Walk - Diamond Jubilee Way - Dartmouth

3.6 miles (5.7 km)

National Trust Car Park, Redlap, Little Dartmouth - TQ6 0JP National Trust Car Park, Redlap, Little Dartmouth

Moderate -

Created to commemorate the 60th anniversary in 2012 of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne. This 6km (3¾mile) way-marked circular walk, in the shape of a diamond, takes you through some of the most glorious coastal countryside in the West Country.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

Queen Elizabeth II came to the throne on 6th February 1952 and her coronation took place on 2nd June 1953. She celebrated her Silver Jubilee (25 years) in 1977 and her Golden Jubilee (50 years) in 2002. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrated her 60 year reign. The only other British monarch to celebrate a Diamond Jubilee was Queen Victoria in 1897.

The route is signposted and waymarked from location 1 on the map (Little Dartmouth Farm). Directions below are from the Little Dartmouth car park, but you can also start from Dartmouth, Dartmouth Castle and Jawbones Hill car park. Directions from these starting points are given on page 7.

Although the Diamond Jubilee Way can obviously be walked in either direction, it is recommended to walk in a clockwise direction as the steeper inclines will then be downhill, rather than up!

  1. From Little Dartmouth car park take the farm track eastwards to Little Dartmouth Farm. You are now at location 1 on the map.
  2. Take the public footpath on the left signed for Week Cottage. Follow this for ½km to its junction with Week Hill road.
  3. Turn left up the road and then, after 60 metres, turn right at the farm access track and climb up the hill, passing Higher Week Cottages. Continue to Swannaton Road. You are at location 3 on the map.
  4. Turn left up Swannaton Road and continue straight on for 230 metres, then take the right hand fork leading onto the A379. Note: you have to walk along the A379 for 30 metres. Exercise extreme care on this stretch of road.
  5. After 30 metres leave the A379 and take the Jawbones Hill road on the right.
  6. Follow the road for 1.2km, passing the water tower at Jawbones Beacon Park. It is worth taking a quick walk around the perimeter of Jawbones Beacon Park (see page 7) before continuing down the hill.
  7. At the sharp left hand bend in the road (location 7 on the map) follow the waymarked permissive footpath on the right signed to Dyers Wood for 250 metres, passing below Jane Frank’s bench, before entering the National Trust’s woodland at Dyer’s Hill. 

From Jane Frank’s bench, half way across to Dyers Wood, enjoy the stunning views up the river and towards Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) and in the other direction along the estuary and out to sea. Jane’s husband was Vice President of the Admiralty Interview Board which was originally based at BRNC. She loved to walk her dogs along this path. The National Trust acquired the 11 acre Dyer’s Hill site from South Hams District Council in 1974. For more information about the National Trust see www.nationaltrust.org.uk

  1. Continue to follow the path downhill through the woodland for 150 metres and then take the sharp left path which cuts back down the hill to Above Town road.
  2. Turn right along the road and follow this for 150 metres to its junction with Warfleet Road.
  3. Turn right and follow Warfleet Road down the hill (take care not to take Swannaton Road up the hill by mistake).
  4. Follow Warfleet Road for 300 metres and then take Castle Road on the left.
  5. Follow Castle Road for 400 metres and then at the fork in the road, take the footpath above the lower road. After 150 metres you join the road near another fork. Keep straight ahead on the higher of these towards Dartmouth Castle which stands sentinel at the mouth of the River Dart. Here there are public toilets and refreshments are available at the Castle Tearooms. You are at location 12 on the map.

