Walk - Greenway, Broadsands & Galmpton Creek

6.7 miles (10.8 km)

Broadsands Car Park - TQ4 6HL Broadsands Car Park

Challenging - Streets and quiet roads, footpaths and tracks, with some fairly gentle ascent and descent. The walk crosses the beach very briefly at Galmpton Creek, so check out the tides before you leave.

A town and country walk with breathtaking views over Galmpton Creek and out across Tor Bay. And who can resist Agatha's Christie's house at Greenway, the River Dart from high above at Maypool, or Isambard Kingdom Brunel's railway viaduct? A good walk in autumn, when the trees are turning and birds and small mammals are busy rummaging through the leaves below, laying in supplies for the winter.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. Starting from Broadsands car park, follow the footpath around the woodland to the south, to Broadsands Road.
  2. Stay with the road, beneath the railway line, until you come to the footpath on the left.
  3. Take the footpath down to Bascombe Road. On the road, travel a few yards to your right and then turn left onto the path, to the A3022.
  4. Turn left here, and then right onto Slade Lane, and stay with it to the end.
  5. Turn right then right again for a few yards, to bear left onto Stoke Gabriel Road.
  6. Fork left onto Kiln Road, and walk down to Dartside Quay. Take the lane to the left, around the quay and past the boatyard, to travel uphill. Ignoring the turning to the left, take the footpath down to the creek, following it over the beach to the lime kiln.

Galmpton Creek has been a boatbuilding centre for centuries, and in its heyday over 300 sailing trawlers were built here, as well as wooden motor torpedo boats during WWII. It is still a bustling marine repair centre, but its use nowadays is mostly for pleasure craft. 

The lime kiln on the beach is one of several scattered on the estuary foreshore, and limestone from the quarry across the creek was burnt here to produce a soil fertiliser. The area from Berry Head sits on a thick bed of Devonian limestone, once marine reefs, and Galmpton was an important centre for quarrying the stone on the River Dart. It was also used as a ballast in the early ships sailing from here to Newfoundland, and Galmpton Creek limestone has been found in some of the earliest buildings in the New World. It also appears in French and Spanish harbours, for the same reason.

  1. By the lime kiln the path turns inland and travels up through two fields, passing between the farm buildings and onto the lane beyond. Note the chimney from the farm's one-time steam machinery.
  2. Crossing the lane, pick up the footpath on the other side, forking right in the woods, towards Greenway. Follow the signs down to Greenway and to the ferry; or if you are looping around back to Broadsands, turn left at the fingerpost at the end of the woods which points to Maypool/Kingswear/Brixham. (Retrace your steps to here if you are visiting Greenway first, and turn right towards Maypool to rejoin the route).

Greenway has a rich history with many seafaring connections, as you might expect from its waterside location. At the time of its first mention, in 1493, 'Greynway' was an important crossing point of the Dart, as it still is today. The first Greenway house was a Tudor mansion, built here in the late sixteenth century for Otho and Katherine Gilbert. Their son, Sir Humphrey, was a favourite with Elizabeth I, as was his stepbrother, Sir Walter Raleigh, and in searching for the North West Passage Gilbert stumbled across Newfoundland and took it for the queen. In the eighteenth century, another house was built at Greenway (the central block of the current building), and its owner, Roope Harris Roope, developed trading links with the New World, thought to be the import of plants and seeds. 

Subsequent owners of the house devoted much time and money to the gardens, creating, by the middle of the nineteenth century, 'a park of much natural beauty,' giving 'the appearance of enchantment rather than reality.' It is hardly surprising, then, that when the railway arrived, the incumbent of the time – a Cornish copper magnate – fiercely resisted the proposal to run the line over Greenway to carry passengers to the Dart. A compromise was reached, and the Paignton-Dartmouth Steam Railway still runs through the tunnel that was constructed beneath Greenway. 

In 1938, a certain Mr and Mrs Mallowan bought the house as a holiday home. Both were keen gardeners and passionate about Greenway's horticultural abundance. Mr Mallowan was an noteworthy archaeologist, and his wife was none other than crime writer Agatha Christie. Greenway was the setting for her book 'Dead Man's Folly', even down to the boathouse where Marlene Tucker's body was found.

Follow the path around the fields and along the ancient green track, onto the road beyond.

  1. Turn right at the footpath with a sign to Greenway Barton and take the footpath left a little way beyond.
  2. From here, take the next permissive path, straight on towards Churston Ferrers to walk to the A379. Cross the road and pick up the path opposite, bearing left to follow the path to Alston Lane and thence to the A3022.
  3. Cross this road, onto Churston Road opposite, then take Church Road, on the left a little way beyond.
  4. At the end of this lane, a footpath leads past the golf course and onto Churston Point. Turn left around the point and on to the promenade at the end, to return to the car park.

Nearby refreshments

In Broadsands, Galmpton, Churston, Brixham

Public transport

The number 12 Stagecoach service runs very regularly between Newton Abbot and Brixham. There are also regular trains from Newton Abbot to Paignton and Torquay. The number 12 bus service runs every 10 minutes or so between Brixham and Torquay, stopping at Broadsands, Goodrington, Paignton and Livermead. For timetable information, zoom in on the interactive map and click on the bus stops, visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33.

Parking

In Broadsands Car Park

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