Babbacombe to Weymouth Walking Blog
Friday 18th October 2019:
We drove to St Austell parked the car and caught a train to Torquay, change at Newton Abbot. Thought there would be a taxi rank at the station but there wasn’t so ordered one and after a short wait we got a £10 taxi ride to Babbacombe and our accommodation the The Downs Hotel. We had a friendly welcome but were not really overwhelmed by either the hotel or Babbacombe itself. The views were nice but overall the area felt quite rundown. We had a decent meal in the hotel but we were the only guests eating so the dining room was a bit short on atmosphere.
The First Day
Saturday 19th October: (14.5miles)
England were playing Australia in the quarter finals of the Rugby world cup so we left the hotel a bit later than we should have, about 09:45. Then we proceeded to get lost looking for the path. All this would not have mattered except that at the end of the day we needed to catch the last ferry across the Exe Estuary to avoid an additional 14 mile detour! The last ferry left at 16:10. At least the sun was shining.
Saturday: Babbacombe to Teignmouth (6.5 miles)
We found the path as it went under the Babbacombe Cliff Railway. The next 6 miles to Shaldon were tough but rewarding with lovely views.
As we arrived in Shaldon after nearly 3 hours walking without a stop (Amelia was not impressed) the ferry was arriving at the beach so we had a quick crossing to Teignmouth. Lunch was required so we walked into town and found the Oystercatcher Café, disappointingly the food was not great but it did give us a rest and a bit of a boost for the final 8.5 mile leg to Shaldon.
Teignmouth to Shaldon (8 miles)
The next leg to Dawlish was along the shore with the mainline train tracks immediately next door. Great if you are a train spotter. After Dawlish there are 3 more miles of slightly dull road walking to Shaldon. We arrived for the ferry with about 15 minutes to spare and a had a lovely trip across the estuary to Exmouth. Our bed and breakfast was a mile up the hill so we decided that a taxi was a good idea.
In the evening we ate at The Chronicle, a good family run restaurant in Exmouth.
Sunday: Exmouth to Sidmouth (13.1 miles)
The first 2 miles is along the promenade (apparently the longest in England). We then got a coffee before walking up to the cliff top and passing the spire that marks the start of the Jurassic Coast. The weather was good and after some easy miles we arrived in Budleigh Salterton, some locals advised that the best crab sandwiches were to be had from the last café before otter estuary nature reserve. They were not wrong and they were the best sandwiches we had all week and excellent value.
After lunch we walked around the nature reserve and then had some steady climbs through 2 massive caravan parks. We stopped at the second one (Ladram Bay for a quick drink) before tackling 2 more climbs and then dropping down into Sidmouth. A pretty and quite affluent seaside town.
We stayed the night at Berwick House, an excellent b&b just 10 minutes out of town.
We had our best meal of the week at Dukes Restaurant that night.
Monday: Sidmouth to Seaton (10.5 miles)
Before we could start we had to detour inland a little way as a landside on the path leaving Sidmouth mean’t the path was closed until the Spring of 2020. The first 6 miles to Branscombe Mouth had some big climbs and great views but no where to buy a drink, so we took a thermos of coffee and all was well. At Branscombe Mouth there is a good café where we ate lunch.
After lunch there was an interesting stretch of path in front of the cliff before we were back to the cliff top and then descending into the pretty village of Beer. We had a cup of tea nad then there is a steep climb out of the village. A little bit further on we had to detour down to the beach due to a landside and then walk along the stony beach for the last 1/2 mile into Seaton.
Seaton is similar to Sidmouth but not quite as nice. We stayed a good b&b the Bay Tree(with a bath, what a treat) and ate a not so good Indian the Tandoori Tonight.
Tuesday: Seaton to Lyme Regis (8.0 miles)
The weather had turned overcast and we started walking on the road and up a steep hill to a slightly tacky golf course. As we crossed the fairway we saw our first and last fossil. After a while the path drops down into an undercliff English “Jungle”, a wonderful nature reserve that exist in the space in front of the cliffs, this stretch goes on for about 7 miles before you finally emerge into the outskirts of Lyme Regis. The sea front area was very smart and we had a posh lunch at The Ocean Café on the sea front.
Lyme Regis to Seatown (6 miles)
After lunch the sun came out and we had a steep climb on the road (again due to a long term detur caused by unstable cliffs) upto Lyme Regis golf club. This is a very smart club and there were lots of smart gents walking around. We followed the white markers across the course being careful not to upset the golfers. Once across we walked through a small wood before another long road stretch down to Charmouth and out the other side. The road turned upward and we slogged on until we arrived at a car park. Here the walk returned us to the cliff tops and with the warm sun beating down we enjoyed the best walking of the week with rolling hills leading upto the climb to the top of Golden Cap (Dorset’s highest point).
Fantastic views. The path then dropped down to Seatown and we enjoyed a quick drink at the Anchor Inn before catching a lift for the 3/4 mile inland to Chideock House our b&b for the night. We had a 4 poster bed and a bath in this wonderful thatched building. The only problem being the very busy road outside (you can’t have everything).
We had a good meal at The George Pub just a few minutes walk away.
Wednesday: Seatown to Abbotsbury (13 miles)
Walked from Chideock down to Seatown then thru car park past a grumpy car park attendant before some nice uphill walking over 3 cliffs before down to West Bay, we stopped at Windy Corner Cafe, should have gone a little further and had coffee by the harbour. On then up some steep but smaller cliffs, some of the path was quite close to cliff the edge. Then down further on to the Hive beach cafe, which was a bit posh for lunch. Soup of the day £12. Should have bought picnic lunch at West Bay.
Further on the walk was quite dull as you walk alongside Chesil beach, some of the walking was very hard as walking in the gravel is horrible. Abbotsbury eventually arrived and a nice stop at the Old School Tea Rooms, it is a very pretty village, lots of thatch. Swan lodge, our b&b for the night, is very average. We ate at the Ilchester Arms, ok but not gourmet.
Thursday: Abbotsbury to Weymouth (12 miles)
Inland walking behind the Chesil Beach lagoon. Started dry but mizzle set in and after 2 hours needed a coffee stop. Moonfleet Manor hotel were very welcoming and 2 lattes later we were ready for some more miles. We targeted the Crab Shack in Ferrybridge for lunch but arrived after closing at 14:30, we were very tired and in need of food. Discovered Billy Winters cafe 200m down the causeway to Portland Bill. Refreshed however the last 3 miles into Weymouth were still tough. Fortunately the sun came out and occasional great views across the harbour and some lovely houses kept us going on sore feet. Gloucester House a very good b&b and we had a great burger at the Dorset Burger Company just around the corner.