Coastal walks in Devon with a coffee pitstop
Going stir crazy locked up inside? Stretch your legs and refuel en route with these brilliant local coast walks, all with pitstops for coffee and cake. Grab your wellies and go!
Braunton to Barnstaple, Tarka Trail, easy, 8.5km
Walk the route: A flat route along the River Taw taking you past Velator Wetlands. A popular cycling route with littlies too as it’s pretty much traffic-free except for two quiet places with bike crossings.
Coffee stop: Order a takeaway brunch box to go before you set off from siblings Joe and Ella (above) from Heartbreak Hotel Coffee (open for takeaway Sat 13 – 14 Feb). I’d also recommend their Allpress coffee and one of their legendary doughnuts. And good news for anyone doing the Morte Point walk for some seal spotting they’ll be cracking open their horse box for takeaway at nearby Coombes Gate from April.
Ilfracombe Torrs, 45 mins, Challenging, 5.2km
Walk the route: A steep zigzag walk that takes you from the Victorian Quay via a long wooded valley to The Torrs, also known as the The Seven Hills. It’ll get your heart a-pumping but the ace views out over the Bristol Channel are worth it.
Coffee stop: For vittles, head to Stacc newly opened on The Promenade (open Thurs-Sunday 10am – 4pm) and getting a LOT of local love for their in-house baked cake and cookies, and excellent coffee.
Croyde to Baggy Point, circular walk, 3.2km, easy
Walk the route: A choice of two family friendly walks, a short or a longer loop around the Point, from where you can see Lundy and look back across Croyde bay back to the Grand Designs ‘Lighthouse’ or cut back across the fields. I’m told if you do the latter, it’s definitely a wellies job at the mo though.
Coffee stop: Once you’ve blown away the cobwebs, go blow away your taste buds at the New Coast Kitchen, previously an events biz owned by Matt and Nicole. Last October they took over the old Croyde stores and turned it into an exciting eatery, which is so good, I can hear the bongo drums beating down here in East Devon. By day they’ve got a pop-up hatch (Thurs to Sat 9am – 1pm) doing breakfast quesadilla, Cuban sandwiches ‘porcubano’, coffee and pastries and to order for evening collection, a mix of meat and veggie which have already got the locals talking, including chicken shawarma, Korean Fried burgers and bao buns (Thurs – Sat 4 -8.30pm). Muddy review coming soon.
The Goat Walk, Topsham, Easy/dog-friendly, 2.5 miles
Walk the route: An estuary-side meander starting in the pretty town, ambling past Dutch merchant houses, down to the Exe and then rounding back on yourself through country lanes. Good with kids and olds, with opps for plenty of twitching en route.
Coffee stop: Stop by Sara’s Petite Cuisine for her delicious medley of Portuguese and French patisserie, including sellout almond croissants, pasteis de nata, colourful buns with quirky fillings and all so prettily served with pink takeaway cups and napkins. And she just nabbed Patisserie of the year 2020/21. Obrigado!
Exmouth Seafront, easy, 2-7km
Walk the route: Exmouth is blessed with a long, golden-sand beach with views of the estuary in one direction and the ocean waves, often dotted with kite surfers doing their stuff, in the other. You can stay beachside, starting at the marina and walk the length of the seafront, alternatively stomp up the Zigzag to Orcombe Point for a seagull’s eye view, where the Geoneedle marks the most westerly point of the Jurassic Coast. Only 96 miles to the other end if you want to keep going.
Coffee stop: Muddy loves to hang out at the new Hangtime, a wooden takeaway hut slap bang in the middle of the beachfront. Launched by keen kite-surfers Meg and Olly in lockdown, their thing is to bring a healthy alternative to the standard seaside stodge, including their acai bowl (pictured above): a smoothie filled with fresh fruit, granola, coconut and cacao nibs. Plus, premium brand coffee, soup, shakes, bakes and doggy ice-cream for the pooch. Open daily, 9am – 4.30pm.
Labrador Bay, Shaldon, challenging, 7km
Walk the route: An up-and-down coastal cliff walk, definitely not for buggy-pushers and toddlers, but brilliant for getting your in your 10k steps and taking in the views of Lyme Bay. I saw dolphins from here once and have been looking longingly at the waves ever since. Now we have to do with the majestic sight of the ghost ships, parked up in the bay for lockdown.
