This morning Martin Howitt commented on twitter that he was brainstorming where to take Ann Kempster when she visited him later this week. It has prompted me to share this blog post that I started months ago but never got around to finishing. They may end up with other plans but I’ll feel good for finally finishing this anyhow!!
This summer I’ve been making a particular effort to enjoy the area I currently live (South Devon) and to do so as far as possible using public transport. What started as a challenge to myself, soon turned into a bit of a habit that has been so distracting I’ve barely explored what else is on offer. That’s not necessarily a failure though, let’s say I’m honing my in-depth skills on this trip before taking too many others!!! Or maybe I’m just addicted! Anyhow the route I take is as follows:
Walk to train station (about 1 mile) and jump on a local stopping service through to Exmouth, getting off at Teignmouth. Given I live south of Teignmouth I don’t get to appreciate one of the best bits of train track in the country on this trip, but if you come down from Exeter or any further around the coast/up the country you would. Get off the train at Teignmouth (it’s about an 8 minute trip for me) and walk over to Shaldon. There are two possible routes, the first is to just follow the road but what you make up for in good pavements you lose out on in the character and sense of adventure stakes!
If you follow the footpath you’ll walk past the port, the back of The Orangery, past the bowls club, down an overgrown wooded path, along the back of the rugby club, and walk along the railway track before coming up to cross the Teignmouth-Shaldon bridge.
Once over the bridge, a sharp left will take you along the coast at Shaldon, with the option to walk along the beach (depending on the tide) or stick to the road and wind in the back of people’s houses before joining the beach again by The Clipper Cafe. As lovely as The Clipper Cafe is (and they have phenomenally friendly staff too) my preference is to keep walking along the beach.
Across the back of the beach are a fabulous collection of memorial benches, make sure to admire them before continuing up past the Harbourmaster’s light, past the old ammunition store which you could buy if you had a spare 200k lying around, up past the Ness and through the car park to Cafe Ode. There is a small but awesome breakfast menu (and a lunch menu too), but once you’ve walked all that way (OK, it’s only two miles from the station but you’ll feel like you’ve earned it am sure), you deserve something hearty with a coffee and view.
Once you’ve enjoyed your breakfast or lunch, a quick walk back down into Shaldon should probably include a trip to the local bakery which, as far as I’m aware, sells the only bun with it’s own twitter account @UgliBun. It’s sort of like a softer squidgier nicer rock cake! They are huge so you could share one as a snack or take it home as your tea after such an epic breakfast/lunch at Ode. Finally, head back past the bowling green to the beach and along to the Shaldon-Teignmouth ferry. The ferry claims to be England’s oldest passenger ferry and the crossing can be traced back to 1296, but rumour is that it’s been running even longer. Now independently run with two boats it costs a mere £1.50 to cross back to Teignmouth.
Teignmouth itself is worth and if you’ve time to spare you can stroll along the beach and follow the railway line back towards Dawlish. The line runs parallel to the footpath so you shouldn’t be prepared to walk this in summer unless you are happy enough to wave at small children each time a train passes!!
If you were really feeling adventurous (or guilty after a big lunch) you could follow the coast path to Dawlish (it’s steep in places but very beautiful) and jump on your train home there – it’s about 4 miles.