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 Salcombe to East Prawle

Starting point  and OS Grid reference:

Ferry jetty at East Portlemouth (SX 743387)

Ordnance Survey Map

OL20 South Devon – Brixham to Newton Ferrers.

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Distance:  8.45 miles

Traffic light rating:

(For explanation see My Walks page)

   Memory Map.jpg    gpx logo.jpg  

For advice on .gpx files see         My Walks page

 Click the PDF logo above to give a printable version of this walk without the photos.

  Devon walk Salcombe to East Prawle - sketch map

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

Introduction: This is a walk with beautiful coastal views, access to lovely beaches and probably the finest view of Salcombe itself. To create a circular walk, road walking is necessary from East Prawle back to East Portlemouth but the roads are very quiet and there are good views inland towards Dartmoor. The amber traffic light is marginal but arises because there is a lot of “up and down” between the mouth of estuary and Prawle Point. No “up” or “down” is especially long but there are a lot of them!

I make an assumption that most people would start from Salcombe, using the ferry because Salcombe is more easily accessible by car and public transport. You could start from East Portlemouth if you went down the other side of the “estuary” (actually a “ria” not an estuary but commonly referred to as an estuary). There is a National Trust car park at Mill Bay.

To get to Salcombe, take the A381 out of Kingsbridge and keep going! There are two potential pay and display car parks in Salcombe. One is on Shadycombe Road which you pass on your way to the other at Gould Road. There is another on Fore Street but it is tiny, your chances of getting a space there infinitesimal and by then you will be in the one way system and past all central car parks. There is free street parking on Devon Road . A copy of the street map is attached to the PDF document.

Ferry jetty at East Portlemouth

Start: For ease of reference, the walk description starts at the ferry jetty on the East Portlemouth side of the estuary (SX 743387). There is a continuously running ferry during the day from Salcombe to this jetty but check the ferry times. It is a long way round if you miss the last one (although water taxis are available). Although I do not normally give times because everyone walks at different rates, to help ensure you do not miss the ferry, I will tell you the 3 mile walk from East Prawle to the ferry took my wife and I 1 hour and 20 minutes at a very leisurely amble

At the top of the jetty, turn right following the sign for Mill Bay. Note the steep steps on the left signed East Portlemouth which are the return route.

At Mill Bay (SX 742382) where there is a National Trust car park, turn right on to the coastal footpath signposted “Gara Rock 2˝ miles”. On reaching a fork with a footpath post bearing yellow arrows, bear right and at the next fork signed “Beach Only” to the right, keep left. The beach in question is the aptly named Sunny Cove.

Salcombe Estuary

Sunny Cove Salcombe

On reaching a bend where there is a bench, ignore the path to the left.

It is now a case of following the coastal path to the coastguard lookout at Prawle Point. En route, it is worth the diversion to the old thatched Rickham Coastguard station above Gara Rock. This was built in 1847 as a vantage point for the “Preventative Water Guard” who looked out for smugglers and ships in distress.

    Rickham Sands               Old Coastguard lookout

Descend from here and stay on the coast path (there is a very nice beach here- Rickham Sands) and another at the lovely Maceley Cove (marked by a footpath post). 

Gammon Head and Maceley Cove

Gammon Head

After passing through an ancient boundary wall of upright stones, the more modern coastguard station  comes into view (now manned by volunteers – they will show you round if you want a brief diversion). Head towards this and after the next gate, take the middle option of the three paths to see the coastguard station, otherwise take the left path.

Walk past the old coastguard cottages (SX 774353) to the bottom of the field and at a gate (without going through it), turn left and follow the tarmac lane to East Prawle.

Coastguard cottages at Prawle Point

The centre of East Prawle has public toilets and on the village green is a general store which has sandwiches/drinks or there is the Pigs Nose pub.

Our route heads out of the village straight ahead with the public toilets and phone box on your left. Stay on the “main road” as it bends left and turn left at the road junction (SX 780365) just after the last house on the left. At the next road junction, turn left (signed East Portlemouth). On the horizon, you can see Dartmoor.


When you get to East Portlemouth, as the road swings sharp right (SX 746386), straight ahead is some rough parking and beyond this a tarmac path and steps take you down to the ferry.

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.