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Here’s our visual guide to the walk from Dartmouth to Blackpool Sands and back again. We’ve included all of our favourite detours, including beautiful Compass Cove and a couple of tucked-away picnic tables and benches where you can relax and take in the sights.

Start Bay, viewed from just above Blackpool Sands

At a glance:

  • Distance: 10 – 11 miles depending on exact route.
  • Views: Kingswear, the Dart Estuary, woodland, farmland, coast.
  • Terrain: Pavement, tracks, grass and rocky paths. Steep and uneven in places.
  • Circular? Partly

OS © Crown copyright 2018 CS-49390-P7H3Y2

To view the OS map for our Dartmouth to Blackpool Sands walk, please click here.

Starting point: Dartmouth town centre for the full walk.

Walking from Dartmouth means the beautiful views and fresh air begin the moment you start your hike. There are also plenty of excellent cafés in Dartmouth where you can build up some stamina, such as Café Al Fresco, the experts in hearty breakfasts.

Alternatively take the Dartmouth Castle Ferry or park on Castle Road to take around two miles off the walk. Here you can enjoy stunning coastal views, a tasty snack in the Castle Tea Rooms or even enjoy a jaunt around Dartmouth Castle itself.

Destination: Blackpool Sands, at the southern end of Start Bay.

Blue Flag-awarded Blackpool Sands is one of South Devon’s most beloved beaches. This privately owned beach is relatively small but bursting with natural beauty and served by excellent facilities. These included a beach shop, a fantastic Venus Café and Takeaway, toilets and showers, seasonal lifeguards and watersports equipment for hire. Find out more about Blackpool Sands from our Beach Bible.

Getting there

1. From Dartmouth, make your way towards Newcomen Road. Follow this road away from the town.

Newcomen Road, the first stage of the walk from Dartmouth to Blackpool Sands

2. In around half a mile you’ll come to the hamlet of Warfleet. Turn left down Castle Road.

The turning at Warfleet

3. A few hundred yards later, Castle Road divides and you can head in either direction. The lower route will take you via the castle. In our guide, we’ll take the higher route through woodland.

Castle Road

4. Follow the road uphill. (Heading down the path pictured on the left will take you to Sugary Cove.)

The end of Castle Road

5. Continue all the way up the steep hill. At the top, there’s a bench with a wonderful view – ideal for getting your breath back!

The bench by Compass Cottage

6. Pass through the kissing gate, walk along the ridge of the hill and go through that gate.

The kissing gate at Little Dartmouth

7. Walk along the track, which is mostly lined with high hedges. Go through the gate at the end.

The gate a little before Little Dartmouth car park

8. Carry on down the road. Pass Little Dartmouth Car Park. When the road bends right shortly afterwards, take a left (essentially continuing straight on).

Little Dartmouth car park

9. Carry on down this road.

Towards Redlap Lane

10. Have your camera ready! The scenery around this winding stretch of road is especially attractive.

A wooded and windy stretch on the way to Stoke Fleming

11. Congratulations, you’ve made it to Stoke Fleming! At the junction, you’ll see the Village Hall over the road to your right. Behind this building are public toilets and a fountain with drinking water.

Stoke Fleming Village Hall

12. Cross the road and make your way across the park. Exit the park to the left of the boules area.

Stoke Fleming village green

13. Turn right out of the gate and follow the road for a hundred yards or so.

Turn right after leaving the green

14. Leave the road through the alley to the left. There is a yellow sign indicating the Coast Path.

A footpath through Stoke Fleming

15. Continue straight, heading in the direction of the church.

Head towards the church and the Green Dragon

16. At the crossroad, carry straight on.

The crossroads by the Green Dragon in Stoke Fleming

17. Or… stop for a drink at the Green Dragon – it’s practically a rite of passage for hikers on this stretch of the Coast Path!

