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 East Prawle to Hallsands and Start Point 

Starting point  and OS Grid reference:

East Prawle village green – car parking with voluntary contribution       (SX 781364)

Ordnance Survey Map

OL20 South Devon – Brixham to Newton Ferrers.

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Distance: 8.5 miles

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Devon walk East Prawle to Hallsands and Start Point - sketch map

To view route as a dynamic Ordnance Survey map click here.

Introduction: This walk from East Prawle utilises the ancient bridleways cross country to Hallsands then returns via the Coast Path taking in Start Point, with its lighthouse, and Lannacombe. The bridleways can be muddy after wet weather but are festooned with wild flowers in spring/early summer. On various gate posts along the route of the Coast Path are labels giving the Ordnance Survey reference, which you can relate to the map to monitor progress.

The walk along the coast is particularly attractive, with good views around Start Bay across Slapton Sands towards the River Dart. From Start Point back to East Prawle, the coast is more rugged with interesting bays.

Overall, it is an easy walk but with a steep walk up a field at the end.

The village of Hallsands has an especially interesting and tragic history. This is very fully explained by information boards at the site but in a nutshell goes as follows. In 1894, the Royal navy wanted to extend Devonport Dockyard, for which they needed vast quantities of shingle (presumably for concrete). In 1897, they started dredging at Hallsands. Eventually, the beach level had dropped between 7 and 12 feet, undermining the cliffs. The winters of 1902/03 produced major storms which damaged the sea wall and houses. The pub collapsed. By 1917, the village had been destroyed and virtually abandoned. To make matter worse, it seems that the Government cheated the villagers out of compensation. Not much of the village now remains but it is interesting to see its precarious position.

Our starting point, East Prawle, is a sprawling yet picturesque village with a village green at the centre where you can park (voluntary contributions). There is a pub, a useful village store and toilets around the green.

There are a number of ways to get to East Prawle, all via single track roads with passing places but the least stressful way and easiest to find, is to turn south off the A379 near Stokenham, at the mini roundabout at Carehouse Cross (SX 804428) and follow the signs.

Start: From East Prawle village green (SX 781364), walk down the road in front of the Pig’s Nose pub and at the junction turn left then first right. Follow the lane passing Town Farm and a phone box next to a bench then, as the land bends to the left, take the bridleway to the right along a broad track (SX 781367).

East Prawle Village Green

At a junction of broad bridleways (SX 785368), turn left and when this track appears to go into a field, keep straight ahead.

The bridleway, with hedges either side, opens into a cultivated field and at the end of it, turn right along a tarmac lane signposted “Lannacombe Green 1½ miles” and “Woodcombe Sand ¾ mile”.

Follow the lane round one sharp left hand bend and at the next bend (sharp right), leave the road straight ahead, following the public footpath/bridleway fingerpost.

As the footpath/bridleway bends to the right, keep straight ahead following the fingerpost for “Lannacombe Green 1¼ miles”. Go through the gate then immediately through another gate. The path then goes diagonally downwards, passing to the left of a pond.

Pass the pond, go through the gate and turn right, following the public bridleway fingerpost.

At the next junction of bridleways, turn left and take the first right (SX 789377). This dog-leg, a legal diversion round the dwelling Higher Borough, is clearly indicated by green bridleway signs. As you come behind the dwelling, the track divides and you want the right hand fork for about 75 yards, before turning left (SX 790378) to follow the green bridleway sign.

Ignore a track which goes off to the left and follow the blue bridleway arrow along the right hand side of the field. The next section of this walk is clearly indicated by the blue bridleway arrows which you should continue to follow, descending a pretty valley until you reach a tarmac lane (SX 801383). Turn right here.

Stay on the lane to a junction and turn right following the road signs for Hallsands and Start point, ignoring the right turn to Lannacombe (although if you wanted to, you could shorten the walk here by walking down the road to Lannacombe to pick up the Coast Path). Shortly after passing the cottages at Hollowcombe, arrive at the crossroads at Hollowcombe Head and go straight ahead signposted “South Hallsands”. Follow the road to its end and see what is left of Hallsands village from the viewing platform and read the interesting information display (SX 818386).

       Hallsands         hallsands

View round Start Bay

Approaching Start Point

Returning from the viewing platform, turn left to follow the Coast Path to Start Point (SX 329372). The lighthouse there is sometimes open to the public.

Start Point lighthouse

From here, simply follow the well marked Coast path west. You pass Mattiscombe Sand (SX 817369), then Lannacombe (SX 801372), both attractive little bays with small beaches. At Lannacombe, you pass a fingerpost which tells you it is 2½ miles to Prawle Point (though this walk does not go that far). There are old mill stones lying by the Coast Path at Lannacombe which give a clue as to its history.

Mattiscombe sand


You pass an imposing house at Ivy Cove. There is a split in the path here but you want the right hand fork in front of the house.

Pass Malecombe House (SX 791363) with its mock Tudor frontage, then go through a walkers’ gate and across a field. The path bends right then left into the next field and at the end of that second field, arrive at a three-way fingerpost. Go straight ahead following “East Prawle ½ mile”.

As the path rises, look out for a post on the left with blue arrows indicating the bridleway fore and aft but also a yellow footpath arrow pointing right (SX 784361). Go right over a rather awkward stone stile. The path leads to the top right hand corner of the field where an equally awkward stile exits the field into a walled lane. Turn right here.

After passing the house “Bayfield”, turn right at the narrow tarmac road. Follow this road until it returns you to East Prawle village green.

If you need to buy any hiking equipment/clothing before your trip see the Hiking Store

All information on this site is given in good faith and no liability is accepted in respect of any damage, loss or injury which might result from acting on it.