Feel like a stroll but not a hike? This little walk is right on our doorstep. It does have lots of steps but is only about 2km long and has wonderful views. Sturdy footwear needed.
Come out of Vane Tower’s main gate, turn left and walk down the hill to the hairpin bend. Straight ahead of you are the long flight of stone steps heading down the hill.
Walk down to the bottom of the steps and turn left. This is Parkhill Road and you will walk past the back of Torbay Yacht Club on your right.
After a short distance you will come to a T junction. Go left and staying on Parkhill Road walk up the hill towards the Imperial Hotel which you will see on your right.
Turn right and follow the signs towards the Imperial. There will be a low multi storey car park on your left and the hotel entrance ahead of you on the right.
You will see a footpath marked To the Beach straight ahead of you. Follow this path which is The South West Coast Path.
The winding path leads between two high stone walls. The first viewing area you come to on the right leads down to Peaked Tor Cove via a series of terraces. There are plenty of steps down to the bottom so you can either explore or keep going.
The South West Coast path continues around to the right and then goes past a break in the wall to your left with some steps leading up the hill. This is the Coast Path but continue straight on around the corner because you don’t want to miss the spectacular viewing point over Torquay’s natural limestone arch – London Bridge as it is known.
This should be your view on a good day.
Turn round and follow the path back. After a very short distance you will see a break in the wall on your right with steps going up. Follow this path up the hill and at the top will be more viewing points of London Bridge.
Keep the sea on your right and keep going.
You will have lovely views across the bay to Berry Head and Brixham in the distance. If you are lucky you may see a Peregrine Falcon.
After a short while you will go down some steps and back into a wooded area. On the right you will see a steep, slippery footpath leading down with glimpses of the sea through the trees. If you have a head for heights, you can explore that path and see the top of London Bridge but be careful.
The views from London Bridge
Back on the footpath, just past London Bridge there are some wooden railings. Look over them for this view:
Then keep following the path which winds uphill and start climbing.
There are lots of steps but there are also a few well-placed benches.
Once at the top, the path continues straight and flat and then goes under a little tower which crosses the path.
Keep the sea on your right and follow this path until it goes left up some steps and goes under a stone arch leading onto Daddyhole Plain.
You will come out by the Coastwatch station on your left which has a visitor’s information centre. There are wonderful views from Daddyhole Plain. Daddy is an old Devon name for the devil and there is a cave at the bottom of the cliffs which, according to local legend, was the devil’s cave.
Now you have a choice: If you want to carry on along the coast path, keep the sea on your right and keep going. If you are feeling hungry you will come to the lovely Meadfoot Café within 5-10 minutes.
If you want to head back to Vane Tower walk towards the brightly coloured coastguards’ cottages on Daddyhole Plain and follow the little road to the right of them down the hill and turn left onto Daddyhole Road.
The Coastguards’ Cottages
Stay on Daddyhole Road until you come to the T junction of Parkhill Road (with the Devonshire Hotel on your right). Straight ahead of you are the entrance gates for Oakridge. To the left of these gates are some little steps marked Public Footpath to Vane Hill Road. Take this path and it will lead through some woods to the top of Vane Hill Road. Keep going and you will find yourself at the top of Vane Hill Road with Vane Tower on your left.
Please note the pictures here have been taken during all seasons.