The Green Dragon pub in Stoke Fleming

18. Make your way down the hill.

A view down the hill towards the A379 and Start Bay

19. You’ll come to a junction. Carefully cross the A379 and turn right, following the pavement. Don’t forget to stop to admire this wonderful view of Start Bay!

The A379 above Blackpool Sands

20. Leave the roadside when the path appears, making your way through the forest.

The wooded path running along the A379 towards the beach

21. Don’t think you can manage the walk back? Luckily there’s a bus stop here, so take a look at the timetable on your way past.


Bus stops

22. You’ll come out at the car park by Blackpool Sands. Well done, you’ve made it! Have a bite to eat at the Venus Café.

Blackpool Sands, with its popular Venus Cafe

23. Or even take a dip. Lifeguards patrol the beach during peak periods, and there are changing booths and showers at this fantastic Blue Flag-awarded beach.

Getting back

1. Head back the way you came, crossing the A379. If you’re not quite ready to leave the stunning views behind just yet, there’s a ‘secret’ bench just to your right after you cross the road.

A lovely 'hidden' bench above Blackpool Sands

2. Back at Little Dartmouth car park, turn right and walk up to the gate at the far end.

Little Dartmouth car park (National Trust)

3. Go through the gate and walk down the hill.

The gate at the end of Little Dartmouth car park

4. Go through the gate at the bottom. Follow the trail left.

The gate at the foot of the hill that leads down from Little Dartmouth

5. Or… carry on straight/take a slight right to uncover a secluded picnic table – the perfect place for a pit-stop!

A gloriously secluded picnic table on the Coast Path

6. Follow the trail down the hill.

Carry on down the hill from

7. If you carry straight on rather than following the trail around to the left, you’ll find another bench with a wonderful coastal view.

A lovely spot for a rest!

8. Follow the trail out of this field and back uphill.

Head back uphill

9. Continue along the trail, keeping the sea to your right. (Alternatively, you can head uphill and rejoin the track you took on the way.)

The lower route home towards Dartmouth

10. Go through the gate. Take the central path.

Go through this gate which leads left to Little Dartmouth and right towards Compass Cove

11. When the woodland clears, go down the hill to your right.

Downhill towards Compass Cove

12. Why not take a quick detour? Instead of following the trail around to the left, go through the gate and turn right.

The gate that leads to Compass Cove

13. This will take you to Compass Cove, a beautiful secluded beach beloved of locals ‘in the know’. There are steps all the way down (due care and attention is advised!)

Compass Cove

14. Back on the beaten path, follow the trail along the bottom of the field. Go through the gate at the end.

A gate on the way to Sugary Cove and Dartmouth Castle

15. Follow the trail uphill. A little way up the hill, look out for a little path leading off to the left. There’s another hidden bench around the corner that’s great for a rest.

NB Take care on this uphill stretch. It is steep, uneven and sometimes slippery.

Uneven uphill terrain on the way to Sugary Cove

16. When you rejoin the single track road, continue downhill.

Downhill from Compass Cottage

17. At the foot of the hill, you can either continue straight on towards Warfleet and Dartmouth, or take the steps off to the right. These will take you to Dartmouth Castle, where the Dartmouth Castle Tea Rooms offers a range of tasty snacks, meals and drinks.

Dartmouth Castle on a sunny day

18. Just past the castle, you’ll find the stop for the Dartmouth Castle Ferry – a good option for those with tired legs!

The entrance to Dartmouth Castle Ferry

19. Follow the road back to Dartmouth. There are plenty of places to stop on the way, including several benches at Warfleet with lovely views of the creek.

The view from Warfleet of the creek

Dartmouth makes a wonderful holiday base for walkers. As well as sitting on a stunning stretch of the South West Coast Path, this historic harbour town also offers a range of beautiful walking routes along the Dart Valley.

Take a look at our extensive range of holiday homes in Dartmouth and start planning for a week of fresh air and exercise amongst some truly stunning scenery.