Explore Dartmouth’s stunning walks on early Autumn days

As the early autumn sun graces Dartmouth with its warm embrace, this is the perfect time to explore this gorgeous place. We’ve curated a list of our top five favourite walks.

Dartmouth to Blackpool Sands

Distance: Approximately 10-11 miles (mostly circular)

Starting Point: Dartmouth town centre

For those seeking an adventurous challenge, the Dartmouth to Blackpool Sands trail awaits. While the hills may be steep and strenuous, the rewards lie in the breathtaking natural beauty that unfolds before you. The journey begins with views of Dartmouth’s harbour, Kingswear’s multicoloured houses, and Dartmouth Castle guarding the wooded estuary banks. Within the first 20 minutes, you’ll encounter Warfleet Creek, Gallant’s Bower woods, and the South West Coast Path. Exiting Compass Valley unveils expansive sea views that can stretch as far as Start Point Lighthouse on clear days.
Along the way, make a stop at Stoke Fleming, home to The Green Dragon pub, a welcoming haven for ramblers and their four-legged companions. Alternatively, find perfectly placed picnic benches in scenic spots for an al fresco meal. Don’t forget to indulge in Devonshire clotted cream with your jam and scones. Finally, arrive at Blackpool Sands, a Blue Flag awarded beach offering a variety of activities and excellent facilities. Just remember, time flies when you’re having fun, and you still have the return journey to complete. Buses run regularly from Stoke Fleming back to Dartmouth if needed.

Dartmouth to Sugary Cove

Distance: 2 miles (return)

Starting Point: Dartmouth town centre

Discover the thrill of a hidden cove on the Dartmouth to Sugary Cove walk. Sugary Cove, tucked away in the woods and accessible via nearly 70 steep steps, remains one of Dartmouth’s best-kept secrets. Its remote, quiet shingle stretch is a haven for wild swimmers, offering spectacular sea life and the chance to spot seals. Swim through a magical channel connecting to Castle Cove if you’re a competent swimmer. Note that Sugary Cove is a tidal beach that becomes isolated at high tide, so plan your visit accordingly. Sugary Green, just above the beach, provides a spot for al fresco dining, and Dartmouth Castle and its tea rooms are conveniently located nearby.

Little Dartmouth

Distance: 4 miles (circular)

Starting Point: Little Dartmouth National Trust Car Park

Little Dartmouth Circular is a beloved coastal walk among locals and visitors alike, offering sweeping views of Dartmouth, Start Bay, and Start Point Lighthouse. With thriving coastal flowers and hidden coves to explore, this South Devon gem showcases Dartmouth at its finest. The moderately challenging route covers various terrains, including footpaths, wooded areas, and unmetalled farm tracks.

Prepare for short, steep climbs that get your heart racing, and be mindful of muddy and slippery conditions after heavy rain. Start by following the shingle path leading from the car park, which offers impressive ocean views, including the possibility of spotting dolphins. The coast path is well-marked, taking you to Compass Cove, Ladies Cove, and Deadman’s Cove before looping back to the car park.

The Dart Valley Trail

Distance: Approximately 16 miles

Starting Point: Dartmouth town

The Dart Valley Trail is a favourite among Dartmouth walkers, and its natural beauty is simply enchanting. This 16-mile trail follows the wooded banks of the River Dart from Dartmouth to Totnes, passing through picturesque villages like Tuckenhay, Dittisham, and Stoke Gabriel. Enjoy sweeping river views that stretch to Dartmoor and Torbay, along with numerous creeks and riverside beaches. Keep an eye out for the rich wildlife, including herons, egrets, kingfishers, cormorants, seals, and maybe even an otter. The route is long and challenging, suitable for those with energy to spare. However, you can also break it into smaller segments, such as Dartmouth/Kingswear to Greenway or Dartmouth to Dittisham.

Dartmouth to Dittisham via Greenway

Distance: 10-12 miles (circular, depending on the route)

Starting Point: Dartmouth Quay/Kingswear

This circular hiking route is a beloved treasure of South Devon, offering breathtaking views of the Dart Valley, the estuary, and coastal vistas reaching Torbay. While it presents a challenge with steep ascents and descents, the panoramic rewards are worth every step. The diverse terrain encompasses farmland, rolling countryside, canopied woodland, and a towering pine forest.

Discover secluded creeks perfect for al fresco picnics along the River Dart. Begin by crossing the estuary to Kingswear via passenger ferry and continue your journey through forest and countryside. Explore the former holiday home of Agatha Christie, Greenway House and Garden, and enjoy refreshments at its café. Cross the river to Dittisham for an equally breathtaking walk back to Dartmouth or explore the charming harbour village before dining at the Ferry Boat Inn or Anchorstone Café, both offering stunning river views.

The Greenway Passenger Ferry provides a scenic route back to Dartmouth if you prefer a shorter return journey.

Whether you’re seeking a challenging hike or a leisurely stroll, Dartmouth’s diverse landscapes and coastal beauty offer the perfect backdrop for unforgettable autumn adventures.