Coffee stop: There isn’t a coffee stop I don’t like in Shaldon and there are a few, but Tim Bouget’s Ode Cafe, pips it for the quality of his home-cooked food, award-winning ecological ethos and the cafe’s highflying vantage point, overlooking the Teign estuary and Teignmouth beyond. Plus, it’s right next the public car park and public loos which comes in handy. Open for takeaway Thurs – Sunday, 9am – 5pm in lockdown.
Brixham to the Breakwater, easy, 4km
Walk the route: Take a gentle amble though the fishing town down to the long breakwater, ideal for buggies and/or wheelchairs. Kids will enjoy the replica of the Golden Hind in the harbour but you’ll need to watch young kids near the water’s edge as there are no railings. If you’re hands-free though, there is plenty of insta fodder – fishing boats, creels and rows of colourful houses perched along the harbourside.
Coffee stop: Don’t miss the chance to get your chops around The Curious Kitchen‘s legendary home-made doughnuts. Made fresh every day, with the flavours changing regularly. Fans are forever messaging chef Ash begging him to put their fave on the day’s menu. Pre-order before you set out here. Open daily, 9am – 4pm.
Torquay Harbour to Meadfoot Beach, moderate, 6.4km
Walk the route: A south west coast path walk, with a mix of urban and coast, taking in Torquay’s best bits of harbour, past the sadly now closed Living Coasts and the definitely still going-strong Michelin-starred Elephant Restaurant. There is a bit of a climb up to Daddyhole Plain and then back down to the shingly beach at Meadfoot. Good for pushchairs and panoramic views.
Coffee stop: Muddy is hearing a lotta good things from Torquay folk about WeSup on the Marina, currently a kid and dog-friendly coffee takeaway but also a hip and happening paddle board hire shop run by a lovely crew. Can’t wait to check out their fresh bakes and pastries, and come summer, a Salcombe Gin cocktail on their harbourside terrace. Open daily, 10am – 4pm.
Starcross to Turf Locks, Exe Estuary, easy, 4.8km
Walk the route: Part of the bucolic Exe Estuary Trail where the road, rail and water run side by side with the deer park of Powderham stretching leafily up towards the Earl of Devon’s seat to your left. At the church, if you take the righthand path signposted ‘Turf Locks’ it will get you right next to the water where you can see the wading birds and moored boats and see the Turf Locks – a brilliant waterside pub that can’t be reached by cars – opening in spring (we hope) and from where you can catch the ferry over to Topsham in the summer season. Good for cyclists too.
Coffee stop: Grab an Exe Coffee roaster from the friendly folk of Teign Bean, parked up in Starcross car park. A great brew and the brownies are rather tasty too. Their other coffee cabin is to be found parked up in the car park at Haldon Woods if you’re walking to the Obelisk. Check FB page for hours before you go.
Royal William Yard and Devil’s Point, Plymouth
Walk the route: Just want a brew and a quick sea view, with some award-winning Grade I listed military architecture thrown in? Head to Royal William Yard and take the staircase (the ‘Stairway to Devon’) up to Devil’s Point where rumour has it witches were once dispatched for stunning great views of The Sound.
Coffee stop: Stop off at The Hutong, happily back open after a refurb and fresh from doing great work helping Devon kids get laptops during lockdown. They’ve not been slacking – Jack, Ems and George are now rocking a micro-bakery making amazing bagels. Open for takeaway (nice and early for caffeine addicts) Fri – Mon, 7.30am – 2.30pm.
Kingswear and Brownstone Battery, Kingswear, challenging, 7.9km
Walk the route: A steep, up and down coast path route, with castles, Dart River views, oodles of military history with some coastal property porn thrown in. So something for everyone.
Coffee stop: Moor at 13‘s brunch offerings are smaller (but still perfectly formed) during lockdown. Drop in for coffee, and for owner Lottie’s scrambled eggs and sweet French toast, it’s a BIG seller. She’s also currently acting as the local stores, selling bread and essential bits but just for lockdown as Lottie says one business is quite enough thank you. Open everyday 9.30am – 12pm, closed Tues/Weds plus evening takeaway Fri/Monday and all weekend.