AboutDartmouth Castle to Compass Cove
A 1½ mile circular walk taking you out beyond the mouth of the Dart to offer a taste of the glorious open coast.
Start Dartmouth Castle
Distance 1.5 miles
Terrain Surfaced road; field footpaths; rocky foreshore; woodland footpath. Some sections can be muddy/slippery in the wet.
Obstacles and steep gradients 4 flights of steps; 1 stile; 1 steep descent.
Accessibility Not suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs.
Public transport To Dartmouth: bus service 93 from Kingsbridge, Modbury and Plymouth. Bus service X64 from Totnes. For information on public transport in South Hams please call Traveline on 0871 200 22 33 or visit www.traveline.org.uk. Regular seasonal ferry from Dartmouth to Dartmouth Castle tel: 01803 835034.
Refreshment stops Castle Tea Rooms at Dartmouth Castle open daily.
Toilets Public toilets by car park at Dartmouth Castle.
Parking Car park at Dartmouth Castle.
Other facilities Public payphone by car park at Dartmouth Castle.
OS map Explorer 0L20
Grid reference SX 886503
1. Follow the path up to the left of the old ruined castle, signed ‘Coast Path Stoke Fleming 3 ½ m’ and go up the steps.
2. At the top, turn left up the road.
3. After half a mile, by the old coastguard cottages, go straight on through the gate ahead and round the top of a scrubby field.
4. Just before the gate at the far end of the field turn left and follow the hedge down for 100m then turn left again along the Coast Path.
5. The path drops steeply down the field. Towards the bottom bear right following the Coast Path waymarker down and over a stile.
6. Turn left at the fingerpost by the stile and follow the footpath down to the sea and along the rocky foreshore. (At the finger post you can follow an optional detour right down the footpath and some additional steps for 150 metres to Compass Cove. Retrace your steps afterwards and go straight on when you return to the fingerpost).
7. After 350m the path begins to climb again, and passes through woods.
8. When you meet the road turn right. After 300m turn right back down the steps to Dartmouth
Points of Interest:
As you walk around the top of the field beyond the coastguard cottages on the outbound leg of the walk, to the left of the path stands a weathered wooden stump in a metal socket.
This is a ‘rocket post’. It was used to simulate a ship’s mast for coastguard services practising sea rescues A ‘rocket apparatus’ fired lines from shore onto ships in distress. Those lines would be lashed to the mast and the victims could be hauled to safety. Up to the right above the ‘rocket post’ field is Compass Hill, used as a lookout point for Dartmouth for centuries. During the era of steam ships Dartmouth was an important coal bunkering port. At that time the hilltop lookout would signal the approach of a ship, and down in town men would rush for a ladder. The first to swing his leg over the top rung would earn the right for his gang of ‘lumpers’ to supply the ship with coal. Just offshore where the route passes close to the sea is a rock called the Blackstone. You will often see large, dark prehistoriclooking Cormorants here. These seabirds dive for fish, but their wings are not waterproof. ‘They compensate for this design flaw by standing on the rock hanging their wings out to dry. Further away across the rivermouth sits a larger rocky island called the Mewstone - a well-known haul-out for Grey Seals. Half the world’s population of Grey Seals live around the shores of the UK. They are one of nature’s rare modern day success stories; Grey Seal numbers have doubled since 1960.
Map & Directions
|Dartmouth Castle to Compass Cove (1 Jan 2017 - 31 Dec 2017)|