South Devon Part Coastal: Kingston - Coast Path and Erme (Circular) 6 miles - 0/S Landranger 202
Even for the gorgeous South Hams, this has extra oomph. Beach, woods, village pub, and unspoilt river. Hilly in parts.
There’s a car park by the church at Kingston and, just below the church, the 16th century Dolphin. Why not start with a pint? It’s a lovely old pub with a good range of ales. When I was there earlier this year (when travelling was allowed but gatherings indoors wasn’t) the landlord walked out to the lane to join other villagers as a hearse drove slowly past. It was literally and figuratively a moving way to show respect in these odd times.
From the pub, head down the lane, turning right at the end then first left. A dead end for cars but it leads to a delightful track down to Wyscombe beach (ignore a path on the left signposted Ringmore). On your left are ponds, algae covered when I was there, giving it an oddly fairly-tale look.
Eventually you come out at Westcombe Beach, a real beauty of sand and rocky outcrops. The building on the left's an old stable, apparently. The local landowners would come down (with royalty in tow sometimes) to posh-picnic here. I wandered through the rocky outcrops on the right and found another beach and caves. Plenty of space to relax and a great swimming spot.
Once you’ve had your fill of champagne and caviar, send the footman home and head west along the Coast Path to the Erme estuary, glancing eastward to enjoy the view to Bigbury.
You’re on the Flete estate, owned by the Mildmay family. As a left leaning miner’s son, such a lot of land in private ownership seems wrong, but I doubt this place would have remained unspoilt otherwise. It’s stunning and, bless ‘em, most of it’s open to us plebs.
It doesn’t happen often but the river walk is every bit as lovely as the coast walk, with a fine beach (Wonwell) to dawdle at.
Eventually the path joins a lane. Look for a footpath sign to your right into the woods and follow this up and up into the fields beyond, eventually emerging onto a lane. Turn right here to return to Kingston.
Tea at the Dolphin yer Majesty?