For an interesting diversion, you can go through the gap in the wall 30 metres along Castle Road on the right hand side. Go down the steps to Warfleet Creek and then pass under the road. Follow the uppermost public footpath past some disused limekilns before rejoining Castle Road and following the directions above to Dartmouth Castle. For over 600 years Dartmouth Castle has guarded the narrow entrance to the

Dart Estuary and the busy, vibrant port of Dartmouth. The fascinating complex of defences was begun in 1388 by John Hawley, privateering Mayor of Dartmouth and thought to be the prototype of the flamboyant ‘Shipman’ in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. About a century later the townsmen added the imposing and well-preserved ‘gun tower’, probably the very first fortification in Britain purpose-built to mount ‘ship-sinking’ heavy cannon. Climb to the top for breathtaking views across the estuary and see how it could be blocked in wartime by a heavy chain. Unusually incorporating the fine church of St Petrox, the castle saw action during the Civil War, and continued in service right up until the Second World War. Successive up-dating included the Victorian ‘Old Battery’ with its remounted heavy guns, guardrooms and maze of passages to explore. Here a dramatic film sequence recreates a Victorian gun-firing, and throughout the fortress displays retell the six centuries of castle history. The castle is managed by English Heritage and an entrance fee applies – see www.english-heritage.org.uk

  1. From Dartmouth Castle take the steps up to Castle Road, turn left and follow this for 200 metres to Compass Cottage. Keep to the upper road along the public bridleway for 400 metres to the Coastguard Cottages. For a longer walk you can follow the South West Coast Path for a little over 3km, passing Deadmans Cove and Compass Cove to Combe Point and Warren Point, before returning inland to the National Trust’s Little Dartmouth car park and then following the public bridleway back to Little Dartmouth Farm where you pick up the Diamond Jubilee Way signposting again.
  2. Continue to follow the public bridleway along a hedged lane for 1km to Little Dartmouth Farm. You are back at location 1 on the map. The National Trust acquired the 336 acre Little Dartmouth Farm in 1970. 

Places of interest

Alternative starting points:

Dartmouth. (Note: This is a very steep route). Starting at the south west corner of the boat float at the Quay in the town and with your back to the river, turn left and follow Fairfax Place for about 100 paces until you see some steps up Horn Hill on your right. Take these, maybe pausing at the top of the first flight to pay a visit to the Dartmouth Community Bookshop. The Dartmouth Community Bookshop was set up to perpetuate the memory of Christopher Robin Milne (owner of Winnie the Pooh) who founded Dartmouth’s Harbour Bookshop in 1951. This sadly closed down in 2011. The Cherub Inn, opposite the bookshop, is one of Dartmouth’s oldest buildings, as is the old Corn Exchange a few metres to the north, badly damaged by fire in May 2010, but extensively restored in 2012. Continue up the steps of Horn Hill. At the top turn right, then after a few metres turn left up Crowther’s Hill, then after 100 metres take the next left up Jawbones Hill. Continue up for 200 metres until you reach the sharp right hand bend and the Diamond Jubilee Way signpost directing you across the fields to Dyers Wood. You are at location 7 on the map.

Dartmouth Castle Car Park. Location 12. Climb the steps above Castle Cove, then turn left up the road to the old Coastguard’s Cottages, where there are wonderful views of the mouth of the River Dart and Start Bay. “Start” originally meant “tail”. Now continue along the ancient bridleway skirting the slope. You can also reach Dartmouth Castle by taking the Castle Ferry from the South Embankment.

Jawbones Car Park. Location 6. Before joining the Diamond Jubilee Way, perhaps take a quick stroll around Jawbones Beacon Park to enjoy the wonderful panoramas from the viewpoints towards BRNC (where Princess Elizabeth first met Prince Philip) the vistas of Dartmoor from beside the Beacon and also across Start Bay. Now follow the lane from the car park entrance down the hill in a north-easterly direction towards the town and the River Dart.

Initiated by the Dart Area Landscape Access Group and sponsored by the Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth & Kingswear Society, D’Art Gallery, Royal Castle Hotel, Inn Theatre Company, South Hams Ramblers and Richard Webb, Publisher.

Nearby refreshments

Café at Dartmouth Castle.

Public transport

There is a regular bus service (93) from Plymouth via Kingsbridge to Dartmouth town centre. There is a regular bus service 111 from Torquay and Totnes to Dartmouth town centre. Seasonal ferry from Dartmouth to Dartmouth Castle phone 01803 835034 (Easter to October). For details visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 2233.

Parking

National Trust Car Park, Redlap, Little Dartmouth by donation (TQ6 0JP)

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