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Cove Hopping on the Devon Coast
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Cove Hopping on the Devon Coast

8th September 2021

Your guide to an afternoon spent drinking beers (optional) and jumping off rocks into crystal clear water, with Jess and Charlie of the Travel Project.

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Difficulty:

This is really an entry level adventure. All elements can be conducted at a leisurely pace and, as long as you’re a comfortable swimmer, are all very easy to achieve.

Time:

We took 4-5 hours over the experience but could have happily spent longer.

The Adventure:

We were staying near Galmpton, a small town near the mouth of the river Dart, Devon, for the weekend. On the Saturday we wanted to head out on an adventure, and so took a lunchtime foot ferry from Greenwood to Dartmouth, costing us £10 per person and taking roughly 30 minutes. There are several different ferry options to reach Dartmouth along the river all of which are easy and beautiful journeys.

More info on ferries and times

We disembarked in the old parish town and began to walk through it’s old streets taking in the charm of this typical Devon coastal town, bright buildings, bustling pubs and fish and chips shops coming together with the June sunshine to create a truly British atmosphere. We were heading for Dartmouth Castle, a picturesque 40 minute walk along the coast. This part of the journey was beautiful as the river meets the sea and during the summer the water buzzes with boats, paddle boarders and swimmers.

Before long we reached the castle, which is in fact an old artillery fort, built in the 1380’s to protect against the threat of the French. A small beautifully designed building, the castle sits proudly, built into the rock of the shoreline. Now I'll be honest, that's about as much as we know about the castle as we quite quickly became sidetracked by The Castle Tea Rooms, a small cafe at the front of the castle, that sold everything from well made coffee and tea to delicious baked goods and really tasty sandwiches. If you are tackling this adventure around lunch time, we highly recommend grabbing a quick sandwich here and adding it to your cool bag to eat on the beach, it saves you having to prep that morning and safeguards against soggy sandwich syndrome. If you are a fan of crab then grabbing your lunch here is a no brainer, the crab sandwich was on another level, a gift from the seafood sarnie gods.

Anyway enough about sandwiches, you get the picture, they were good.

So, now armed with a cooler full of cold beers and sandwiches we just needed somewhere picturesque to consume them. This is probably a good point to mention that you will certainly not be short of exceptional views along that route and all of them will be quite tempting to stop at for lunch, however, if you are after an escape from the crowds it is wise to plug on just beyond for your slice of Devon bliss.

From the castle follow the path up and along, where you will soon find yourselves on the South-West Coast Path, follow that towards the coast. The path is a 630 mile coastal path that runs from Cornwall, through Devon and into Dorset, hugging the shoreline and giving you access to some extraordinary views along the way.
Cove Hopping on the Devon Coast Cove Hopping on the Devon Coast
The path led us through gorgeous forests, along little tracks before eventually opening up as we reached the mouth of the river and could see the open ocean. At times it felt like we were going the wrong way, however we persevered and soon, the packed pathways had disappeared and we were the only ones around. We peeked over the raised hedges to our left and soon found the perfect spot away. A grassy verge ran into dark rock before dropping off into clear blue ocean, it was glorious.

We spent the next couple of hours eating our sandwiches, sipping on cold beers and jumping into the sea. With turquoise water and blues skies we could have just as well have been on the Med… let's not get into the water temperature right now, but let’s just say it was refreshing.

Once we had had enough with one cove we simply moved on around the corner and found a new one.

This adventure is the perfect example of what you can achieve if you push on just a little further than the crowds. The truth is that most people are happy just to stick to the beaten track and feel like veering off away from the masses is gamble not worth taking. Our opinion is the opposite, ti is always a gamble worth taking and in this case one that has a dramatic payoff.

When we were all satisfied we packed up our empties, dry offed and retraced our steps back to harbour, where we caught the last ferry of the day back to Greenway.

What an afternoon.
Cove Hopping on the Devon Coast Cove Hopping on the Devon Coast

The Numbers:

/ 5 hrs

/ 3.5 km walked

/ 3 coves discovered

/ 13.2c water temp

/ £25pp (ferry, lunch and beers)

Conclusion:

The perfect way to spend a summer’s afternoon. With huge rewards for those willing to head slightly off the beaten track, this stretch of Devon coast is lined with hidden coves where you can leap from the rocks into beautiful blue waters… and all for free!
Follow Jess and Charlie's achievable adventures around the UK @the.travel.project

Where to stay on the south Devon coast

Our pick of where to stay for your own glorious seaside adventures on the coastline of south Devon.

The Lodge

nr. Plymouth - Devon

Sleeps 4

A cute and cosy place for a real family holiday, The Lodge is down on the farm and right by the sea - with lots both children and adults will love

The Beach Hut

nr. Plymouth - Devon

Sleeps 2

Delightful off-grid South Devon beach hut in the most jaw dropping location with a hot tub, barbecue and its own private beach - The ultimate romantic bolthole.

Seacombe

East Portlemouth - Devon

Sleeps 7 + 2

Uber stylish award winning coastal pad between East Portlemouth and East Prawle. Mesmerising sea-views and minimalist interiors

Merchants House Salcombe

Salcombe - Devon

Sleeps 8

Luxurious four bedroom house in Salcombe with landscaped gardens, historic interiors and close proximity to the Devon coast

Beam Ends

Beesands - Devon

Sleeps 8

Spectacular holiday home by the sea in Devon with amazing views, modern features, and plenty of space to spread out and relax in style.

Maritime Suites

Brixham - Devon

Sleeps 2 per suite

These five luxury suites offer seaside views in the stunning harbour town of Brixham, offering unfettered access to the Devonshire countryside.

Evie's Cottage Brixham

Brixham - Devon

Sleeps 8

A charming country cottage bursting with traditional features, and a gorgeous hot tub, in the bustling harbour town of Brixham.

Landward Cottage

Near Hallsands - Devon

Sleeps 5

Views in abundance, sandy beaches to explore, coastal walks to take...relax at this lighthouse in Devon.

The Mariner's House

Strete - Devon

Sleeps 4

A couples' bolthole nestled in a picturesque village, just minutes from the gorgeous South Devon coast.

Penveron

Dittisham - Devon

Sleeps 6

An ideal location for an English holiday to remember, with beautiful beaches to go crabbing, pubs to sip a local ale and pretty villages to explore...all from this pretty cottage with a view.

The Barn

Modbury - Devon

Sleeps 7

This charming barn conversion offers a tranquil escape in the market town of Modbury near the South Devon AONB.

Beach Huts & Beach Suites at Cary Arms

Babbacombe - Devon

Sleeps 2 per hut

Fabulous Devon beach huts and luxury beach suites located in an enviable beachfront position on the English Riviera

Shaldon Beach Hut 1

Shaldon - Devon

Sleeps 4

Stunning luxury waterfront hut on the South Devon coast in a wonderfully idyllic village location. Shaldon Beach Hut 1 is the ultimate quirky getaway

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