Walk - Little Dartmouth & St Petrox

4.2 miles (6.7 km)

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

Moderate - Coastal path and field footpaths, uneven in places and sometimes muddy, surfaced road and bridleway. Some uphill and downhill.

A high-level walk around the cliffs above the mouth of the River Dart, where medieval monks kept a light burning in the chapel to let sailors know where the rocks were. Small birds call from the bushes and seals haul out on the rocks around the headland. Allow time for exploring the remains of many centuries of history around Dartmouth Castle, Warfleet Cove and Gallants Bower.

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.

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

Fairholme B&B

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

Quarry Lake Camping

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

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.


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

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.

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

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. Or for more information on line please visit www.discoverdartmouth.com

Dartmouth Visitor Centre

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

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 bottom of the National Trust Redlap Car Park at Little Dartmouth, follow the fingerpost to pick up the South West Coast Path. Head downhill with it along the edge of several fields to the coast at Warren Point. The path heads left and left again as it rounds the point.

In the nineteenth century, rabbits were bred for meat and fur in large burrows on Warren Point, giving it its name (see the Salcombe & Soar Mill Cove Walk).

  1. Above Willow Cove a path to your left heads up to the road. Ignore this, forking right instead to continue to Compass Cove. At the back of the cove, the path descends steeply towards the shoreline and then rounds Blackstone Point. Carry on around Ladies Cove and Deadmans Cove beyond to arrive at Castle Road above Sugary Cove, at the very mouth of the River Dart.

The cliffs in this area are managed by the National Trust. Their coastal grasslands provide valuable habitat for small birds such as linnets, whitethroats, yellowhammers, stonechats and the nationally rare cirl bunting. Look out for seals on the rocks below.

In Compass Cove are the remains of an old cable house, part of an early communication system that transmitting electric signals through wires to send messages. In 1860 an undersea cable was laid from here to Guernsey and in 1877 another was run from the hut to Jersey. During the Second World War, the hut was converted to a pill box. Later Trans-Atlantic communications were established here, with the cable running underground to a repeater station in an old coach house.

  1. Turn right to keep following the Coast Path waymarkers, through the trees above Sugary Cove and on to Dartmouth Castle. From the castle continue along the Coast Path around Castle Point and One Gun Point, to Warfleet Cove.

The 15th-century Dartmouth Castle is just one of four defences built on the site to defend the river. Dartmouth has been 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 (see the Dartmouth Castle & Gallants Bower Walk). Twelve ships sailed from here to join the fight against the Spanish Armada in 1588, and the Pilgrim Fathers paused en route from Southampton to New England in 1620.

A deed drawn up in 1192 (when Richard the Lionheart was on crusade) referred to 'all the land of Dertmeta which is above the Wyke and between the monastery of St Peter and the land of Stoke.' The area referred to has been identified as Little Dartmouth, and historians assume that the 'monastery of St Peter' was the religious settlement with St Petrox at its heart.

Thanks to southwest England's maritime links with the Mediterranean and northwest France, Christianity arrived here much earlier than the rest of the country. When the paganism of Anglo-Saxon invaders threatened to overwhelm the peninsula's religion after the Romans left, there was a rush of Celtic missionaries landing around the coastline, who established hermitages above the sea. These very early primitive chapels usually kept a light burning to warn sailors of rocks below, as did St Petrox chapel at the mouth of the Dart in AD 894.

The chapel was thought to have fallen into disuse by the beginning of the fourteenth century, but in 1438 a 40-day 'indulgence' was granted by Bishop Lacy for 'building, maintaining and repairing the parochial chapel with cure of St Petrox.' (see Dartmouth Parish for more detail).

Warfleet was once a separate parish from Dartmouth. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it was an important centre for trade and the scene of several industries. The lime kilns still visible around the cove produced fertiliser, while the 1819 paper mill became a flour mill and then a brewery (see the Dartmouth Castle & Gallants Bower Walk).

  1. From Warfleet Cove take the path to Gallants Bower.

Gallant's Bower was constructed during the English Civil War to defend Dartmouth and its castle from attack by the Parliamentarians. In January 1646 Cromwell's men took it after a long siege.

  1. From Gallants Bower follow the footpath through the woods until it drops you back on Castle Road.
  2. Turn right and follow the lane past Little Dartmouth and back to the car park at the start of the walk.

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.


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


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