Whether you’re going to admire the famous black swans that favour the area or simply a quiet little getaway with the family, Dawlish is full of great things to do.
Dawlish itself and its neighbouring seaside towns and villages always receive praise for their coastal views, which are made easy to admire by the local walking trails. However, as a popular tourist destination, beaches around Dawlish can often become very busy to enjoy a peaceful walk during the summer months.
So, here are a few local walks you can follow in and around the town of Dawlish that are all full of site-seeing wonders in their own right.
Dawlish and Dawlish Warren
No matter when you visit Dawlish, it’s worth taking a walk around the town and the famous Dawlish Warren. With stunning views and a serene atmosphere always, you get to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city.
The town itself comprises flat roads, so it’s easy to appreciate its historical value without too much physical exertion.
Likewise, though the warren’s sandy shores can be challenging to navigate when full of sun-bathing tourists, it’s generally a flat and easy walk.
There are both inland and seaside routes you can walk from the town to the warren as the beach becomes fully covered at high tide, which can often be quite aggressive, especially during bad weather.
No worries, though; the inland routes will still let you admire the fascinating architectural quirks of Dawlish and admire the seaside views.
Dawlish Town Trail
Another specific flat route around the town, the Dawlish town trail, will take you a full circle from Dawlish station, through the town and back again.
You’ll truly get to experience the key sights of Dawlish, from the Old Town that has ties back to Celtic times to the newer developments of the town built in the 1800s.
It’s worth noting that while the trail itself is flat and easy to navigate, there are very few pavements. Therefore, you’ll be walking along roads for most of it.
The locals of Dawlish are well aware of the popularity of Dawlish’s town trail so take extra care to ensure the roads remain safe and accessible with little traffic.
Dawlish Warren Station and Dawlish Nature Reserve
If you’re a nature lover, you just have to take the Dawlish Warren Station to Dawlish Nature Reserve walking route.
The nature reserve is an internationally recognised reserve serving as an essential protector of the unique birds and animals local to the coastal area. A real treat to behold all of these creatures and a sight you won’t forget in a hurry.
Anyone who works at the Nature Reserve is primarily a local resident, so they’re very knowledgeable about local nature.
They will always be willing to show you around the reserve and talk to you about the 30 species of birds that you can commonly spot along the local walks.
You can walk along Dawlish Warren promenade, a flat walk with few obstacles to get to the reserve. They allow dogs on the beach and dunes, but they don’t permit them on the nature reserve’s mudflats.
Teignmouth to Shaldon
To travel from Teignmouth to Shaldon, you can take a ferry which is accessible via a short walk from Teignmouth Station.
The ferry runs all year round (except for Christmas day and New Year’s Day) with the running times dependent on the tides, but usually from around 8am-6pm. That’s plenty of time to make it across to Shaldon and explore the beautiful neighbouring town.
When you take the first step off the ferry at Shaldon, you’ll want to make your way to the Smugglers Tunnel.
While the tunnel itself was never actually used for smuggling (reportedly!), it does lead down to Ness Cove. The cove is a lovely quiet beach originally privately owned but now open to those who find it.
Along with the Shaldon Little Zoo, plenty of shops and local pubs, the walk around Shaldon village is peaceful, full of plenty of places to admire the seafront. Just make sure to make it back to the ferry in time!
Teignmouth Seafront to Smugglers Lane
A mile-long coastal walk, the trail leading from Teignmouth to Smugglers Lane may be short, but it’s stunning.
A few steps at the trail’s end lead to the lane itself, but most of the walk is entirely flat.
The trail takes you across the sea wall, offering a front-row view of the coast. It’s the perfect walk for when you need a breath of fresh air or a change of scenery.
If you arrive at Teignmouth seafront and find the path quite wet, it’ll be very slippery, so don’t attempt to take a walk.
During the safer access times, there are refreshments and public toilets available just inland from the sea wall. It’s the perfect walk to enjoy a nice, refreshing ice cream and watch the sunset.
Be aware that the seafront can get quite busy during the summer months as it’s a popular tourist walk. So, keep animals and children close by and don’t get too close to the edge of the wall.
There are no barriers nor fences along the sea wall, and it’s a direct 5-metre drop from the front to the beach.
If you’re walking from Teignmouth, you can walk along the beach at low tide, until you reach the affectionately known “Teignmouth Toblerone”, when you can switch to the remainder of the sea wall.
Dawlish Warren Station to Cockwood
Following along the Exe Valley Trail, you can walk a 3.3-mile walk from Dawlish Warren Station to the historic town of Cockwood in less than an hour.
There is a short climb up Cofton Hill, but it’s not steep nor long. At the top, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning view of the whole of Exe estuary of which Cockwood was built around.
Carry on the trail to take a walk through Cockwood. The village is full of history, having established roots dating back to Norman times.
With plenty of benches to rest your legs, you can either circle the trail back around to Dawlish Warren or continue to walk the Exe Valley Trail until you reach Starcross Station.
Dawlish to Exeter
For those who like a little more of a challenge, there’s a 20km walk from Lady’s Mile all the way to Exeter, following the River Exe. First, head down to Dawlish Warren, then find your way through Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve, up to the quaint village of Cockwood, through Starcross, and past Powderham Castle and its grounds. From Powderham, follow the River Exe towards the Turf Locks and follow the Exe Valley Way alongside the canal, all the way up to the historic city of Exeter.
Once in Exeter, there are easy transport links back to Dawlish and Dawlish Warren, including the number 2 bus from the bus station, or the regular trains. Therefore, after a quick rest, why not take in some of the sites of Exeter, and its rich history.
If you enjoyed our guide to local walks around Dawlish, you might like our other blogs. Find them here.