A Spotlight on Galmpton
[This is Galmpton near Brixham, not to be confused with Galmpton, Kingsbridge]
An introduction to Galmpton.
In the county of Devon, betwixt Paignton and Brixham, sits Galmpton, a perhaps, lesser known semi-rural Devon village which extends to the shore of the River Dart at Galmpton Creek. Galmpton is 3 miles from Brixham and 5 miles from Dartmouth via the ferry from Kingswear.
This seemingly unassuming village borders Torbay and South Hams districts and has access to some beautiful scenery and attractions.
There’s a large grassy common on the outer edge recognised from the main road as a large open space populated with an old windmill and war memorial.
The village amenities include a local pub, a general store/post office, a family butcher and hairdresser.
Every year the Gooseberry Pie Fair is held on the first Sunday in July. The first record of a Gooseberry Pie Fair taking place in Galmpton dates back to 1873, although it’s origins could be much older than this. A large Gooseberry Pie is carried by the Devon Belle on the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway to Churston Station. It is then carried down to the village of Galmpton where a street fair is now held at the Manor Inn.
“They think it’s all over…it is now.” Whose famous line was this? Kenneth Wolstenholme, world cup 1966 commentator lived in Galmpton until he died in 2002. Other famous connections include the acclaimed author and poet, Robert Graves (most well-known for I, Claudius) who lived in Vale House on Greenway Road.
And, not forgetting prolific crime writer Agatha Christie whose second home was the stunning Greenway House which sits nobly above the Dart; its exotic gardens meandering down to the boat house by the waters edge, her very own ‘dream house.’ As Poirot may have said, “ses magnifiques mes amis.”
Greenway House and Gardens is now a national trust property, open to the public and is well worth a visit. Parking is limited so cars do need to be booked in advance. Dogs are allowed in the grounds on a lead and there is a café and shop for refreshments of course.
Walks and Scenery.
I really wanted to tell you about the lovely walks and scenery on offer here. Both the Greenway Walk and the Dart Valley Trail include Galmpton. My starting point is the holiday bungalows on Greenway Road.
Just at the end of the bungalows is a narrow lane called Mill Lane. Take a walk down here without veering off to Hook Bottom Lane (it seems it’s now just known as Hook Lane; the ‘bottom’ must have been too rude). After a few minutes you will come to a junction, take a left to go down to the shore of Mill Creek (my favourite place to see the sun setting) or turn right to go to Dartside Quay and back around the village. However, straight in front of you is a gate and beyond this viewpoint you are rewarded with a fantastic view of the Dart taking in Dittisham and looking out towards Dartmoor.
Now, there are several routes to get to Greenway House. Beyond Mill Creek is one option, or you could walk down Greenway Road, which is shorter at around 25 mins, but you do have to step in for traffic.
So, I’m going to talk about the way that is longest but, again, offers a spectacular view! This takes around an hour from the holiday bungalows.
From Greenway Road, turn left into Kennel Lane and over the railway bridge (the wonderfully nostalgic Paignton to Kingswear steam train passes through Galmpton; Churston Station is just at the top of the village) and onto Combe Lane. If you follow the signs for the Greenway Walk you will end up at Maypool where there are a cluster of lovely homes and what was a youth hostel. Passing by the youth hostel into the next field you are again rewarded with a simply stunning picture of the river with Kingswear on the left – it’s really, fabulous, that’s all I can say, and my photos don’t do it justice.
Carrying on, you do end up having to come down a hillside with no path and here you find yourself in the car park to Greenway House, so if you fancy it you can visit and have a cuppa and a slice of cake. Dogs are allowed in the grounds on leads.
If you don’t want to go into the house you can still walk down the drive and pick up the path to Greenway Quay, or you can walk down Greenway Road. There is a short, sharp descent to the Quay where, again, there are refreshments to be had. From here you can take the quaint 12 person ferry to Dittisham (locally pronounced Ditsum), or you can take a boat ride to Dartmouth. Dittisham is very popular for crabbing from the quay and the Ferry Boat Inn or Anchorstone Café for (even more) food and drink.
In the past we have enjoyed our day cruising down the River from Greenway Quay to Dartmouth. After spending some time in beautiful Dartmouth we took the lower ferry across to Kingswear where we caught the steam train back to Churston Station and strolled home (after dinner at The Manor).
Looking for holiday accommodation in Galmpton? Check out our holiday bungalows.