Coleton Fishacre to Froward Point: Walk with slice of history and great sea views

The Daymark was built in 1864 as a guide to Dartmouth Harbour entrance.

The Daymark was built in 1864 as a guide to Dartmouth Harbour entrance. - Credit: Keith Perry

This week’s walkabout incorporates a 19th century navigational aid and a slice of Second World War history amid a backdrop of rolling Devon hills and spectacular sea views.

A  few hundred yards after passing the entrance to the D’Oyly Carte family’s 1920s home at Coleton Fishacre you will find the starting point for the walk - the National Trust’s Brownstone car park (£2 donation in the honesty box for an unlimited stay).

The track you follow is an old military road and very soon you will see a tall limestone tower on the horizon.

This is The Daymark, built in 1864 by the Dartmouth Harbour Commissioners as a guide to Dartmouth Harbour entrance, notoriously difficult to find from the sea in those days.

The owner of Brownstone at the time was Charles Seale-Hayne who went on to become MP for Ashburton and who gave his name to an agricultural college near Newton Abbot - later to become part part of the University of Plymouth where a library is named in his honour.

He leased the land for the erection of the hollow, octagonal tower which rises to 80ft on tall arched legs and which is visible for many miles out to sea.

A gate should give access to a short waymarked path across an arable field for a closer look at the structure but someone has secured the gate with barbed wire for reasons only they will understand.

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The walk along the asphalt track is a gentle one and your only company is likely to be the varied bird life as views of open countryside eventually give way to a stunning panorama across Start Bay to Slapton and beyond.

The track ends at Froward Point where the reason for its construction is still in evidence in the form of one of the best examples of a Second World War gun battery in the country, built in 1942 to protect shipping from the U-boat threat.

A coastguard lookout station is still active at this strategically significant spot.

To extend the hike you can pick up the coastal path to a Kingswear (two miles) or Brixham (eight-and-a-half miles).

The Brixham route gives you the option to come full circle via Coleton Fishacre (two-and-three-quarter miles) which is clearly marked on the information board in the car park.

The walk from the car park to Froward Point and back is the only section suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs.

The coastal path to Kingswear

The coastal path to Kingswear - Credit: Keith Perry

The coastal path to Brixham

The coastal path to Brixham - Credit: Keith Perry

The coastal path to Kingswear

The coastal path that leads to Kingswear - Credit: Keith Perry

On a clear day there are spectacular views across Start Bay

On a clear day there are spectacular views across Start Bay - Credit: Keith Perry

The coastguard lookout post at Froward Point

The coastguard lookout post at Froward Point - Credit: Keith Perry

The Second World War battery at Froward Point built in 1942

The Second World War battery at Froward Point built in 1942 - Credit: Keith Perry

A wartime coastal defence battery

A wartime coastal defence battery - Credit: Keith Perry

Dartmouth - the tall limestone tower known as The Daymark was built as a guide to the harbour

Dartmouth - the tall limestone tower known as The Daymark was built by Dartmouth Harbour Commissioners as a guide to Dartmouth harbour entrance - Credit: Keith Perry