Barry & Sal’s Sizzling Sea Stroll to Bantham – Sunday 8th July

On a sweltering July Sunday morning 14 walkers set off from Aveton Gifford along the Avon Estuary to Walk to Bantham.
After negotiating the busy A379 we walked past South Efford Barns and commenced a long climb up a shady enclosed track, shortly reaching Higher Stadbury.
After passing through 3 fields we descended to the Avon Estuary where refreshments were taken under the cool of the trees.
Setting off again we crossed over a plank bridge at the head of the estuary, then climbed a field into some woodland, following the way marked route through the woods we emerged into a field with estuary views opening up to our right.
The village of Bantham soon came into view ahead, and across the river, Bigbury and Burgh Island could be seen. We joined the village road, passing the Sloop Inn, and followed a path around the headland, noting warning signs for adders in the bracken. This path eventually took us down onto Bantham beach where the annual ‘Tribal Clash’ festival, a 3 day endurance multi-event was in full swing. Consequently the sandy beach was packed, and the water sports were well under way.
A one and a half hour lunch stop was enjoyed by all, some paddling in the sea whilst others had a swim.
After lunch, a short climb on the SWCP brought us to the edge of Thurlestone Golf Course. From there we wound our way inland with views towards Milton Sands and Hope Cove, and behind us as far along as the Cornish coast in the distance.
We exited onto a lane which took us downhill, passing Buckland Mill and into West Buckland. Here a short detour was made to admire a King George V post box.
Retracing our steps, we walked the lane, passing Clannacombe Lodge, up a steep hill and onto a signed public footpath. The track continued through fields across the top of the valley, before descending to cross a small stream, followed by a short sharp climb uphill on a stony track to Worthy Farm. We then followed a lane to a road junction by Widcombe House. Crossing an old stone stile, we went through several fields with far reaching views of Dartmoor ahead, emerging onto a lane. This lane soon joined the track back down to Aveton Gifford. The undulating route had covered 9.5 miles so our group of weary, sweaty bodies appreciated refreshments in the Fishermans Arms before setting off for home.