On a dry, cool morning 16 Torbay Ramblers set out from the Stag Lodge entrance to the National Trust Saltram Estate, to walk a 13 mile circular route taking in the Plym Valley.
The initial part of the walk took us down the Dell, where spring flowers, such as primroses and bluebells were abundant.
We skirted Blaxton Meadow and because the tide was out, there were only a few waterfowl to be seen. Once alongside the River Plym we stopped for coffee on the bank opposite the Princess Yachts complex (previously the Royal Marines Commando Logistics Regiment camp). We then passed alongside the Riverside Caravan Park onto a muddy track through woods, crossing the river over a bridge. After the crossing we tracked through some fields, seeing some action on the restored Plym Valley Woodland Railway. After crossing another river bridge we carried on up a steepish track into the NT Plymbridge Woods.
This old tramway track was created to enable granite to be brought from Dartmoor down to the River Plym at Marsh Mills. We passed the grounds of Wrigleys chewing gum factory before reaching Elizabeth bridge. We then negotiated a short stretch of the disused railway line (now the National Cycle Network route 27 from Plymouth to Okehampton). After crossing a viaduct we went up and onto a wide logging trail. This meandered for a while before dropping back down to the River Plym where lunch was taken.
After our break we continued along the river until we came under the viaduct crossed earlier, after a short, sharp climb up alongside this viaduct we came back out onto the NCN 27 again. A short stretch then took us to Cann Viaduct where there was the opportunity to view nesting Peregrine Falcons, via telescopes, in the old Cann Slate Quarry. These birds have been annual visitors to the quarry for several years and are monitored by the National Trust, and volunteers, under the Plymbridge Peregrine Falcon scheme.
We then headed back down to the riverside again to pick up the disused Cann Quarry Canal, once used to transport slate to Marsh Mills. This path took us to the bridge at Plymbridge, where we crossed fields once more onto the NCN 27 at Lee Moor Crossing, thence back to Coypool and on into the Saltram estate where we picked up the boundary walk back to Stag Lodge and our cars.
Refreshment was taken, and enjoyed with the usual TBR banter, and where birthday greetings were sung to one of the days walk leaders, at the Avonwick Arms on our way back to Totnes.