“Strictly Come Walking”

Guided walks for days or weekends
path along the seashore

What can you learn on a guided tour?

Before you even step out of the door you know, that whichever way you choose to go, there will be a world of stories out there sculpted by the sweeping seascape around you. Before leaving, check out the cabin made from timber taken from the wreck of the Herzogin Cecilie, one of the last of the tall ships to take part in the grain races from Australia to England in 1936. Here too is where the coast claimed one of our old adversaries, the Spaniards, in their Armada ship San Pedro in 1588.

Let's start by dropping down through the gardens and veering left along the path lined with purple mallow towards Bolt Tail. We pass along the sea front wall which was once where many fishermen brought their catches in to load up onto donkey trains, on leave from carrying smugglers' swag inland to those who had ordered it. Pass through Inner Hope with its beautiful courtyard of thatched cottages and you are climbing up seawards through lands once farmed by our Iron Age ancestors who held the Fort on the promontory. Skylarks, swallows, stone-chats and down by the cliffs, peregrine falcons and kestrels hover, swoop, stoop and dive. Spot the Eddystone Lighthouse on the horizon. Before you veer right back to Hope remember that you are always close to the sites of historic shipwrecks here: The Dragon (1757) from the West Indies, The Ramillies (1760) from which only 24 survived out of 720. Here are seas which have brought in Barbary pirates, preachers, Celts, Romans, Saxons and today welcomes visitors from afar such as spoonbills and great northern divers.

On your return, just before you returning to The Cottage Hotel take the footpath sign to your right and climb up to St. Clement's, a gem of a fisherman's church which was once the village school. The altar here is taken from a ruined church which stands inland, a safer direction to take in the past, and one which you might like to take in the future the next time you step out from The Cottage Hotel and ask yourself – which way is best, North, South, East or West?

(See also South Milton's Seaways Route 15 from the author's book: "Exploring Green Lanes in the South Hams": Green Books, 2003.)

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