Pull on your boots for the grand tor

Walk of the Month: Malborough, South Devon - Mark Rowe finds rugged scenery and Bronze Age remains along the Devon coast

We head this month to the Kingsbridge Estuary, which divides the South Hams of Devon as it tumbles towards the sea. This walk follows some of the footpaths by the sea, offering superb coastal views, and passes two enigmatic hill forts.

Start in the village of Malborough. Make your way along Lower Town and turn right down Well Hill. Just as the road bears right, keep straight ahead along the footpath. This swings round to the right, where you follow the signed path in front of the farmhouse. Follow the track across a stream and bear left uphill.

There are views to the east of the top of Bolt Head, the western edge of the jaws of the Kingsbridge estuary, as you climb before dropping down past Furzedown Farm and up again to the lane. Turn left and, after 50 yards, take the footpath signposted for Bolberry over a stile on your right. Cross the field along the diagonal path and cut across a second field before joining the field edge. Cross over a stone stile on to a lane and turn left, signposted for the coast-path link, heading down through the farm buildings and on to a grassy, winding track.

Tantalising views of the sea loom ahead, fragmented by the striking contours of Hazel Tor. At a cattle gate, pass through and head downhill. At the T-junction of paths, underneath a mass of striking granite boulders that remind you that Dartmoor is just 25 miles away, keep straight ahead for Bolberry Down.

Walk up to the gate and turn right to join the South West Coast Path. Keep on the path for the next two miles, passing the National Trust car park. Views westward suddenly open up: the coast path sweeps down to dramatic Bolt Tail; to the right is sheltered Hope Cove and beyond, crumbling rocky outcrops edge out into the sea, resembling giant windbreaks. On a clear day you can see Eddystone Lighthouse beyond Plymouth Sound, St Austell and Mevagissey, 30 miles distant by sea. To the north are the wild tors of Dartmoor.

Follow the coast path down to and around Bolt Tail and the remnants of a hill fort dated to between 500 and 600BC. The ramparts are clearly visible as you approach – they were built on three sides, with the sheer cliffs forming the impregnable fourth side.

Loop back out of the hill fort and follow the coast path down to Inner Hope and turn left, and first left again uphill, waymarked for Outer Hope. Drop down through the village – it would be a strong-willed walker who would keep their pace past the Hope and Anchor pub.

Climb uphill again, picking up the coast path and keep ahead uphill, past the last house in the village. You then turn right along a footpath signposted Galmpton and follow this straight path for a mile or so. Turn left down the road where it joins the path, and then turn right, signposted for South Huish. Follow this winding track to a junction where you turn right. You soon come to the hauntingly beautiful remains of lonely St Andrew's Church, maintained by the Friends of Friendless Churches. Just beyond the church, turn right uphill up a classic country lane. At a junction, dog-leg across, following signs for Malborough and follow this lane back to the village.

If you have time at the end, a one-mile diversion leads to Burleigh Dolts earthworks. Just before the Old Inn in Malborough turn left down Chapel Lane to a junction and dog-leg across to follow a fingerpost sign, pass through a gate and continue with the field edge first on your right and then on your left. Follow the path round to a kissing gate and open fields which are home to Burleigh Dolts. Dated to the middle to late Iron Age, between 350BC and AD50, they are less conspicuous than the workings at Bolt Tail and lie under a fenced-off mound covered with woodland. Archaeological remains below the mound are thought to include ramparts, ditches, and two Bronze Age barrows. Retrace your steps to the village.

Compact Facts

Distance: 10 miles

Time: Four hours

OS Map: OL20 South Devon

How to get there

Mark Rowe stayed at Court Barton courtesy of Toad Hall Cottages (01548 853089; toadhallcottages.co.uk).

Further information

For more details about the region call 01626 215674 or go to visitsouth devon.co.uk. For information about the South Devon walking festival, which runs from this weekend until 11 October, go to southdevonwalkingfestival.co.uk.

Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    Day In a Page

    Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
    How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

    Heavy weather

    What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
    World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

    World Bodypainting Festival 2015

    Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
    alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

    Don't call us nerds

    Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
    How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

    How to find gold

    Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
    Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

    Not born in the USA

    Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
    10 best balsamic vinegars

    10 best balsamic vinegars

    Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
    Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

    Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

    Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
    Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

    Greece referendum

    Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
    Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

    7/7 bombings anniversary

    Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

    Versace haute couture review

    Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
    No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

    No hope and no jobs in Gaza

    So the young risk their lives and run for it
    Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

    Fashion apps

    Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy