The Port Salcombe

Things to Do


The Port is situated right in the middle of a designated area of outstanding natural beauty, which extends along the coast from Brixham in the east to Plymouth in the west,extending inland up the Kingsbridge estuary, and up the estuaries of the rivers Dart, Avon, Erme and Yealm,so is ideally situated for walking.

The coastal path on both sides of the Kingsbridge estuary is owned and well maintained by the National Trust, which also owns the area round Snapes Point.

There are walks for all ages and abilities, from gentle strolls along sandy beaches or along green lanes, to more strenuous walks on steep and rocky coastal paths.


There are wonderful views from cliffs and hill-tops and a profusion of wild flowers on the cliffs and in the lanes. These serve as food plants for butterflies, which are abundant at times.

Bird-watchers will find a great variety of birds in the area, many of them rare or unusual. In the Kingsbridge estuary Little Egrets, Curlew, Whimbrel and Oystercatchers may be seen feeding on the mud. Ospreys pass by in the autumn. On the moorland fringes Wood Warblers, Pied Flycatchers, Redstarts, Tree Pipits, Dippers, Ravens and Buzzards may be found. At Slapton Ley Ducks, Grebes, Bitterns, Warblers, including Cetti's , Osprey, Buntings, Swans, Moorhens, Marsh Harriers, Purple Herons, Starlings and Swallows have been reported. On the shingle ridge at Torcross Whitethroats, Stonechats and Barn Owls have been seen.

The RSPB, in conjuncton with the management team of the AONB, have advised farmers on the growing and harvesting of crops, which have helped to increase the falling population of cirl buntings.

Schools of dolphins, and of porpoises, sometimes come into the harbour and are a delight to watch. There is also a resident seal in the estuary and he can often be seen basking himself, sitting on a bait box.

Green Lanes

The South Hams has a network of green lanes, suitable for horses and walkers, which are ancient packhorse and drover's tracks and were often used by smugglers.

Many of these, which had become overgrown, have now been restored and Valerie Belsey has written two excellent books on the local green lanes:

  1. Discovering Green Lanes
  2. Exploring Green Lanes in the South Hams – 25 Circular Routes


Walks from The Port

  1. Circular walk via Rickham

    Leave The Port and walk to Millbay, either along the shore or along the road. At the top of the beach turn right, then immediately left into Millbay Lane. This becomes narrower as you walk uphill and towards the top notice the very old lime trees on your left. Having gone through the gate at the top of the lane, turn left, then carry straight on passing a bungalow on your left and a farm on your right and walk up the hill, then follow the road to East Portlemouth village, entering by the church. This is well worth a visit and there are some interesting tombstones in the churchyard. Walk down through the village and on down the path to the ferry landing.

  2. Cliff walk to Gara Rock and back via Millbay lane

    Walk to Millbay then turn right on to the cliff path. Follow this to Gara Rock, then turn left into the road . After a short walk go through a gate on your left and walk straight ahead on a path through the field. This then goes along a short lane which comes out at the top of Millbay Lane. Follow this to Millbay.

  3. Cliff walk to Prawle and back by road

    Start as the previous walk , but carry on along the cliff path beyond Gara Rock , to Prawle Point, the most southerly point in Great Britain.Here follow the road inland to the village of East Prawle. It seems like a long uphill stretch but you will be able to refresh yourself with a well-earned glass of something at the Pig’s Nose or the Provident Inn.After this return by walking along the road to East Portlemouth.

  4. Cliff walk beyond Prawle

    Drive to East Prawle, follow the road to the coast and park your car at the National Trust car park, then join the coastal path.

  5. South Pool via Waterhead

    Leaving The Port turn left and walk NE (inland). After passing the road which leads to the village you will pass Longpark cottages on your right and then the Old Rectory on your left. You will then pass inlets of the sea at The Haven and later at Yalton.The latter is believed to be the site of the medieval shipyard at East Portlemouth. The next inlet , where you walk down a steep hill, is at Goodshelter and shortly after this you will see a path dropping down to the water’s edge past some cottages. This leads to a ford with stepping stones, crossing Waterhead Lake. (This ford can be used only when the tide is low)Walk uphill on the far side and follow the path, which joins a road into South Pool. There you will find the Millbrook Inn, which serves excellent crab sandwiches.

