Walk - Dart Marina - Little Dartmouth

5.0 miles (8.0 km)

Dart Marina Hotel Dart Marina Hotel

Moderate -

Small but perfectly formed, this satisfying circuit is full of character and interest, offering glorious views from the cliffs, the tang of the sea close up on the rocky shore, the rich history of the castle and the beautiful River Dart.

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.

Fairholme B&B

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

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.

Ten Lake Street

Beautifully presented 3-bedroom townhouse with small garage and private decked outdoor area. Ideally suited for 6 guests with 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.

Holidayhomes4rent

Static caravan rental on South Bay Holiday Park. Next to Path. 2 & 3 bed units available. Prices starting from £125 for 3nts and £175 for 7 nt stays.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. From the entrance to the Dart Marina Hotel turn right and walk down Sandquay Road, forking left towards the river and continuing along the waterfront.
  2. At the end of Coronation Park, on your right, follow the North Embankment past the Boat Float.
  3. Keep going as the path becomes the South Embankment and continue to the end, turning right here through Cole's Court.
  4. Turn left down Lower Street and carry on beside the river to Bayard's Cove Fort.
  5. From the old castle climb the steps and turn left onto Southtown. Follow the path which has now since the Lower Ferry become the South West Coast Path. At Warfleet Road take the path to Gallants Bower.

Gallant's Bower was constructed by the Royalists between 1643 and 1645 to defend Dartmouth and its castle from attack by the Parliamentarians. A second Civil War fort was built across the river at the same time, at Mount Ridley. Gallant's Bower was besieged in January 1646, and the Royalists capitulated.

  1. From Gallants Bower follow the footpath through the woods until it drops you on Castle Road.
  2. Turn right and follow the lane past Little Dartmouth until you reach the National Trust Redlap Car Park.
  3. From the Car Park at Little Dartmouth, pick up the South West Coast Path and head downhill with it towards the coast at Warren Point. Turn east here with the Coast Path and follow it around the point and on to Willow Cove.
  4. Ignoring the path leading inland from your left, carry on around the coast, past Compass Cove and Blackstone Point, Ladies Cove and Deadmans Cove, until you come to Castle Road.
  5. Turn right onto the Coast Path here and follow it to Dartmouth Castle.

The River Dart has been of great strategic importance since the 12th century, and there are a number of fascinating fortifications on both sides of the river. The 15th-century Dartmouth Castle is just one of four defences built on the site to defend the river, a significant port since the 12th century, when the Normans realised its maritime value and used it as the assembly point for the European fleets leaving for the second and third crusades. Later noteworthy sailings from here included twelve ships joining the fight against the Spanish Armada in 1588, and the Pilgrim Fathers, departing in the Mayflower & Speedwell in August 1620, bound for New England.
Above the car park area at the castle you can see the curtain wall and tower, all that remains of the 14th-century fort built by John Hawley (fourteen times Mayor of Dartmouth, and the man who inspired Chaucer's 'Shipman' in the Canterbury Tales). Immediately below the car park, to the south, is the World War II gun shelter. To the east is the site of the 19th-century coastal defence battery, while above it is St Lawrence's Tower, a Napoleonic lookout.
Also built into the complex is St Petrox Church, established as a monk's cell in 894; while across the river is Gommerock, also built during Edward IV's reign to accommodate the chain which was strung across the water from Dartmouth to Kingswear in times of crisis.

  1. From the castle carry on along the river, past One Gun Point, to Warfleet Cove.

Warfleet was once a separate parish from Dartmouth, and was an important place for both industry and shipping. Its name comes from the original Saxon 'Welflut', meaning 'Well by the Stream'.
From the 13th century Dartmouth was involved in the French wine trade, dealing in Bordeaux wines in particular (in fact John Hawley made his fortune this way, importing wine). All this came to an end when the English were thrown out of France in 1453.
In the 16th century, the merchants turned their attention to Newfoundland and cod fishing. With their holds loaded with cod, the traders came home via Europe. They stopped off in the Catholic countries of Spain, Portugal and Italy whose religion required them to eat fish on Fridays. Here they exchanged the cod for wine, oranges and dried fruit, which they then brought home to Dartmouth.
There are several lime kilns around the cove. Until the 19th century limestone and coal were brought here in sailing barges and burnt in layers in the lime kilns to produce lime, which was used as a fertiliser for the soil.
At one time there was a paper mill here, built in 1819, with the largest waterwheel west of Bristol. It made high-quality paper, on which Dartmouth bank notes were printed. After this it was used as a flour mill and a brewery, until after World War II, when it produced detergent and then pottery. In the 1950s and 60s Dartmouth Pottery employed more than 200 people, and its wares included the famous 'gurgling fish jugs'.

  1. At Warfleet Cove you will meet up with the road leading back into Dartmouth. Retrace your steps from here back to the Dart Marina Hotel.

Text by Ruth Luckhurst and the SWCP team

Nearby Events

  • The Something Wild Festival 2022

    Date;  July 29th-31st

    Some of the best coast routes on the South West Coast path for night run, 5k, 10k or half marathon, marathon and Summit Wild Ultra as well as kid’s races.  100 acre festival arena, with tipis, hot tubs and saunas, dining tents, café, stage for comedy night.  More Info here 

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