This walk in South Devon takes you along the coastline from the coastal town of Teignmouth, to Dawlish and Dawlish Warren. What makes this walk unique is the railway track. For a good chunk of the walk between Teignmouth and Dawlish, you will be on an easy path alongside the railway track, following the sea wall. You will be alongside it for the whole walk between Dawlish and Dawlish Warren.
It’s pretty cool actually, walking on a path right in between the sea, beach, and railway. If you get your camera out to take a photo of a train passing, the driver might toot hello. Well, they did for me anyway.
What to expect on the walk between Teignmouth and Dawlish
It’s not all railway track, well, most of it is. But you also have a backdrop of the dramatic red cliffside, and some sea rocks.
For the first section of the walk from Teignmouth to Holcombe, you follow the railway, before heading steeply uphill. Then from Holcombe to Dawlish, there is a bit of road followed by gorgeous views along the coastline all the way to Exmouth and beyond.
After descending off the hill, you will be back alongside the railway track to walk into Dawlish.
Now, you can stop the walk here, or you can keep going to reach Dawlish Warren. They are all connected by train, so it’s easy.
Walk between Dawlish and Dawlish Warren
The walk between Dawlish and Dawlish Warren is all alongside the railway track, but if you are tired of railway, you could always go down onto the sandy beach. Just like the previous section from Teignmouth, you still have the gorgeous red cliffy backdrop all the way to Dawlish Warren.
When you reach Dawlish Warren, you can go even further to walk around the nature reserve. Mother Nature had other plans for me on this day….I will explain all below.
Logistics for the Teignmouth to Dawlish Railway walk
- Start: Teignmouth
- Finish: Dawlish or Dawlish Warren
- How to get there: Teignmouth and Dawlish/Dawlish Warren are located in South Devon, and are both on the Great Western Railway line.
- Distance: 5.7 miles linear
- Time: 2h
- Elevation: Highest point is 70m. You will walk uphill a total of 170m
- Terrain: Asphalt, concrete, dirt trail, some road, optional sand.
- Difficulty: Easy. There are some steep hills, but they aren’t too long, and the rest in between is super easy.
- Dog friendly: I think the beaches are dog friendly. There is a lot of beach.
- Amenities: Everything in Teignmouth and Dawlish. There is also a little cafe hut at the end of the first bit of railway walk out of Teignmouth.
- Time of year: I did the Teignmouth to Dawlish railway walk in spring.
Tips for the Teignmouth to Dawlish walk
- Walk in the same direction I did (Teignmouth to Dawlish). The views are great in both directions, but I think they are just a little bit better this way. Plus, it avoids sun in the eyes.
- Don’t do the walk at high tide, as there is a section which will be under water. You can check the tide times here.
- Also, don’t do the walk during stormy weather. The walk from Teignmouth to Dawlish is pretty much all along the sea wall, and those waves might gets you.
- Walk all the way to Dawlish Warren. That extra bit isn’t too long, and it’s worth it.
- At the time of writing, there is a small section of coastal path closed out of Dawlish. You have to do a sort of loop on side streets to get back to it. I will show you all the details when I describe the walk route below.
- If you are feeling like a big kid, there is a fairground at Dawlish Warren you can play in.
- If you are feeling extra spicy, get a boat across the water from Dawlish Warren to Exmouth to continue the walk along the coastal path.
- You could get away with wearing trainers, but they should be good grip, as there is a section of steep uneven dirt ground. Hiking boots is a bonus.
- When you have finished the walk, top it off with a guided sea kayaking adventure. It takes you to lonely bays, with a chance to spot some seals and dolphins.
Map for the Teignmouth to Dawlish walk
More costal walks I recommend near Teignmouth and Dawlish will be at the end
Route Description for the Teignmouth to Dawlish railway walk
I started this walk right from the tip at Teignmouth, looking out to Shaldon on the other side of the river. There is a nice big red cliff view from here.
Wherever you are, just head to the sea front and walk north. You start off on the Teignmouth promenade, which will lead you to the path that runs alongside the railway track.
Walk alongside the railway track from Teignmouth to Holocombe
It’s now a long stretch of walking railway side, with a steep cliff to the left and a view to Holocombe, the little village, on top of the big cliff ahead.
As you are approaching the end of the line, you might wonder where the trail goes from here. Well, I did anyway. It seemed like I was heading to a dead end, and I really did think that the walk was about to end before it even got started.
The way across the railway doesn’t show itself until literally the very last moment, where you will reach some steps to take you underneath.
As you go under the railway track, you will find the cafe hut with a seating area if you fancy a break.
Walk through Holocombe
Under the railway, it’s a steep uphill along a road.
