Walk - Scabbacombe and Mill Bay

6.2 miles (10.0 km)

Car Park to the north of Coleton Fishacre - TQ6 0EQ Car Park to the north of Coleton Fishacre

Challenging - This is a fairly strenuous section of the Coast Path, with a lot of ascent and descent, and in places the path is narrow and steep.

A challenging but very rewarding walk, with stunning views along the coast and a fascinating journey through the remnants of a Second World War battery en route, as well as a nature reserve and the National Trust property at Coleton Fishacre.

This is a dog-friendly walk. Have a look at our Top Dog Walks on the South West Coast Path for more dog-friendly beaches and pubs. 

Checked by SWCPA Volunteer David Hinchcliffe - July 2019

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.

5 Pottery Cottage

Warfleet Creek House adjacent to the Coast Path (Gallant's Bower) Sleeps 8 in 4 bedrooms with off street parking. Available all year.

Eight Bells B&B

Variety of breakfasts with a stunning view. On waterfront, a few minutes from the Coast Path. 1 double, 1 family room. Both ensuite. Sleeps 6 max.

Waterfront House

We have been awarded gld in the best bed and breakfast in Devon and silver in the best bed and breakfast n the south west . Set in a breath taking spot on the harbour

Quarry Lake Camping

2 miles from SWCP, simple pitches on working sheep farm. Pub within 1 mile.

Fairholme B&B

Fairholme is a small and friendly B&B just off the coast path famed for its excellent breakfasts.

Leonards Cove Holiday Village

Leonards Cove is a picturesque holiday destination with a stunning clifftop location and amazing sea views offering self-catered, camping and touring accommodation.

South Bay Holiday Park

Set above the bustling town of Brixham, this lively holiday park has an action packed entertainment programme & childrens' adventure playground. Direct path to the delightful St Mary's Cove and the SW Coast Path. Range of chalets and caravans.


Stay in our stunning sustainable Birdhouse cabins nestled above the idyllic Start Bay. Just a minutes walk from the coastal path & Blackpool Sands beach.

Dittisham Hideaway

A Luxury Collection of Spacious Treehouses, Luxurious Shepherds Huts and a 1950's Vintage Airstream

Berry Head Hotel Ltd

AA 4 star Hotel & Apartments with stunning sea views at the waters edge. Bistro & Restaurant, Indoor Pool on the Coastal Path.
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.

Ebb & Flow

An independently run cafe in Kingswear with a spectacular view! Serving breakfast from 8am and a range of homemade cakes and light lunches

Salcombe Dairy Shop & Café, Dartmouth

Our ice cream and bean to bar café is set in the beautiful coastal town of Dartmouth. It’s an irresistible spot for walkers in need of sustenance.

Kings Arms at Strete

Community pub on South West Coast Path with stunning views

The Guardhouse Cafe

Home-made seasonal food, cream teas and delicious coffee, all served with a smile and stunning views from our cliff-top Napoleonic Fortress. Open all year.
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.

Dartmouth Visitor Centre

Find out everything you need to know to enjoy your visit to Dartmouth and the surrounding area

Discover Dartmouth at the Flavel Cafe

Lively arts cafe in centre of Dartmouth with information about things to, where to go and places to stay in the area. Or for more information on line please visit www.discoverdartmouth.com

Sea Kayak Devon

Experience Devon's stunning coastline by sea kayak. Let our guides take you on an unforgettable journey. Individuals, groups, families. No experience necessary.

Shoalstone Seawater Pool

Shoalstone Seawater Pool is a great place to swim and paddle, and picnic on the green looking across the Bay. Shoals Café serves breakfasts, lunches and evening meals.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. From the car park take the lane heading roughly westwards and follow it to the road a few hundred yards beyond.
  2. Continuing in the same direction, bear left and stay with the lane as it turns into a path and curves around to travel south-westwards.
  3. Ignoring the paths leading away to the left, proceed to Higher Brownstone Farm.
  4. Bear left and then fork right, dropping down past Home Farm and then climbing the other side into the woodland and curving around the hillside towards the coast.
  5. When you come to the steps at the top of Warren Wood, turn left onto them and follow the South West Coast Path as it descends into the valley and around Mill Bay Cove.

Note the crenellated building in the cove, once the mill.

The path climbs another set of steps to the woodland at the top (a nature reserve), and then continues its plunging way around the coast to the Brownstone Battery above Inner Froward Point.

Take time to wander around the World War II buildings up here and read the displays in the information centre. Brownstone Battery was built in 1940 as a Close Defence Site, designed to stop enemy forces landing on nearby beaches at Slapton Sands or Blackpool Sands, and to destroy any beachhead the Germans might try and establish there. It was known that Hitler had formulated a plan, Operation Sealion, to invade Britain, and Brownstone Battery was an integral part of the defence against this land invasion. Dartmouth was seen as being particularly vulnerable to attack: as well as being an important port in its own right, it was frequently used by the navy and had a motor torpedo boat installation. It also had anti-submarine nets at the mouth of the estuary and a military boat repairing facility at Philips Shipyard at nearby Noss Creek.

  1. Take the brick steps leading downhill to the west of the lookout and follow the path around, through the various remnants of the Battery and around the coast. Stay with it as it zigzags back up, and turn right at the top to travel eastwards along the Coast Path as it continues to rise and fall above Old Mill Bay and Kelly's Cove to Pudcombe Cove.

Before you zigzag down to PudcombeCove there is a path leading to the left which will return you to the lane at the start of the walk, if you want a shortcut.

  1. At Pudcombe Cove a path leads inland through Coleton Fishacre estate; but for this walk carry on along the Coast Path as it climbs back up the far side of the cove and goes on its way around the coastline.

Coleton Fishacre was built in the 1920s by the D'Oyly Carte family (of opera fame) as a holiday home. The house was built in the Art Deco style of the Jazz Age, and visitors to the National Trust property are played excerpts from Gilbert and Sullivan to celebrate the family's connections with the operatic duo. The 30-acre garden lies in a moist and sheltered valley and is planted with many exotic species from the Mediterranean, South Africa and New Zealand, which thrive here.

The entrance to the estate is to the north of the property, at point 4 on the walk, and access to the gardens from the Coast Path is not normally permitted except to members of the Trust.

  1. After about a mile and a half, ignoring the path inland on the way, you will reach Scabbacombe Head and Downend Point. Just as Scabbacombe Sands come into view, ahead and far below, turn left onto the path leading inland and follow it back up to the start of the walk.

Coleton Camp, at the car park here, was also an important part of this defence strategy. It was operated by the Royal Air Force as part of its RDF (or radar) chain and was also built in 1940, to provide cover for Lyme Bay and Start Bay and for the Channel as a whole. Its exposed hilltop position gave it excellent 360-degree visibility.

    Public transport

    There are regular buses between Brixham and Kingswear, but the nearest bus stop (Kingswear) is some distance from the walk. For timetable information, zoom in on the interactive map and click on the bus stops, visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33.


    Car parks to the north and west of Coleton Fishacre


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