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The best walks with a great pub or grub stop in South Devon

Looking for some walking inspiration for your South Devon stay? We especially enjoy a walk which includes (or ends with) a great pub or cafe providing well made & well sourced food & drink. Read on for our selection of six of the best. And don't forget your walking boots!

1.South west Coast path to Noss Mayo (about 4.5 miles)

This is a lovely, easy walk on a quiet stretch of the coast which takes in Noss Mayo with a choice of two pubs or you could travel a short distance to Yealmpton and visit Ben’s Farm Shop cafe. 

Noss Mayo which you will reach half way round your walk

Start at The Warren (National Trust) car park. Leave the car park through the wooden gate at the far end and join the footpath towards the sea. Pass through the five-barred gate and turn right onto the coast path along Revelstoke Carriage Drive.

Pass in front of Warren Cottage and continue, following the coast path around the headland and into the Yealm Estuary.

250m beyond Battery Cottage, either bear left along a footpath through the woods (grade moderate), or continue along the drive.  Both routes join again after a further 700m.

20m after the routes meet there is another choice. Bear right onto the footpath through Ferry Wood alongside the road (grade moderate), or continue to follow the road itself.  The two routes join after another 800m.

You can cross the water via seasonal ferry and explore the village of Newton Ferrers. The Ship Inn is highly recommended in Noss Mayo. 

Follow the road through Noss Mayo village. At a sharp left-hand uphill bend turn right, by a cottage called Yonda Coombe.

Go past the car park and tennis courts and follow the lane, which leads onto a track up the hill. At the road, turn left immediately right into the car park.

2. Bonehill Rocks to Hameldown to Widecombe and back (about 7.5 miles)

This is a perennial favourite of ours and on a good day, takes in spectacular views down to the coast across Dartmoor. 

Park at Bonehill Rocks (about a mile S/W

out of Widecombe) and take the path opposite you and down (with the rocks on your right) for a mile or so. At the bottom of the path where it joins a lane, turn right and climb up to Natsworthy. After you pass the Manor on your left you’ll see open moorland

Lovely Widecombe in The Moor

Pick up the path that takes you to the right hand side of the cleave and heads up to the Two Moors Way. You’ll see a monument to honour the airmen who were lost in the war.

Stay on this route on the top of Hameldown with amazing almost panoramic views for about 2 miles until you see the village of Widecombe down to your left.

At the end of the stone wall to your left, pick up the steep path that brings you down into the village. Turn left for the brilliant Cafe on The Green or right then left for the lovely Rugglestone Inn. 

To get back to Bonehill Rocks, continue past the Cafe on The Green, take the next left and walk up the very steep hill to the car park at the top. 

No "bull" at the wonderful Cafe on The Green

3. Parke (Bovey Tracey) to Lustleigh via Hisley Woods and back (about 7.5 miles)

This is a wonderful walk starting at National Trust’s Parke estate near Bovey Tracey and walking through their woodland up to lovely Lustleigh vie Hisley woods. 

Leaving the top end of the car park, turn immediately left rather than walking down towards the cafe and walk up through the fields taking time to turn around and admire the views down towards the coast. 

Where the fields end, you’ll go through a gate into woodland. Stay on the path for about a mile at the top of the woods until you see a stile infront of you before the path drops down. Go over the stile and turn right down the road. When you go over a bridge, turn left and head towards Lustleigh. This lane runs alongside a brook then past houses on the right and fields of sheep on your left. 

After about a mile and a half, take the first lane on your left down a slight slope and continue under the old railway bridge, bearing left over a further bridge then turning right after the bridge into Hisley Woods. 

Keep to the higher path all the way through the woods (if you prefer, pick up the lower path along the river then follow a VERY steep path up to meet the track). After you go through the gate at the top of the path, bear slightly right- go down and curve gently round to the right over a beautiful ancient packbridge. A great place to stop for your snack and drink. 

Crossing the bridge, take the path to your right then steep left which climbs up affording lovely views over to the moors on your left. This path brings you alongside a jem of a farm then down a track to a crossroads. Go straight across and down into Lustleigh. Here you can visit The Primrose Tearoom when it’s open (spring/Summer) or The Cleave pub which is decent enough. There’s also a very Ancient Hisley Bridge

good village shop which serves fine ice cream.

Pick up the path that runs just below the Primrose tearoom which takes you along a leat and the cricket pitch then through a lane with idyllic cottages on either side. Take the next lane left which takes you back to the road (turn right) which takes you towards Parke. 

