The Dart Valley Trail is one of South Devon’s most favoured walking routes, and this comes as no surprise....
Here’s our visual guide to the circular walk from East Soar to Bolt Head and Starehole Bay, with optional detours to Soar Mill Cove, Overbecks House, South Sands or even Salcombe itself.
OS © Crown copyright 2018 CS-49390-P7H3Y2
To view the OS map for our Aveton Gifford to Bantham walk, please click here.
Starting point: East Soar National Trust car park
This is one of South Devon’s most popular walks, famous for the wild stretches of coastline and beautiful views of Salcombe you can enjoy. If you’re staying near South Sands or even in the centre of Salcombe, you can join up with this walk by making your way on foot to Overbecks House. Or, for a more manageable option, simply drive to East Soar car park (postcode for sat nav users: TQ7 3DR).
Destination: Bolt Head, Starehole Bay
Bolt Head and Starehole Bay offer some of the most magnificent views anywhere in South Devon. Despite being very close to Salcombe, you’ll experience a sense of seclusion that’s similar to when you’re exploring deepest Dartmoor.
One of the nice aspects of this walk is that it’s only moderately strenuous in parts, unless you’re really keen to head down the steep hills (and of course back up again!) to get nearer to the water, for example at Soar Mill Cove. Therefore, overall the walk is suitable for a wide range of walkers. There are also some lovely places to stop for a rest, with benches dotted along the journey at some of the most picturesque points.
1. From East Soar National Trust car park, return to the road rather than following the trail signs leading out of the back of the car park. Turn left and follow the road for a few hundred yards.
2. You’ll come to a brick building on your left. Take the right turn opposite.
3. Follow the trail, which passes to the left of a farmhouse.
4. Go through the gate behind the house and turn left. Go through the next gate.
5. Take a left and follow the trail alongside the wall. Alternatively, turn right and head to Soar Mill Cove.
6. With the water to your right and open fields to your left, it’s an easy walk to navigate, and you can choose whether to stay on the shortest trail or take detours at various points.
7. Go through the gate on your left.
8. Keep to the trail on the right rather than heading inland for the most breathtaking views.
9. Follow the well-worn path around the headland.
10. Continue to the crest of the hill.
11. Go through the gate. Follow the sign that points right towards Overbecks and Salcombe.
12. To your right, you’ll see a steep path downwards. Can you see the bench, placed perfectly to enjoy the scenery? Stay on your current path for an easier walk or take the right turn downhill for a more breathtaking (in both senses of the word!) option.
13. Let’s assume you’ve chosen the more ‘efficient’ option, sticking to the higher ground.
At the corner of the field you’ll see a sign pointing downhill. The steps are uneven so take care.
14. Make your way back up the hill towards the tor.
15. The sign at the top will help you regain your bearings. Follow the arrow pointing towards Sharp Tor, Overbecks and South Sands.
16. Look behind you! Starehole Bay is a wonderful sight.
17. Follow the trail. You’ll come to another perfectly placed bench. This one has stunning views of Salcombe and the Kingsbridge Estuary. Speaking of benches…
18. A little further along, another bench sits above Salcombe.
19. Carry on past this bench towards the water – ten yards ahead of it, there’s another seat with even better views. This is also the site of a memorial which commemorates the 1916 Salcombe lifeboat disaster. It’s a beautiful spot for quiet contemplation.
20. Continue on the hedged path.
21. The trail gives way to steps downhill.
22. At the foot of the steps, you’ll come to a sign. Take a right if you’d like to go to Overbecks, South Sands or even Salcombe. Take a left to make your way back to East Soar car park.
1. Follow the path lined with trees. Farmland will soon appear in front of you.
2. Make your way along the trail through the field. The windsocks ahead are useful landmarks – walk towards them.
3. Exit through the gate and follow the sign left towards East Soar car park.
4. Follow this lane a few hundred yards until you reach the car park.
Salcombe makes a fantastic base for a walking holiday, with wonderful countryside and coastal trails to choose from. Take a look at our range of stunning Salcombe holiday homes here and start looking forward to a break filled with fresh air and exercise amongst some truly spectacular scenery.
Find out more about our favourite South Devon walks here.