With its magical stretch of sandy beach, fringed by calm, clear azure waters and plush green hillside, North Sands...
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.
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.
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.
1. From Dartmouth, make your way towards Newcomen Road. Follow this road away from the town.
2. In around half a mile you’ll come to the hamlet of Warfleet. Turn left down Castle Road.
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.
4. Follow the road uphill. (Heading down the path pictured on the left will take you to Sugary Cove.)
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!
6. Pass through the kissing gate, walk along the ridge of the hill and go through that gate.
7. Walk along the track, which is mostly lined with high hedges. Go through the gate at the end.
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).
9. Carry on down this road.
10. Have your camera ready! The scenery around this winding stretch of road is especially attractive.
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.
12. Cross the road and make your way across the park. Exit the park to the left of the boules area.
13. Turn right out of the gate and follow the road for a hundred yards or so.
14. Leave the road through the alley to the left. There is a yellow sign indicating the Coast Path.
15. Continue straight, heading in the direction of the church.
16. At the crossroad, carry straight on.
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!
18. Make your way down the hill.
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!
20. Leave the roadside when the path appears, making your way through the forest.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2. Back at Little Dartmouth car park, turn right and walk up to the gate at the far end.
3. Go through the gate and walk down the hill.
4. Go through the gate at the bottom. Follow the trail left.
5. Or… carry on straight/take a slight right to uncover a secluded picnic table – the perfect place for a pit-stop!
6. Follow the trail down the hill.
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.
8. Follow the trail out of this field and 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.)
10. Go through the gate. Take the central path.
11. When the woodland clears, go down the hill to your right.
12. Why not take a quick detour? Instead of following the trail around to the left, go through the gate and turn right.
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!)
14. Back on the beaten path, follow the trail along the bottom of the field. Go through the gate at the end.
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.
16. When you rejoin the single track road, continue downhill.
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.
18. Just past the castle, you’ll find the stop for the Dartmouth Castle Ferry – a good option for those with tired legs!
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.
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.