We start where I finished last time, down the back of the Palace Hotel to the north east of Torquay. It is 10 am but already very hot and glimpses of a sparkling turquoise sea don’t make it any easier. We walk through woodland, past Hope’s Nose and Thatcher Rock, down to Meadfoot Beach where a few people are frolicking in the sea.
We then join the road for a while – I take a photo of some striking flowers that look like tall lupins – if anyone knows what they are, answers on a post card please.Further on we smell this before we see it – a “walk through” aviary but very few birds out in the midday sun.And then Torquay Harbour, bursting with yachts and tourists, living up to its name as the capital of the English Riviera. We walk over the footbridge and onwards, along the promenade, picking our way in between sunbathers on the beach, tramping up the main road out of town and eventually down into Paignton. Damian poses for a picture.By now we are ready for refreshment but Paignton seafront is not an attractive proposition – we walk round to the harbour and find a little outdoor cafe for a cream tea.
Energised we walk through Goodrington Sands where it seems like half the population of Birmingham are on holiday and then up onto a path that runs parallel to the railway line. I have by now realised that the train from Paignton to Dartmouth is a steam train and I am hoping to get a photo. A little later we pass a man in a high viz vest working on the line and I ask him when the next train is due – 30 minutes, too long to wait.
We are soon back to the sea where the landscape opens up. Down below us are a group of people in wet suits – two men and a young girl. The men are shouting words of encouragement, trying to get the girl to jump into the water from the top of a large rock. Damian tells me they are coasteering which according to Wikipedia is “a physical activity that encompasses movement along the intertidal zone of a rocky coastline on foot or by swimming, without the aid of boats, surf boards or other craft”. It takes a while but she does jump.From now on we walk along the top of a series of beautiful little coves, the first being Elberry Cove which is well known (in some circles) for its enormous bed of sea grass. The water in the inlet is beautifully clear and there are only a few people around as there is no car access. We deliberate – I am desperate for a swim to cool down but we decide to cover a little more ground before stopping. At the end of the beach is a small ruin which I am told was a local lord’s bathhouse in the 18th century………….very nice. Damian walks purposefully on……..And soon we are rewarded with another beautiful cove – Churston Cove – where we join the excited dogs for a dip in the deliciously cool water…..followed by a nap on the pebbles. The path continues to wind upwards through woodland which then leads to a stretch of parkland named Battery Gardens, a coastal defence site intended to protect Torbay from an expected German invasion after Dunkirk.
Walking down into Brixham, we pass a yacht club where a group of young people are confidently wheeling small mirror dinghies down the slipway and into the sea…….it looks quite easy and I expect it is – if you know how.
Brixham is a pleasant surprise – the harbour is alive with fishing boats and small pleasure craft and sitting amongst them a replica of the Golden Hind. The information board tells us it was home to 60 sailors and 15 officers – it is very difficult to see where there would be room for so many people.iIt is the end of our walk today, time for a pint and some fresh fish – this is the view from our hotel window.
Distance: 11 miles