Devon’s trop­i­cal coast

Co­le­tone Fishacre, Devon

Countryfile Magazine - - Contents - Chris Gee is the au­thor of Walk­ing the York­shire Coast: A Com­pan­ion Guide.

Af­ter an in­vig­o­rat­ing hike along South Devon’s coastal path, drop down a gear or two and ex­plore the ter­raced gar­dens of Co­le­ton Fishacre, a colour­ful mix of rare,

exotic and ten­der plants that cas­cade from the house to beau­ti­ful Pud­combe Cove.

Pick a route along the many paths that thread through the trees and shrubs of this stylish 1920s Arts and Crafts house, teased by pretty ocean views. A dreamy mix of pas­tel shades fringes the stream that dances down the combe, and buz­zards mew over­head. On a hot June day, end your visit with a cool­ing drink at the de­light­ful café.

1 FERRY FIRST

A great way to start the walk is to catch the Lower Ferry from Dart­mouth. As the his­toric boat pulls away from the slip­way and across the Dart, it of­fers a mag­nif­i­cent van­tage point to ap­praise the colour­ful houses of Kingswear as they cas­cade down the hill­side to the wa­ter­front.

On ar­rival into Kingswear, turn up Church Hill and then take a sharp right on to Bea­con Lane. This soon merges with Cas­tle Road to be­come Brookhill, where you join the South West Coast Path.

2 LAZING LIZARDS

As you pass ex­pen­sivelook­ing prop­er­ties, look out for non-na­tive green wall lizards that can of­ten be found bask­ing on the south­fac­ing walls.

Route-find­ing is easy as you fol­low the South West Coast Path signs. Where the lane turns in­land above Mill Bay Cove, look out for a foot­path head­ing off to the right and down­hill into the trees.

3 BLUE RIVER

You lose height quickly to cross the head of pretty lit­tle Mill Bay Cove and then climb equally steeply to head back into the trees around Down End and War­ren House.

There are reg­u­lar glimpses through the trees across the blue wa­ters of the river to Dart­mouth Cas­tle and St Petrox Church.

Con­tinue with the South West Coast Path around New­found­land Cove, tak­ing some time to ex­plore the old wartime de­fences and look­out sta­tion at In­ner Froward Point.

4 OFF­SHORE IS­LANDS

From here, the path takes a switch­back route across im­pres­sive coastal scenery as you pass Froward Cove and forge on past Outer

Froward Point to Old Mill Bay. Just off shore are the jagged out­lines of Shooter

Rock and Mew Stone where guille­mots and ra­zor­bills can be seen. Press on through a land­scape of early sum­mer flow­ers to Pud­combe Cove.

5 OCEAN GAR­DENS

You have a choice here: ei­ther take the per­mis­sive path from Pud­combe Cove to Co­le­ton

Bar­ton Farm; or if you want to savour a lit­tle more of the coastal path, you can con­tinue on to the sand and rock of

Ivy Cove and dou­ble-back up an­other per­mis­sive path to Co­le­ton Camp car park. From here you can ac­cess the main en­trance to the Na­tional Trust's Co­le­ton Fishacre es­tate and its sum­mer-kissed gar­dens.

6 INN ON THE ES­TU­ARY

Hav­ing ex­plored Co­le­ton Fishacre, you have a choice of re­turn­ing via one of the per­mis­sive trails to the coastal path and re­trac­ing your steps to Kingswear, or, prefer­ably, you can take the lane from Co­le­ton Bar­ton Farm to Higher Brown­stone Farm. This in­land route of­fers some fan­tas­tic views across clas­sic rolling Devon coun­try­side. Be­yond Higher Brown­stone Farm, make your way along one of those clas­sic old sunken ways that are of­ten found in Devon, em­bow­ered in trees, part stream, part an­cient way. Con­tinue on past Home

Farm and Pinewoods to re­join your out­ward route above Mill Bay Cove back to the Lower Ferry in Kingswear.

If you’re ready for a re­fresh­ing pint, there are a num­ber of op­tions in Kingswear, in­clud­ing the Ship Inn and the Steam

Packet Inn, both with stun­ning views across to Dart­mouth.

“A COLOUR­FUL MIX OF EXOTIC PLANTS CAS­CADE FROM THE HOUSE DOWN TO THE SEA”

Exotic plants thrive in Co­le­ton Fishacre’s lux­u­ri­ant gar­dens due, in part, to its close prox­im­ity to the Gulf Stream – no won­der it was nom­i­nated for Gar­den of the Year in the 2018 BBC Coun­try­file Mag­a­zine Awards

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