled in the rolling hills of South Devon, between the old fishing village of Hope Cove and the boating paradise of Salcombe. An ideal base to explore the magnificent South West Coast Path.

Shute Farm, South Milton

16th Century character farmhouse in quiet position. A short distance from the Coast Path and lovely sandy beaches. 3 comfortable ensuite rooms. Open all year.

Mount Folly Farm, Bigbury on Sea

Basic farm campsite located right on the Path.  Showers, toilets, electric hook ups, camp fires and a field with a view.  Ideal stopping point before crossing the River Avon. 

Summerwinds B&B

Views to Bantham and Burgh Island. Full English breakfast.Wifi.One night stays welcome.

Beadon Farmhouse B&B

A 19th century farmhouse a short walk away from Salcombe, set in 2 acres of gardens with direct link to a footpath to North Sands and the Path. Accommodation includes adjoining Garden Cottage and three double bedrooms in the main house.

Heart and Sole Wellbeing

Beautiful 4-bed house 2mins from beach.  I offer fitness sessions, mindfulness, nutritious superfoods to reenergize, refocus and reinvent.   

Waverley B&B

Luxury B&B just 200yrds from the Coast Path 5 en-suite rooms, large choice of breakfast, 1-night stays welcome parking.

Kimberley B&B

Sleeps up to 4 in King and Twin rooms with private bath. Cooked breakfast. Sea views. Local pub. Dogs in twin room. £40 pppn, single supplement £20 per room.
You'll be spoilt for choice for where to eat and drink along the Path. With lots of local seasonal food on offer, fresh from the farm, field and waters. Try our local ales, ciders, wines and spirits, increasing in variety by the year, as you sit in a cosy pub, fine dining restaurant or chilled café on the beach. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

The Cove Café Bar

Multi-award winning, the best local produce, Little Sailors and takeaway options Over 70 craft beers, ales & ciders Live sport multiscreen.

What is on your list of things to do when you visit the Path? From walking companies, to help you tailor your visit, with itineraries and experts to enhance your visit, to baggage transfer companies and visitor attractions there are lots to people and places to help you decide what you'd like to do. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Kingsbridge Tourist Info Centre

Walking the Coast Path? Call in for all you need including books, maps and our popular accommodation guide, bus & ferry times and much more!

Interactive Elevation

Highlights

  • Views of Burgh Island: the hotel, which holds many events throughout the year, including black tie dinner dances and a round the island race, is a unique example of English seaside Art Deco and has provided the setting for some of the novels of Agatha Christie.
  • Taking the ferry across the Avon from the dunes of Cockleridge to Bantham. The ferry runs from Easter to September (see Ferry Information for details. It is not recommended to try and wade across at low tide, as there is always a deep channel and the current can be strong. As an alternative you can follow the very attractive waymarked Avon Estuary walk to Bantham via Aveton Gifford. This would add an additional 9 miles (14.5 km) to your journey.
  • The wild flowers on the way to Warren Point. You may see banks of thrift, white clover and marguerites.
  • South Milton Ley: a Site of Special Scientific Interest, this is the second largest reed bed in Devon and a fantastic spot for birds.
  • The impressive natural arch of Thurlestone Rock.
  • Hope Cove: sheltered from south-easterly winds, the twin fishing and crabbing villages of Outer and Inner Hope were once a favoured haunt for smugglers. There are beautiful beaches, thatched cottages, galleries and pubs making this a good place to stop for refreshments. Dolphins and seals are often spotted around this area.
  • Views back to Burgh Island from Bolt Tail. Rame Head, near Plymouth, and the promontories of South Cornwall are visible beyond. The earthworks of an important hill fort are clearly visible here and it is thought to have been built between 500 and 600 BC.
  • Reaching the top of Bolberry Down (395 ft, 120 m) and keeping a look out for yellowhammers, skylarks, meadow pipits and the rare Dartford warbler.
  • Soar Mill Cove: this sheltered, sandy cove is a good place for rock-pooling. In 1887 a 3 metre high wall of tea was washed ashore after the clipper the ‘Halloween’ was wrecked in these waters.
  • The rocky headland of Bolt Head, with its remains of a WWII lookout built into rocks and an RAF satellite station.
  • Watching the seabirds around the offshore rocks known as Mew Stone and Little Mew Stone. ‘Mew’ is another word for gull.
  • The impressive pinnacle of Sharp Tor.
  • The last mile into Salcombe is unfortunately along a road. A better way of doing this bit is to catch the little ferry (seasonal) from South Sands to Salcombe.
  • Arriving in Salcombe, a centre for sailing and home of delicious Salcombe Dairy ice-cream.
  • The remains of Salcombe Castle, or Fort Charles, which was originally built as one of Henry VIII's defences against French and Spanish invasion, stands on a rocky outcrop at North Sands. More about the history of Salcombe can be found at the Museum of Maritime and Local History on Market Street, open daily from Easter to the end of October.

Shorter option

Stop at Hope Cove (4.9 miles, 7.9 km).

Longer option

There is little accommodation after Salcombe so we suggest you end your walk here.

Public transport

The nearest train stations are Plymouth and Totnes. From both of these you can catch a bus to Salcombe via Kingsbridge.  It is difficult to get to the Bigbury or Bantham on either bank of the River Avon at the start of the walk by bus - the nearest place is Thurlestone, about 2½ miles from the start. For timetable information, zoom in on the interactive map and click on the bus stops, visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33.

For details of the seasonal passenger ferry across the Avon from Cockleridge to Bantham, and the ferry across the Salcombe Estuary at the beginning of the section, please look on our estuaries and ferries page.

Parking

Bigbury-on-Sea, Bantham, Thurlestone, Thurlestone Sands, Hope Cove, West Cliff, above Soar Mill Cove, Overbecks and Salcombe.

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