Then when you reach the main road, turn right. Some way along here, there is a coast path sign directing you to the right. Walk uphill on this side road, and just after it curves around, there is another coast path sign directing you to the left through the bushes. The photos below are the second turning.
At first you are walking between bushes, and then things open up for a view to the left along the coastline towards Dawlish Warren.
Walk from Holocombe to Dawlish
The trail first takes you in the direction of the sea, and then you will start to descend before it curves to the left for a pretty steep downhill, and soon a gorgeous view to some pointy rocks.
At the bottom, it’s uphill again along the edge of a sheep field. This trail continues straight for a bit, then turns left to take you back to the road.
Now, at the road, you have a couple of options. You can stay on the main road, or do what I did, and take the side road that runs to the right of it. I didn’t fancy the main road with all the cars, so the side road seemed like a better option. Plus I could see what the houses look like around here. I’m always fascinated by homes in the countryside, especially the ones with the sea views.
I also passed an interesting tree along here.
Dawlish, the end of the walk….or not
When the side road hits the main road again, turn to the right, and a short way along, there is a trail to the right leading you past some red rocks and onto the green. On the other side of the green, you will get a gorgeous view back towards those pointy rocks, and towards Dawlish on the other side.
If you follow the perimeter of the green, it will lead you to the steps to walk down to Dawlish. Now you sort of zigzag you way down to reach the seafront. I made sure to keep to the right turns, which took me down to the end of the promenade and all the beach huts.
From here, walk north along the promenade, and back alongside the railway track again to reach Dawlish.
Top Tip: Look out for the black swans in the pond in the town centre.
If you want, you can end your Teignmouth to Dawlish walk here. There is plenty around to explore, and there is a train station to get you back. If you want to go further (which I recomend), then continue on.
Walk from Dawlish to Dawlish Warren
As I said earlier, the coastal path was cut off here. There were a bunch of diggers doing their thing. I was intrigued by the fact that the diggers had an audience. Is this what entertainment is out here?
I had a walk up and down trying to figure out where to go, to get back onto the coastal path. You may notice the back and forth on my map.
If the coast path is still blocked when you are there, then what you need to do is walk towards the station (you can’t miss it), and take the left road just next to it. A short way up the hill you will see an archway. Go through it and up some steps, then turn right on the trail up top.
Follow this trail as it first takes you past some houses, then a brief sea view before going through a wall and back on to the road.
At the road turn right, and then a short way along, the trail will be through a wall on your right. This takes you downhill and over the railway track.
The final stretch of the walk into Dawlish Warren
Over the railway track, follow the path alongside it, where you again have a dramatic steep cliffside to the left, and a view to the gorgeous red cliffs ahead. As I mentioned earlier, you can go down and walk on the beach if you wish. I didn’t want to. It’s not every day a walk takes you right alongside a railway track doubled with gorgeous views.
As I mentioned earlier, my plan was to walk around the nature reserve at Dawlish Warren, and wave hello to Exmouth across the water, but things didn’t quite work out that way….
At this point, it was lovely, sunny and warm. I had stripped down all my layers to just my t-shirt. As I got past the big red rock, the vibe completely changed. The air got cold. There was a nasty looking black cloud ahead. It looked to be raining heavily on Exmouth. Maybe the cloud wouldn’t come over here….I put my layers back on just incase.
The wind started to pick up and everything started to get dark. We all know what that means.
I was confused though, because the rain cloud was still across the water. Then I looked left. There was another one just there.
As I continued walking, I started to hear screams. That’s when I noticed the fairground ahead. It was all quite ominous. Darkness, wind, cold air, and screams.
Everything was feeling wrong, so decided to call it a day.
Just past the fairground, I reached Dawlish Warren railway to a train just arriving, and jumped on.
A moment later, there was torrential rain.
More railway walks or routes near Teignmouth and Dawlish
Babbacombe to Shaldon – Just across the water from Teignmouth, you have Shaldon. Where this big red cliff was from the beginning. This stretch of coast is on the more challenging side and surprisingly woody. coming soon.
Exmouth to Budleigh Salterton – Just across the water from Dawlish Warren, you have Exmouth. This is a short walk which takes you across some impressive red coloured cliffs, and if the seas are rough, the sediments makes the water turn red. You will literally see a red coloured sea.
Paignton to Brixham walk – This walk starts just south from Teignmouth, and part of it is also along the railway track. This railway is for the steam trains which is more exotic than the regular trains. It’s a very scenic walk following the South West Coast Path.
Dartmouth Dittisham walk – The first part of this walk also follows the railway track for the steam train. It’s also pretty scenic with the railway on one side, and the river and boats on the other. It’s a much more challenging walk, but it’s also one of my favourites down here, so I highly recommend it.
For more walk ideas in Devon, you could check out the Visit Devon website.