Starcross to Dawlish

This perambulation was one of the 3 walks I needed to do in order to have completed a section of the South West Coastal Path reaching from Lyme Regis to Whitsand Bay. I’ll be honest I haven’t a clue how far that actually is but I might try and work it out for my annual end of year post alongside totalling together all the bits I have done. Having done this bit now I have a section around Torquay and a bit from Little Dartmouth to Strete left to tick that long south Devon stretch off. As for this walk well its not the most exciting of walks, the section from Starcross to Dawlish Warren is the inland side of the railway so you can’t see the sea very often, plus around Dawlish Warren is caravan park after caravan park, so its wise to do this part in the winter when its quieter. The section along the sea wall is very good but due to some maintenance at Dawlish train station you are prevented from walking into Dawlish along this route currently. Instead you need to cross a bridge and walk down the A379 a short way to the centre. I’d been to the centre already on a walk last November from Teignmouth (here) so didn’t stay, instead I headed out along the A379 towards the Countryside Park and back for a welcome pint in Cockwood, before the short walk back to the car. This will be my last post before Christmas Day so may I wish you and your families a happy and safe Christmas, and hopefully I can get some walks in before New Year.

Start – Starcross sports field car park, Generals Lane

Route – South West Coastal Path – Cockwood – Eastdon – Dawlish Warren – Dawlish – A379 – Shutterton Lane – Dawlish Countryside park – Cofton – Cockwood – Starcross

Distance – 8 miles    Start time – 10am   Time taken – 4hrs 10mins  Highest Point – The countryside park although that wasn’t very high

Weather – Grey, dull

© Crown copyright 2021 Ordnance Survey FL 2021 SF
St Pauls church is right next to the playing fields, always a useful direction marker if you get lost!
I’m down at the seafront now. The railway is clearly between me and the jetty which takes me to Exmouth at certain times of the year. Not for me today as I’ve done that side of the River Exe, so I’m headed for Dawlish. The walk is all on tarmac the whole way, so no need for proper walking boots, anything comfy will do
Next to the last photo is a tunnel under the railway and into the estuary, I guess it floods when the tide is in but not with the tide out as it is now. Behind me is the Starcross pumping station for Brunel’s atmospheric railway, I would try to describe how the vacuum, valve, venting systems worked but I read it and can’t work it out, so its here (link)
This is the Starcross 9 hole golf course, I kept looking at a batch of bushes centre left over there and there was something odd in it but couldn’t see properly from here
Cockwood harbour area, tide is out. There is a pub over there and another to the right of that. Maybe on the way back
There was a gate in the long railway fence as I walked to Eastdon, the path goes across the railway and into the Dawlish Warren nature reserve. Great for birdspotting of wading birds, just watch for trains if crossing
Past Eastdon I reached Dawlish Warren, full of caravan parks as can be seen on the sign at the back. But I was more interested in the Exe Trail path which goes all around the estuary
I rushed through the caravan park section which had me a fair distance from the sea at times and being so flat around here you can’t see it for long stretches. Back now the sea side of the railway at Dawlish Warren and happier with my view
That’s Straight Point across the Exe estuary and the tide starts to turn now
The coastal path is on the left hand side here, I’m on a bridge that you can use to follow the coastal path through Dawlish Warren, but I went under the bridge that leads to the golf course and walked along the right hand path to this point, just ascending the bridge to take this photo
There’s a long stretch of rocks that have been placed here to protect Dawlish Warren (a spit of sandy ground sticking out into the Exe) and the nature reserve, you can see the rocks on the left
Along the sea wall path, in rough weather this path is not advisable however today it is calm and the tide is out currently. One of the local trains approaching the Dawlish Warren train station. I’m stood at Langstone Rock
It opens up the other side a bit with views to Holcombe, the point over there
Looking back to Langstone rock and beyond to Straight Point
GWR train along the sea wall track, Dawlish train station is just beyond that bridge over there. the bridge is where you need to cross to get into Dawlish properly due to the current works, although you can still walk the sea wall about 400 metres beyond that
Nearly at the bridge and I spent a bit of time watching the tide come in a little across this flatish beach. I think by this point of the walk I’d gained about 4 inches in elevation since the start, its not a hilly walk this one.
The next bridge along is as far as you can walk currently, the bridge is by the Dawlish train station
One last look back and head across the bridge for the A379
The sign showing the work done here to build the railway alongside the sea, having cut out a ledge in the cliffs in places
The A379 isn’t very exciting so I didn’t take any photos of that. I’m at Shutterton Lane now and heading right out of photo here
When doing a bit of a Google recce of this walk I could see a decently sized green area with a car park. It was clearly a bit of a dog walking field paradise. I worked out that there was an entrance off Shutterton Lane (left hand side) into the fields. This was perfect for me, the path is back on your left hand side and hidden a bit but takes you in nicely
This is it, there were dogs doing their zoomy thing everywhere and paths around and arable patches were they grow crops. Its called Dawlish Countryside Park and with seating areas this was a good spot to have a coffee and enjoy a bit of a view over Dawlish on the left
It was a nice spot after all the cars on the A379
Just after leaving the park, I noticed lambs in fields!! In December!! Some of these guys and gals were pretty tiny and hopefully the weather will stay warm enough for them
Approaching Cofton and I got a view down to the Exe estuary
A dinky school in Cofton, but some lovely views from it for the kids
I arrived back in Cockwood and thought that The Ship was a good option. The pint of Big Smoke wasn’t bad at all
As it says
Cockwood harbour area, the tide still not really in yet, well not in here anyway
Now this is what I was looking at across Starcross golf course. A car that had been driven into a bunker/water hazard. Police tape around it but no one has been to remove it yet!
Back at Generals Lane now and a game of football ongoing. Greens looked to be on top but for the 10 minutes I was there the blues goalkeeper stood strong and kept them out. Nice to see these things haven’t stopped this time around and for me its important that exercise carries on and people are allowed to see families because this thing isn’t going away, probably ever. Mental health is paramount and policies in 2021 have failed it. Merry Christmas ya filthy animals (as Kevin McCallister would say)!!

3 thoughts on “Starcross to Dawlish

  1. Much more interesting stretch than your initial comments led me to believe! 😀
    I do see what you mean though, not exactly towering cliffs and wide sweeping beaches, but a good walk nonetheless.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I probably should have taken a pic of Brunel’s pumping station in Starcross if I’m honest, its a lovely red brick building. But the section from there to Dawlish Warren isn’t great except for the harbour at Cockwood. Hope you’ve had a decent festive period and all that is good continues into 2022 for you and the family.


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