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.

The Old Newsagent

Ground floor flat, sleeps two. Fully equipped for self catering. Perfect location for walkers. Situated above historic Bayards Cove.

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.

Blueriver Cottages

A fantastic range of over 200 self-catering holiday homes located across South Devon, with friendly offices in Dartmouth, Salcombe and Torquay.

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.

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.

Brixham House

Lovely, friendly bed and breakfast approx 10 mins from swcp, fabulous breakfast, happy to accept 1 night bookings all year!

Brixham Caravans

A small family business dedicated to providing high quality, great value caravan holidays & accommodation close to Brixham coastline.
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.

Sea Kayak Devon

There's no better way to experience Devon's stunning coastline than by kayak. Let our highly qualified guides take you on an unforgettable journey. Individuals, groups, families. No experience necessary. Skills, courses, expeditions.

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

  • Total Coastal

    Saturday 18th April 2020, Shaldon, South Devon

    The Total Coastal is your choice of 30 Mile Ultra, Half Marathon or 10K on the stunning South West Coast Path in South Devon. More info.

       

  • English Riviera Tours

    Spring - Autumn 2020, booking open 17th February 2020, Torbay, Devon

    At English Riviera Walking Tours, we show-case Torbay's 22 miles of breath-taking coastline, whilst conveying stories and fascinating facts about the people and events which have shaped its history. More info.

      

  • Rocky Horror Swim Run

    Saturday 5th September 2020, South Milton, South Devon

    Choose either a long 20 mile swimrun with 4 swim legs and 4 run legs, or a short 8.5 mile swimrun with 3 swim legs and 3 run legs, plus a sprint distance Rocky Ending, which is 3.5 miles in length and includes two swim legs and two run legs. More info.

             

  • The Rock Hard Coast (Saturday)

    Saturday 5th September 2020, South Milton, South Devon

    The Rock Hard Coast weekend includes a spectacular 5k and 10k coastal trail runs for children, following the South West Coast Path, which are chip timed. More info.

      

  • The Rock Hard Coast (Sunday)

    Sunday 6th September 2020, South Milton, South Devon

    The Rock Hard Coast includes a stunning marathon (new event), half marathon and 10k coastal race on Sunday along the SW Coastpath from South Milton to Salcombe and to Bantham and includes kid’s races on the Saturday. More info.

     

            

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