March 11th 2008 – Day 3 begins warm and sunny, finally a day suitable for exploring outdoors without needing shelter nearby. We take the local bus from the seafront in Dawlish and slowly it heads off to Holcombe. There is always a problem with taking a bus, whenever you take a trip for the first time on a particular route, you have no idea what your intended stop looks like, or anyway to know where it is. As such we had asked the driver to point it out, not a unreasonable request we thought, however he was less than helpful and in the end we guessed the stop and got off. For anyone wishing to follow this route, its basically a long busy road and you pass houses along the side while going down a hill, then up, when at the top of the next hill, thats the stop.
We attempted to find the way down to the seafront, however our initial venture along the road led us along the hill to a dead end, however as the photos show, it gave quite a nice view.
We then turn round and headed back to the main road, at which point we found the way down to the seafront, which is Smuggler’s Lane. More on that later however, as now we headed off to the village. Across the main road we headed down the hill and into the village, its a little odd as the road has no path for the first half of the route. This all becomes clear later when we discover that the road we arrived on via the bus was actually a sort of “by-pass through the middle” type of thing, and the village’s main road is actually a single lane road which we were now heading to. The phots start at the junction with the old main road to the village.
The road is wide enough for one car to park next to the wall and 1 to pass, however at several points the road narrows to only a single car wide. We continued up the hill in the 3rd photo above.
Marking the centre of the cross roads on the top of the hill is The Castle pub, serving some great local Ale and excellent food. The staff were extremely pleasant and certainly made us feel welcome. Recommended.
Next we headed along the hill back to the main road, and made our way back to Smuggler’s Lane. On the way we found this very tall and wonderfully shaped tree, the angle of the buildings made if difficult to get the right angle, which is why the third picture is a little sky heavy.
The start of Smuggler’s Lane is a very steep slope down past a stepped water fall, evidently man-made but still pleasant. This busy yet narrow stream runs alongside the road all the way to the sea, and is likely a surface drain.
At the end of the lane there is what appears to be a tunnel entrance into the side of the rock face, it is blocked off by a wall, there was no indication of its original purpose however it looks to be very old. The stream crosses the path here and takes over, into a wide sandy beach opening which goes under the railway bridge which actually becomes the sea wall.
The path however becomes a very narrow, and slippery affair, likely due to it being fully submerged under the sea at high tide. This being apparent from the high water mark as well as copious signs warning of the path being unpassable at high tide.
The path then turns sharply 90 degrees and becomes a flight of stairs right up to the top of the sea wall and then follows the railway back to Teignmouth…