AboutDartmouth Castle to Gallants Bower
A peaceful woodland walk up to the earthworks of a Civil War fort. You’ll soon see why it was built there; it offers commanding views inland, along the coast and out to sea.
Start Dartmouth Castle
Distance 0.75 mile
Grade Easy to Moderate
Terrain Woodland footpath with occasional camber.
Obstacles and steep gradients 3 flights of steps each way; the walk up is a steady climb.
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.
Accommodation Please contact Dartmouth Information Centre on 01803 834224 or visit www.discoverdartmouth.com.
Other facilities Public payphone by toilets at Dartmouth Castle.
OS map Explorer 0L20
Grid reference SX 886503
1. From the fingerpost opposite the tea rooms signed ‘Coast Path Stoke Fleming 3 ½ m’ follow the path up to the left of the old ruined castle wall and go up the steps.
2. At the top, cross road to left and take the path up to the right into the woods, past the National Trust ‘Gallants Bower’ sign.
3. Follow the path which climbs steadily as it wends its way up through the woods, until you emerge into the open and reach the old earthworks.
4. Retrace your steps to return.
Points of Interest:
Gallants Bower fort was built by the Royalists during the English Civil War, with six circular bastions sited around the walls. When the Parliamentarian troops recaptured Dartmouth, almost a thousand Royalist soldiers fled to this fort, though they soon surrendered. At that time these slopes would have been kept treeless, but even now there are great views. Upriver you can see the Britannia Royal Naval College sitting above the town of Dartmouth. Completed in 1905, it is a training centre for naval officers. Before its construction trainees were housed and trained on two old hulks moored on the river. Looking across the rivermouth from Gallants Bower, the squat square fort low to the water’s edge is Kingswear Castle. Built just over 500 years ago, it was a cutting-edge castle designed to house all-new ship-sinking cannon. But before long guns developed that could cover the whole river from Dartmouth Castle, and Kingswear Castle became redundant. It did, however, have one more moment in the spotlight during the English Civil War. Some Royalist soldiers retreated there when General Fairfax took the town for the Parliamentarians at the end of the war. There they held out until they secured honourable terms of surrender. On the high ground across the estuary mouth, meanwhile, is the Daymark - a hollow tower built as a daytime aid for navigation at sea.
Map & Directions
|Dartmouth Castle to Gallants Bower (1 Jan 2017 - 31 Dec 2017)|