Shaded stroll through ancient woodland that's home to much wildlife

Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust manages the woods

Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust manages the woods - Credit: Keith Perry

With its dense canopy of mature trees, the ancient woodland that is Occombe Valley Woods is the ideal walk for anyone seeking a cool, shaded stroll on even the hottest of summer days.

Situated between Sandringham Drive and Occombe Valley Road in Preston, there are several places to enter the woods but the Preston Down Road/Cockington Lane entrance across open fields has the added benefit of providing an unrivalled panorama of the inspirational Bay.

Within the woods, a designated local nature reserve, there are a few steep sections and some steps and care needs to be taken to avoid tripping on the tree roots which criss-cross the route but generally it's an easy walk and plain sailing on the main footpaths.

With most beaches out of bounds at this time of year, it's a great place to take dogs and on hot days they will appreciate the stream which runs through the middle of the woods to its exit at the top of Occombe Valley Road.

The various routes through the woods can be found on the map on the Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust website but the one I would recommend will bring you out opposite Occombe Farm.

Although the farm itself is currently subject to a regeneration scheme, the excellent cafe remains open for you to recharge your energy levels with a welcome cuppa or something more substantial including their famous farmer’s breakfast!

All profits from the cafe go towards funding the trust’s various projects around the Bay.

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The entrances to the wood are in residential areas at the Preston end and parking is limited but, as an alternative, you can do the walk in reverse from Occombe Farm which has ample car parking.

The trust manages the farm and the woods which are home to much wildlife including squirrels, badgers, foxes and even deer.

An ancient woodland in the heart of Paignton

An ancient woodland in the heart of Paignton - Credit: Keith Perry

An unrivalled panorama of the inspirational Bay

An unrivalled panorama of the inspirational Bay - Credit: Keith Perry

The woods are a designated local nature reserve

The woods are a designated local nature reserve - Credit: Keith Perry

There are various routes through the woods

There are various routes through the woods - Credit: Keith Perry

There are several places to enter the woods

There are several places to enter the woods - Credit: Keith Perry

A glimpse of the town from the woods

A glimpse of the town from the woods - Credit: Keith Perry

The route I would recommend will bring you out opposite Occombe Farm

The route I would recommend will bring you out opposite Occombe Farm - Credit: Keith Perry