One of the outcomes of yesterday’s navigational error ending in Salcombe was a discussion about whether we had previously visited the town. Neither of us could recollect being there so we decide that today we will explore it.
When most people visit a new place they park as near as possible to their target destination. Freddy’s take a slightly different approach. I think there is much to be gained from walking from a distance into a town or village (Lynnie does not always concur with this principle).
Salcombe is a short drive from our current site, Coldharbour Farm CL, and arriving in the outskirts of the town we park at the ‘park and walk’ facility at Batson Cross besides a new housing development. These homes are described as luxury homes. I have no reason to doubt this, but sometimes wonder what gets into the minds of marketing people when deciding on descriptions for new housing developments.
Elsewhere I recently saw a sign announcing “An exciting new development” – I am sure that the farmer who sold the land was excited, as would be the developer. But those overlooking what appeared to be a flood plain may not have been, nor the new residents if the nearby stream becomes a rushing torrent following heavy rain.
Anyway I digress. Having parked we ignore signs to the town, (I should add at this point that Lynnie planned this route!) instead walking on the footpath besides the road heading back towards the neighbouring village of Malborough.
Just over a quarter of a mile later we turn right down a bridleway and follow this until we reach a lane where we turn right. This brings us to Horsecombe Cross where we go straight over. To our left we get our first glimpse of the Kingsbridge Estuary.
We keep on this lane, ignoring another on our left and in just over a mile we reach a National Trust Car Park. We take the gate to our left that leads first on a gravel path and then into a field down towards the estuary at Tosnos Point. These are stunning views, as we wander downhill Lynnie and I agree that if this were your daily dog walk it would never be boring.
The route is straightforward, just a case of following the footpath signs to Snapes Point and then back towards Salcombe above Batson Creek. Just after passing above Snapes Manor we take a footpath on the left leading downhill to pick up the lane into Lower Batson.
We continue into Salcombe alongside the road running by Batson Creek. On route we stop to see Batson Limekiln on the opposite bank.
Turning the corner to walk into town Lynnie spots the Salcombe Dairy Ice cream factory shop, I offer the opportunity, but bizarrely it is passed up. We pass a few small boat builders and then come across a building being redeveloped as a gin distillery and outlet for Salcombe Gin. This is Lynnie’s kind of town! I can guarantee we will be looking in an estate agent’s window very soon!
I focus on keeping us moving, no dawdling looking at available properties. But when we do take a glance we realise that Salcombe is very popular, commanding premium prices. I can understand why, because it is very attractive, but do hope that folk buying these properties live here rather than using them for occasional forays out of London.
We walk through the town keeping as close to the seafront as possible, we are now following the Coastal Path (which is along the road). The road quickly rises giving commanding views across to the opposite side of the water.
The further we walk the higher we get (and so apparently do the property prices), and then the route descends steeply into North Sands.
This is a pleasant cove; the tide is out and families and dogs are enjoying the expanse of sand. There is a café across the road and we decide to stop for a pot of tea. This is a rarity, perhaps once a year we will stop like this (normally because our walks are in isolated places with no cafés).
Refreshed we continue along the coastal path as it follows the road, climbing uphill, before quickly descending to South Sands. This is another little cove with a sandy beach and it houses a trailer enabling passengers to access a pedestrian ferry back to Salcombe.
The road climbs steeply again and then leads around to a National Trust property, Overbeck’s House. After passing the main entrance we continue on a track for a few hundred yards before taking a footpath around the back of the house. This leads through the top of Fir Wood and out along the edge of fields towards Sharp Tor, beyond lies Bolt Head. To me it feels like we are on the edge of the cliff, but on consulting the map it is obvious that the coastal path is below us passing along the cliffs.
At a junction of paths we go through a gate and pick up a footpath towards East Soar Farm, this is another National Trust property and is run as an outdoor leisure and educational facility. We pass through the yard with its café in a barn and follow the track.
Our route takes us past the site of the former RAF Bolt Head airbase. This is an interesting spot and I make plans to return another day. There is a car park at the end of the track where we join a lane, less than half a mile later we take a footpath on the right leading down through a caravan park at Rew. At the road we turn right and walk downhill to Combe and as we pass through the village we take a path on the left that climbs steeply.
On reaching a road we go straight across and down across a couple of fields to reach a bridleway. We turn right to head down hill, this becomes steeper after we fork left towards Hanger Mill. After passing in front of a beautifully located property we pick up a bridleway on the left that leads all the way back to our car park at Batson Cross.
My Suunto Traverse says we have covered almost ten miles, not bad considering Lynnie planned the walk! Back in the car we decide to go back to our site via Hope Cove.
It is years since we were last at Hope Cove, over thirty to be precise, we had two holidays here when young Fred was a nipper, the first time prior to Lolly’s birth and the second when she was few months old. So this is a trip down memory lane.
Not much has changed in the last thirty years; the sea front properties have been given a make-over, as has the pub. But the two beaches Inner Hope and Outer Hope are as we remember. There is a young family playing here just as we did all those years ago. The tide is out so we wander around the beach on Inner Hope and look at the old lifeboat station.
We then stroll back to Outer Hope and I spot the notice for the Hope Cove Lifeboat. This is an independent Lifeboat Charity run by local people. I am ashamed to say that I had assumed that the RNLI operated all the lifeboats and had not realised that there were individual organisations providing this valuable service. As they say you learn something new everyday!
To follow this walk you will need Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure Map OL20 – South Devon
13th April 2016
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2016)