Sal & Barry’s Goodrington to Greenway Circular – Sunday 27th October

Having had the luxury of an extra hour in bed because of the end of British Summer Time for another year, 20 Torbay Ramblers gathered on a fresh Autumnal October Sunday  morning, at the Bandstand in Young’s Park, Goodrington.

The group began their ten and half mile circular walk, along the South West Coast Path, noting that the colourful Beach Huts usually in residence along this stretch of the bay, had been removed to their winter storage quarters. As the route wound its way alongside the Heritage Railway line between Paignton and Kingswear, the train with its half term holiday passengers, was spotted on its journey along this part of the beautiful South Devon Coast.

In places the path was slippery underfoot following recent heavy rainfall, and undulated regularly before reaching the beach at Broadsands, where a drinks stop was taken.

Suitably refreshed, the group went up a stony track beside Elberry Farm, and across Churston Golf Course, to pass by the Church of St Mary the Virgin in Churston Ferrers. Here it was necessary to travel along a section of fairly busy road, and to carefully negotiate the Brixham Road, before eventually picking up Alston Lane. This lane was particularly wet and muddy in parts, particularly where a heavy vehicle had obviously been doing maintenance work on the hedges in recent days. Once at the top of this lane, and another road crossing, the walkers climbed a stile into a field, from where it was possible to enjoy good views of the surrounding countryside. It was in this field that a cluster of very large field mushrooms was spotted. This was followed by a discussion regarding the recent perfect conditions which had resulted in the emergence of an abundance of various kinds of fungi everywhere.

Leaving the field by another stile, the route joined a footpath with a signpost indicating that this track was on the John Musgrave Trail, and was also on the Greenway Walk. More green lanes led to a viewing point with far reaching views of the area, and a notice bearing details about John Musgrave himself. John was a former Chairman of the South Devon Ramblers, who’s legacy was used in conjunction with Torbay Coast and Countryside to fund the development of the Trail.

Onwards then between ploughed fields with the attractively rich red soil, so common to this part of Devon, to reach Maypool and the entrance to the National Trust estate at Greenway, the former home of the author Agatha Christie. Lunch was taken at this juncture, a favourite spot with many because of the lovely views down the valley and over the Dart estuary to Kingswear and Dartmouth.

Replete following the meal break, and having had a group picture taken for posterity of everyone sitting upon a convenient fallen log, the path went through a kissing gate to emerge into a field. From here there were extensive panoramic views of the hamlet of Dittisham on the opposite bank of the River Dart, the estuary itself, and the Tor’s of Dartmoor in the distance. In then through woodland along the Galmpton Village Walk, to cross a lane into a sloping field, which descended to a small stream at the bottom.

Having safely navigated the watery crossing, the track climbed gently, to eventually join the road into Galmpton village. Once in the residential area, commemorative Jubilee stones to former Royalty were seen on the wall of a small roundabout near the Primary School, and opposite the Galmpton Village Institute, was a plaque depicting details about the Poet Robert Graves who had resided in the property there, known as Vale House, between 1940 and 1946. A short trek then to traverse the former Churston Golf Course, where the remains of an ancient Windmill can be seen, before the hazardous crossing of the Brixham Road with its fast moving traffic. Downhill then under the Hookhills Viaduct, designed by Isambard  Kingdom Brunel, to return to the front at Broadsands. Sharply uphill then, before descending once more to walk past the Waterside Caravan Park, where yet again there were wonderful views across the Bay.

Following another road crossing, the path ran beside Goodrington Village Green, to pick up a track, which in places was rather wet, to wind uphill again. At the top it was necessary to clamber over an awkward stile, to enter a field with another muddy path to follow, which led back down into the Clennon Valley. However, this spot did deliver further great views of the sea and coast, which we had been fortunate enough to have been granted many times during the days walking.

On reaching the Lakes at the bottom of the Clennon Valley, we were greeted by the sights and sounds of the bird life frequenting the waters there, before the final stretch of path took everyone past the Torbay Leisure Sports facilities and Velopark, and back to civilisation.

Soon Young’s Park was reached, and the opportunity to take some well earned refreshment for some at The Cantina. By this time in the afternoon, the temperature was dipping rather rapidly, but those that had lingered, sat in the gardens to enjoy the remainder of what had been a warm and pleasant outing in our local environment.

Thanks to everyone who joined us and helped to make this such a positive experience.

Sal and Barry H.