The South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty boasts picturesque river valleys, unspoilt farmland, and miles of unbroken trails on the South West Coast Path. These seven South Devon walks provide a wide variety of landscapes and different levels of challenge, from a level stroll through Avon Valley Woods to a coastal trek towards rugged Gara Rock.
1. Loddiswell circular
This walk along the old railway line through Avon Valley Woods is ideal for sunny days, being mostly shaded and largely level throughout. It’s probably the easiest of all the South Devon walks in this list, but the terrain can be challenging in other ways, with occasional trees to clamber over and some crooked steps to climb along the river. Expect lovely views of the sparking river and banks, and why not stop for a cream tea at Avon Mill café?
Get directions to Loddiswell car park and full route information from our Avon Valley Woods walk guide.
2. East Soar circular
Somehow combining the gentle greenery of the South Hams with the rugged, rocky landscape of Dartmoor, the unique scenery between Salcombe and Bolt Tail will take your breath away – as, it should be said, will some of the hills! This circular route from East Soar will take you to the edge of Salcombe and back, providing a series of stunning panoramas along the way.
3. Dartmouth to Blackpool Sands
A classic, partly circular walk mostly along the South West Coast Path, this route brings you beautiful views of Dartmouth harbour and Kingswear from the outset, followed by the pretty hamlet of Warfleet and finally out to sea, as you make your way to a stunning Blue Flag beach. Stopping at the Green Dragon for a meal or drink on the way is practically a rite of passage, and there’s a popular Venus Café at Blackpool Sands too.
Get directions and see photos of the walk from Dartmouth to Blackpool Sands here.
If you’re a golf enthusiast, find local golf courses here, one of which is in Dartmouth.
4. Salcombe to Gara Rock circular
This popular trail will take you from the picture-postcard beauty of Salcombe and East Portlemouth to the craggy coastline around Gara Rock and back again. Gara Rock beach (officially known as Seacombe Sands) is a great spot for a peaceful picnic, especially when the tide is out.
Stop for a coffee or snack at Gara Rock café at the top of the hill or wait until your walk is nearly complete when you’ll have two al fresco options: a tasty crepe at the Lollapalooza van by Mill Bay, or a treat at Venus Takeaway next to East Portlemouth beach.
Take a look at our dedicated guide to walking from Salcombe to Gara Rock.
5. Dartmouth to Greenway and Dittisham
Dartmouth and Kingswear have the distinction of being on both the South West Coast Path and the Dart Valley Trail, two wonderful walking routes that every keen hiker has to try. From Dartmouth you can walk directly to Dittisham through the beautiful Raleigh Estate. Stop at the Ferry Boat Inn or Anchorstone Café before hopping over the river to Greenway. Explore the former home and gardens of Dame Agatha Christie, now run by the National Trust, or make your way along the valley back to Kingswear.
This is one of the best-loved of all South Devon walks, not least as it takes in the estate that Dame Agatha called ‘the loveliest place on earth’.
Find out more about walking the Dart Valley Trail.
6. Thurlestone circular
This four-mile circular walk between Thurlestone Sands/South Milton Sands and Bantham Beach provides beautiful views of two of South Devon’s best-known landmarks – Thurlestone Rock and Burgh Island – as well as unspoilt fields and a choice of two popular local pubs! For a little more challenge, you could start and finish at picturesque Hope Cove, itself home to two excellent eateries.
All you need to know about this trail is here in our visual guide to the circular walk from Thurlestone to Bantham Beach.
7. Beesands-Hallsands circular
Start Bay is a haven for swimmers, sunbathers, hikers, dog-owners, foodies, history buffs, birdwatchers and just about everyone else with a passion for the great outdoors. There are so many points of interest along this 13-mile stretch of coastline, from the Blue Flag-awarded fine-shingle beach at Blackpool Sands, to the expansive bays at Slapton Sands and Beesands, to rugged Hallsands and finally the iconic lighthouse at Start Point. Best of all, you can walk it all (and further) on an unbroken trail along the South West Coast Path.
This walk connects the traditional fishing village of Beesands with historic Hallsands, before turning inland through green lanes and patchwork fields.
Learn more about this circular walk between Beesands and Hallsands here.
These seven South Devon walks offer just a flavour of the many trails open to you within the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which made our region the perfect place for a walking break.
Choose a holiday home on the South West Coast Path, Dart Valley Trail or indeed anywhere in South Devon, where you’ll find an array of unforgettable walks on your doorstep.