Walkabout Torbay with Keith Perry:
Today’s walk takes us from a popular village pub to the much-loved holiday home of the world’s best selling author of all time.
The destination is, of course, Greenway House and gardens where Dame Agatha Christie and her archaeologist husband Max Mallowan spent some of their happiest hours and which provided inspiration for several of her 66 novels.
The starting point is the Manor Inn in Galmpton which can boast a famous former resident of its own in soccer commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme, forever remembered for his ‘they think it's all over - it is now’ phrase as Geoff Hurst hit the fourth England goal in the 1966 World Cup final.
Turn right into Greenway Road, passing the village school, and on leaving the village at the Galmpton sign, turn left into Kennel Lane.
Cross the railway bridge and turn right into Coombe Lane bridleway.
The lane climbs steadily for 0.6 miles through woodland and open fields, eventually reaching a T-junction at which point you pick up the Greenway Walk signs to Higher Greenway Farm path with its breath-taking panoramic view over the River Dart to Torbay and beyond.
At Maypool Road we turn left, passing Maypool House, and follow the track to the entrance to Greenway estate.
Take the grassy track at the top of the field until you reach a bench and information point where you turn right and, at the second of two gates, turn left down a steep slope which emerges on the driveway to visitor reception.
Visitors arriving by car must pre-book tickets but those arriving by ‘green’ means can pay at the door to gain admission to the house and gardens which Dame Agatha described as ‘the loveliest place in the world’.
Her Georgian home, manned by helpful National Trust volunteers, is set in the 1950s when Agatha and her family would spend summers and Christmases here and the furniture and collections on view are authentic family possessions.
There is much to see in the grounds with a woodland walk to the boathouse - setting for the murder of Marlene Tucker in Dead Man’s Folly - a must for Christie lovers.
Visitors can also see where the family played tennis, croquet and clock golf and have access to the two beautifully maintained walled gardens.
Shops and a cafe serving drinks and light lunches are available on site.
You can return to Galmpton by the way you came but, like me, might prefer to avoid the steep uphill section by following the level Greenway Road on the 1.7-mile hike back to the Manor Inn.
Apart from visitors to and from Greenway, it is a relatively quiet stretch of road with plenty of room for cars to pass but walkers should always face oncoming traffic and keep in single file.
Sturdy footwear is recommended as Coombe Lane is muddy in places.
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