  6. Goodshelter and Holset

    Follow the waterside road to Goodshelter, as before, but after passing the inlet turn right and walk uphill to the hamlet of Holset.Here turn right and walk down through East Portlemouth village.

  7. Goodshelter and West Prawle

    Walk through Goodshelter , as before., and pass the cottages at Waterhead Shortly afterwards turn right on to a green lane or track and walk uphill, passing West Prawle farm in the valley to your left, emerging where the road to East Portlemouth has a sharp S bend. The cottage on your left was once the village forge. Turn right and walk back through the village.

  8. to Kingsbridge via the old road

    In Salcombe walk along Island street, then at the car park turn right on the road to Batson. A field path runs parallel to the road, entered through a gate on the left .In Batson walk past the village green, then up the hill on your left, making for Ilton Castle farm. Here follow a path across fields to Blanksmill bridge and follow the road into Kingsbridge. You will pass the head of Collapit creek and there are good views of the estuary here and there. From Kingsbridge you could return in the Rivermaid, a boat which runs a ferry service between Salcombe and Kingsbridge from spring to autumn, when the tide is right, or catch a bus to Salcombe from the bus station on the quay.

Helpful websites

The National Trust –

Click on ‘Days Out and Visits’, then ‘Great Walking’, ‘Downloadable walks’, ‘Devon’, ‘South’. The walk leaflet will give you directions for getting there, points of interest, directions on the route and a map.

Local walks available

  1. Snapes Point

    From Salcombe follow the creek-side road or a parallel field path to Batson. Turn right up a hill and walk as far as Snapes Manor . Just before it a field path on your left gives access to the walk route.

  2. Sharpitor to Bolt Head

    Walk along Cliff Road, a continuation of Fore Street, Salcombe, towards the mouth of the estuary, until you reach South Sands. Here walk uphill to the start of the walk at the entrance to the National Trust property of Overbecks. Alternatively journey to South Sands in the ferry which runs a continuous service from spring to autumn from the pontoon in White Strand car park. The ferry boat is painted blue and has a row of flags on top.

    When you have completed the walk Overbecks is well worth a visit. It has a wonderful garden with many exotic plants and a fascinating museum inside the house. A café serves light refreshments and there is a gift shop.

The following walks require a car journey first:

  1. Woodhuish farm, Scabbacombe (near Brixham)

  2. Froward Point (near Kingswear)

Both of the above 2 walks are near the National Trust property of Coleton Fishacre, with lovely garden.

  1. Little Dartmouth

    This is near Stoke Fleming, which is on the A379 road to Dartmouth, which runs along Slapton Sands.

  2. Ayrmer Cove, Ringmore

    Ringmore is just off the A379 between Modbury and Kingsbridge

South Devon area of outstanding natural beauty –

On the Home page click ‘Walks and trails’., then ‘Downloadable walks and trails’ or ‘Cultural trails’. These are downloadable trails which are graded Easy, Moderate or Strenuous.

You will download a map, instructions on how to get there, advice on public transport and car parks. There will then be directions and a list of points of interest.

You can also click on ‘Events’ which will give a calendar of forthcoming events.

There is to be a walking festival between 3-11 October 2009. Details will be available nearer the time on

Walks in the area

  • Beesands & Hallsands
  • Bolt Tail & Burleigh Dolts
  • Charleton & Frogmore creek
  • Dartmouth to greenway
  • East Prawle & Prawle Point
  • Hope Cove to Bolberry Down
  • Kingsbridge to Bowcombe creek
  • Prawle to Lannacombe
  • Salcombe to Bolt Head
  • Slapton
  • Torcross
  • Torcross & Stokenham

The Open University

The Open University has recently produced a podcast made during a walk from Strete Gate, at the Dartmouth end of Slapton Sands, to Start Point. At 18 different stops on the route there is discussion of the geology, geography, wildlife and history of the area with O.U. tutor, Phil Bradfield.

The podcast can be downloaded as 18 files, one for each stop, or as a single file.

Great Walks
Green Lanes

The Port, East Portlemouth, Nr Salcombe, South Devon TQ8 8PU Telephone: 07890 998842