Discover centuries of history on walk to Dartmouth Castle

Torbay Weekly

The first part of this walkabout took us from Dartmouth’s Higher Ferry, along the North and South Embankments to Bayard’s Cove fort and today we press on to Dartmouth Castle.

Climb the steps at the far side of the fort and turn left into Southdown and then follow Warfleet Road until it branches left into Castle Road at Warfleet Creek.

Once a separate parish, Warfleet was an important place for shipping and industry from the 13th century when Dartmouth was involved in the wine trade and until the 19th century limestone and coal were brought here in sailing barges and burnt in the kilns around the creek to produce lime to fertilise the farmland.

In 1819, a paper mill was built here powered by the largest waterwheel west of Bristol and later it became a flour mill and brewery until after the Second World War when it eventually became the home of Dartmouth Pottery.

At its peak, the pottery employed more than 200 people and was famed for its ‘gurgling fish jugs’.

Continue around the creek on Castle Road and the route to the castle is on your left.

Above the car park area you can see the remains of the original fortalice constructed in the late 14th century by the notorious Dartmouth privateer and 14-times-mayor, John Hawley, to repel French raiders.

The 15th century castle seen today has seen multiple alterations and additions over the years but many original features have been retained.

The castle complex, which includes the Church of St Petrox, is now under the stewardship of English Heritage, and it's well worth a visit as it paints an vivid picture of the bravery of the men who manned these defences over the centuries.

You have a choice of three additional short walks from the castle estate.

The charming Sandy Sugary Cove is only about ten minutes from here and has rock pools at low tide and splendid views beyond the mouth of the estuary.

There are several flights of steps but plenty of benches to take a breather along to way.

Gallants Bower is a 15-minute uphill walk.

A Civil War fort was built here between 1643 and 1645 to defend the town and its castle from attack by the Parliamentarians and view inland, out to sea and along the coast shows why it was such an ideal site.

Finally, Compass Cove is a one-and-a-half mile round walk which will take about an hour.

A free guide to each walk is available from the Castle Tea Rooms.