On the return journey, pick up the path to your left when you reach the edge of the Parke estate. This is part of the old railway line and will take you back to Parke, where you can either walk along the river or stay on this track and end up back at the cafe which is excellent. 

The lovely village of Lustleigh

4. Totnes to Sharpham and Tuckenhay (about 10 easy miles)

Park at the Steamer Quay Car Park for long stay and cross the bridge back over the river towards Totnes before turning left onto The Plains. Walk with the river on your left until you pass The Steam Packet Pub. Turn right just beyond the pub up a very narrow steep lane. After a few yards, turn left on the signposted path towards Sharpham and Ashprington. 

Keeping the river on your left, follow the path until it splits. Take the left hand fork which keeps you lower down heading towards Sharpham. When you get to the drive, turn right and walk up the very steep hill up the drive. At the top, turn left and head into Ashprington. 

Wonderful views down to The Dart

Walk down through the village to reach Bow Bridge and then with the Dart on your left, walk further couple of miles to reach The Maltsters at Tuckenhay. 

On your return journey, when you get to the top of the drive, take the higher path to your left which brings you back to the bottom of a steep hill where you’ll rejoin the route back to Totnes. 

The views on this easy walk are really lovely and you can see Haytor in the distance. 

If you prefer, you could just walk the circular walk to Sharpham (about 6 miles) and then head for The (fabulous!) Bull in Totnes

5. Stokenham to Beesands, Slapton and back to Chillington (about 8 miles) 

The bonus of this great (sometimes hilly walk) is that you have a choice of great eateries- we LOVE The Britannia seafood takeaway at Beesands, but you also have the lovely Cricketers there or there are a couple of places on the beach at Slapton or The Church House Inn in Stokenham. 

Park your car in Stokenham and find the Church House Inn. With the pub on your right, cross the road and head uphill. Go through the metal kissing gate and follow the footpath through the field to Beeson which takes you to a tarmac track. Turn left and follow this down where it will turn right past a very pretty thatched cottage (signed public footpath).

The Brilliant Britannia-highly recommended

You’ll pass through woodland to a stile, cross and climb another stile to take down the sloping edge of a field. In the corner, climb a stile to the right to reach a T junction. Turn left to join the coast path heading uphill through woodland curving around the edge of Beesand quarry. Stay on this path, through a couple of gates (admiring the views), joining a tarmac path that drops you down into Beesands where you can stop for lovely food at either Britannia or The Cricketers. 

Turn with the sea on your right and walk back along the coast path to Starcross, heading along the front edge of Slapton Ley. At the far end of the Ley, follow the path along to your left to go around the right hand end of the back of the Ley. 

Pick up the “permissive route to Slapton village” and after walking across more boardwalks, pick up a path to the right in the “deerbridge” direction, along a tree lined path. Turn left when you get to the lane, crossing the bridge and climb up the steep lane for about a mile, reaching a junction of lanes at Coleridge Cross. 

At a public footpath sign, bear left and head diagonally across a path which takes you back to Stokenham. 

6. Bench Tor, the Pipe Track and Venford Reservoir (about 5 miles)

Park opposite Venford Reservoir and walk diagonally up the slop towards Bench Tor. The tor consists of several rocky outcrops and it’s really worth working your way all along the top as the views down onto the Dart are spectacular. 

When you reach the last outcrop, drop down behind you (don’t attempt to climb down towards the river!) through Rowan trees and pick up the fairly distinct path into ancient and beautiful woodland. After a short descent, you’ll reach a level track known as The Pipe Track, where you bear left. If you like, you can carry on down the path opposite you and walk alongside the

Bench Tor

Dart (where it loops back away from the part you looked over at Bench Tor) heading left before climbing back up. 

At the end of the Pipe Track you’ll see a house which is part of the water treatment works- head left up a small slope then bear right along the fence which will bring you to the road. Turn right here and cross the bridge with the reservoir to your left and the treatment works to your right. 

At the end of.the bridge, bear left and turn left through a metal gate into the path which takes you around the reservoir. 

After you have walked about ¾ of the way round, you’ll see a gate on your right, go through this, turn left and a short walk will bring you back to the car park. 

Drive down into Holne and visit the great Church House Inn or the lovely village cafe and tearooms (both equally good- but check opening times). 

To conclude

There are hundreds of great walks on Dartmoor, the SW Coast path and paths, lanes & tracks in-between. If you stay with us at Mill Cross Retreats, we can give you plenty of advice and guidance on places to enjoy a good walk. Do remember to bring stout walking boots, a good waterproof and to take bottles of water to help you on your way.

The Church House Inn at Holne

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