Walk - Babbacombe to Exmouth

14.4 miles (23.2 km)

Babbacombe Exmouth

Easy - Strenuous at first and then easy

A truly varied walk awaits as you set off from the hustle and bustle of Torbay and pass into a more rural, rugged landscape which then leads to more urban areas ahead. The twisting Path between Torquay and Shaldon has several tiring ascents and descents as it passes through open fields and high, thick woodland before easing on the descent to the mouth of the Teign.

After a short ferry crossing you can enjoy easy walking along Teignmouth’s promenade, which offers a rest after the more strenuous stretches earlier in the day. The Path follows part of the National Cycle Network on the way to Dawlish Warren, which includes some road walking. Train enthusiasts will particularly enjoy this section. Take time to look out for the wildlife of Dawlish Warren’s National Nature Reserve before taking the second ferry crossing of the day over the Exe Estuary to Exmouth, where you can find a good cafe or restaurant for a well deserved rest.

Interactive Elevation


  • The views ahead from Babbacombe Downs to the classic red Devon sandstone cliffs edged by the South West Coast Path.
  • The historic cliff railway above Oddicombe Beach that runs during the summer.
  • The fantastic views across Babbacombe Bay from The Valley of the Rocks above Watcombe.
  • Looking out for cirl buntings in the carefully managed fields beyond the village of Maidencombe. Thanks to the restoration of hedgerows and the work of farmers, who leave their fields with winter stubble, these rare birds are returning to the Devon coast.
  • Walking round The Ness and enjoying the views to Shaldon, the Teign and East Devon and Dorset beyond.
  • Taking the foot ferry from Shaldon to Teignmouth. A ferry has operated here since the 13th century. Note the black and white pattern on the boats: a design which has been used for the past 300 years. If the ferry is not running you can take the fairly short journey over the bridge into Teignmouth.
  • Teignmouth: in this historic port and holiday town you can either watch the boats coming and going from one of the harbourside inns or head straight for the Victorian pier and the traditional seaside entertainment along the promenade. More facilities are to be found off route in the centre of town.
  • The Parson and Clerk Rocks at Holcombe Head: a curious legend tells of how an ambitious Dawlish priest and his clerk became lost during a storm after visiting the Bishop of Exeter. Needing a guide, the priest foolishly declared that ‘the devil himself’ would do and the pair were immediately greeted by a mysterious man who led them straight into the sea to their deaths. Look out for the Salty Dog kiosk.
  • Devon’s railway heritage: following the route of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s mainline, which passes through five impressive tunnels on its way round the coast.
  • Looking out for dolphins near the red rock stacks of Langstone Rock.
  • Taking the ferry from near Brunel’s ‘atmospheric railway’ pumping house at Starcross across the Exe Estuary to Exmouth.

Places of interest

  • The black swans of Dawlish Water: in the centre of the town of Dawlish are beautiful public gardens known as The Lawn and through the middle runs the Brook, or Dawlish Water, which is home to rare wildfowl, trout, ducks and black swans. The river runs over a series of small waterfalls on its way to the sea.
  • Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve, the second most important in Devon. A great many species of plants, fungi and invertebrates thrive here due to the extraordinary mix of habitats, including dunes, grassland, brambly scrub and saltmarsh. An extensive list of bird sightings as well as other interesting information about the Reserve can be found at Dawlish Warren Visitor Centre (tel: 01626 863980). Views from here extend over the Exe Estuary to Exmouth and to Orcombe Point which marks the beginning of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site.
  • The attractive cathedral city of Exeter - Devon's county town.

Shorter option

Teignmouth (6.4 miles, 10.3 km) or Dawlish (10.1 miles, 16.2 km).

Longer option

Continue to Budleigh Salterton (an additional 5.4 miles, 8.7 km).

Nearby refreshments

Torquay has a wide range of shops, pubs, restaurants and cafes and there are also refreshments available in Babbacombe at the beginning of your walk. There are plenty of opportunities to buy or stop for refreshments further on in Watcombe, Maidencombe, Shaldon, Teignmouth and Dawlish and there are a few shops and pubs at Starcross.

Public transport

There are train stations at both ends of this walk, Torquay (bus across town to Babbacombe), and Starcross. For timetable information, zoom in on the interactive map and click on the train station, visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33.


Torquay and Babbacombe, Watcombe, Maidencombe, The Ness near Shaldon, Teignmouth, Dawlish, Dawlish Warren and Exmouth.

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