and the estuary from Sharp Tor

Explore South Devon: Salcombe to Bolt Head

Passing through an enchanted landscape of rocky spires and jumbled pinnacles. With inspiring views in all directions, this is a coastal walk guaranteed to lift the spirits.


Start South Sands, Salcombe TQ8 8LL
Distance 2.75 miles (3.25 miles extended route)
Circular Walk? Yes
Grade Moderate

Coastal footpath, uneven and rocky in places; surfaced road; field footpath.

Obstacles and steep gradients

2 flights of steps; 1 steep ascent (+1 on extended route).

Public transport

Visit TravelineSW

Refreshment stops

At Salcombe and South Sands.


Public toilets at South Sands; also at Whitestrand, Salcombe.


Shadycombe car park, Salcombe for ferry to South Sands from Whitestrand Pontoon. Pay and display. (Summer only).

OS map Explorer OL20
Grid reference SX728377


1. The ferry for South Sands leaves from Whitestrand Pontoon in the centre of Salcombe. To get there from the car park and bus stop at Shadycombe, follow pedestrian signs into the town centre, turn left along Fore Street, and left again after 100m to the waterfront at Whitestrand.

2. From South Sands as you disembark from the ferry turn left along the road which curves uphill.

3. Continue straight on past National Trust hut. Follow sign for Overbecks along winding drive up hill.

4. Right in front of gates to Overbecks, turn right up footpath, keeping wall on left.

5.  At the next fingerpost turn left up steps signed for Sharp Tor, Starehole and Bolt Head.

6. Continue along footpath past Sharp Tor – marked by compass on plinth. Go straight on at next fingerpost signed for Starehole and Bolt Head to drop down into valley.

7. Cross the stream at the bottom. Turn left here down the valley, and left again onto the coast path. A short diversion will take you to East Soar Farm Experience which has a walkers hut with self service cakes, cream teams and drinks. (follow the signs, before returning to this point). Otherwise continue on the path leaving the sign to the farm on your right. Jump to point 11 for the shorter route.

8. Alternatively, for an extended walk taking in Bolt Head itself, go straight on after crossing the stream up the steep path opposite and along the wall.

9. At the fingerpost take 2nd path left signed ‘Coast Path Salcombe 2½m’. This path drops along flank of ridge.

10. Bear round to the left at the tip of the ridge to follow the coast path. At fork, take right hand path downhill. You rejoin the shorter route at the bottom of the next dip at Starehole Bay.

11. Follow the coast path back into the estuary mouth and through the woods. Bear right where you meet the road to return to South Sands.