Walk - Riviera Line - Dawlish Warren Station - Cockwood

3.3 miles (5.3 km)

Dawlish Warren Railway Station - EX7 0NF Dawlish Warren Railway Station

Moderate - Cockwood is reached along flat surfaces. This walk then follows minor roads and a footpath. There is a fairly steep climb out of the village. The footpath may be muddy in wet weather.

A walk along the Exe Valley trail to the harbour at Cockwood then a circular walk. Continue past marshland full of wildlife then climb up Cofton Hill for magnificent views of the Exe estuary. There has been a settlement in Cockwood since Norman times. Either return to Dawlish Warren Station or continue up the Exe Valley Trail to Starcross Station.

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 Blenheim

The Blenheim is an 18th century building sitated on the seafront in Dawlish with 11 ensuite rooms enjoying sea views.

The Croft Guest House

Set in an acre of gardens overlooking Cockwood Harbour and the Exe estuary, 1 miles from Starcross and 2.3 miles from Powderham Castle

Cofton Holidays

A stunning park with camping, caravans & cottages with year-round facilities, a short stroll from Cockwood (Starcross).

Langstone Cliff Hotel

64 room 3 Star hotel with wide range of facilities in 19 acres overlooking sea and Exe estuary. Perfectly situated as a base for walking the local sections of the South West Coast Path.

Sea Light

Relax in a oasis of calm with organic drinks, delicious health-giving food, cream teas & licensed bar with original oil paintings

Quentance Farm Bed & Breakfast

Halfway between Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton, our comfortable farmhouse offers local food,log fire and free wi-fi in the cosy guest lounge. Well behaved dogs welcome.

The Thornhill

A warm welcome awaits you in our elegant Georgian building, situated on the seafront, comprising 10 comfortable well-appointed bedrooms, each furnished with flat-screen TV. 

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.

Salty Dog Kiosk

Relax in the sun where smugglers ran contraband off the beach into the night. Great coffee, proper scones & ice creams. 10am-4pm every day.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. From Dawlish Warren Station follow the Exe Estuary Trail northwards to Cockwood.

Cockwood is a charming olde-worlde waterfront community, separated from the River Exe estuary by the South Devon Riviera Railway Line. The village with some 17th century character cottages is built up and around a small tidal harbour (known as Cockwood Sod). The Sod, being tidal, is fed from the Exe under two historic railway arches, built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel. More character housing is located further back along a route which eventually comes out in the community of Cofton, and its charming church, St. Mary's. 

  1. With the harbour on your right, follow the road. Before reaching the Anchor Inn take the left hand fork away from the harbour. Pass Cofton Parish Hall and at the Ship Inn turn sharp left and walk up Cofton Hill.

The Anchor Inn is over 450 years old and was originally opened as a Seamen's Mission. It was a haven for seamen and smugglers and is said to be haunted by a friendly ghost and his dog. The first Village Hall was built in 1894 for the sum of £279 and sited next to the Anchor Inn. When Cockwood Chapel, a Plymouth Brethren Meeting House, became available, the brewery bought the old village hall and Cockwood Chapel became Cofton Parish Hall.

The road loops round in a semi-circle, passing the primary school  built in 1872. Continue up the hill. Leaving the residential area behind, you pass woodland on your left. The road levels, then starts to descend.

  1. Look out for a signposted narrow footpath on your right. Take the footpath and cross a stile into a field. Continue downhill through a fir plantation. Eventually, you come out on the road alongside St Mary’s Church.

On the outside of St Mary’s Church beneath the west window a tablet states that the chapel was founded in the 14th century. Having lain in a  ruinous state for over 70 years, The Earl of Devon restored it and reopened it in 1839.

  1. Turn right at the church and follow the road back to Cockwood.

The two roads on your right contain first the settlement of Westwood and then Middlewood. Each has a narrow road climbing uphill with a mixture of character housing. The older buildings were often built using local rubble and cob and then given a protective  coating of render and limewash. At each road’s end a track continues, joining together and leading up to the summit of Cofton Hill.

As you near the Ship Inn look to the left across the marsh. Below the left hand modern house can be seen what looks like a ruined castle gate house. These are in fact Grade II listed lime kilns. The limekiln now shows exposed stonework with no rendering.

Take the time to explore Cockwood and its harbour. Refreshments are available at either of the two inns.

  1. When finished exploring Cockwood, EITHER take the road around the harbour to the main road and follow the road to Starcross Station OR retrace your steps back to Dawlish Warren Station.
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