The Romans had a saying: “It is solved by walking”. The proverb was used as a cure-all for any of the many problems that life tends to throw our way, and the advice was practical: keep going and the solution will present itself. There’s no doubt that a hike is good for the mind. The automatic and repetitive nature of putting one foot in front of the other helps us declutter our minds, to look at problems afresh when we come back to them. When you couple that with the obvious health benefits of physical exercise and the spiritual effects of surrounding yourself with the natural world, it’s clear to see why hiking in Devon is such a popular pastime.
Hiking in Devon is also one of the best ways to get to know the region and its many hidden delights. Down in the South Hams, there is something to suit all ages and abilities, from gentle beach strolls to cross country treks.
If you’re looking to get healthy or escape the congestion of the city, why not make hiking in Devon a key focus of your next holiday? The best way to take in as much as possible is to rent one of the many luxury South Devon holiday cottages or apartments in the area to use as your base. That way you’ll have your own space when you return after an day of hiking in Devon.
The South Hams really spoils us for choice when it comes to hiking trails, but we’ll keep things simple here with three of the best local trails.
1. East Portlemouth To Gara Rock. This short, circular hiking trail is just over three miles and is a perfect summer stroll. Starting out on the Salcombe estuary you’ll get a bit of everything: beaches at East Portlemouth, woodland peppered with bluebells and a piece of this famous stretch of Coastal Path.
2. Dartmouth To Greenway. This is a longer trek and good for those who want a moderate challenge, but don’t want to feel like they’ve climbed Everest when they slump down on the sofa in their holiday cottage. Starting at Dartmouth you’ll get to take in the splendour of the Dart Valley, with its luscious woodland scenery. There are plenty of pit-stops on the way, but due to the rougher terrain and a couple of steep climbs, this isn’t suitable for little ones or pushchairs.
3. Salcombe To Hope Cove. This is a linear route, so either be prepared for the hike back, or catch one of the buses that runs between the two. From Salcombe you’ll follow the rugged coastline, though it’s a relatively gentle walk for the most part except for a couple of steep climbs. The views over the sea are incredible and there are plenty of coves to explore and little detours you can take off the path, including to the remains of an old Iron Age fort as you near Hope Cove.
We have lots more information about the best South Devon walks here. If the prospect of hiking in Devon appeals to you, consider taking a holiday in the beautiful South Hams. The best part is that you’ll never be far from a welcoming pub or a town or village to help break up your trek. Pull on your boots, grab your hiking sticks and find out why Devon is one of the UK’s best destinations for hiking holidays.