Starts/Finishes: Labrador Bay Car Park (GR: SX930704)
Time: 1 – 1.5 hours
Distance: Approx. 2.5 miles
Terrain: Steps, natural footpath, grassy trails. Suitable footwear required.
Labrador Bay Circular Walk
From the car park, (1) head south – away from the entrance – keeping the main road to your right and take the footpath into the field through a gate. Follow along the edge of this field parallel to the main road before it bends around to the left then immediately right. (2) Here, turn left at the footpath marker, and then right to follow along the ridge in the field and then down and through another gate. Enjoy views of the coastline all the way down to Torquay as you stride.
This area of land was acquired by the RSPB in 2008 in conjunction with the Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust to protect bird and wildflower species – one of which is the cirl bunting whose population was in rapid decline until recent years and due to their work.
(3) At the next hedgerow, go through and take the path heading left towards the coast. As you reach the cliff edge you’ll now find yourself at the coastal path. (4) Turn left here to follow the coastal path north, keeping the sea to your right.
As you follow along the coastal path for just over a mile you’ll experience the rollercoaster ups and downs that this famous route is synonymous with. Along the way the path plunges and climbs providing rewarding coastal views at the high points and chance to examine the coves and cliffs to your immediate right more closely – first with Border Cove, followed by Badger Cove shortly after.
(5) After you climb the steps up from Badger Cove you’re sent right back down again but this time through a section of captivating woodland.
Once you’ve crossed the small but charming wooden footbridge you’ll begin to emerge back out into the open. On your right now is Labrador Bay, where the remains of a World War II boat still lies today amongst large rocks fallen from the cliffs above. (6) From here, it’s time to climb the final steep ascent along the edge of the field. Make sure you turn around at the top to enjoy more spectacular coastal views!
(7) If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, continue north along the coastal path to Ness Cove – accessed via an old eighteenth century smuggler’s tunnel that once secretly connected the beach to Shaldon and Teignmouth where goods were stored.
(8) Otherwise, turn left and follow the path up between the hedgerows until you meet the road. Turn left again to follow the footpath back into the top end of the car park where you started.
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This manageable there and back route offers easy walking and wheeling along the eastern side of the reservoir and to the dams, plus additional access to the wildlife trail in the Burrator Arboretum