I have moved to Devon. Yay. Well, not forever, just for 1 month. I arrived yesterday, dropped my stuff off at my homebase in Totnes, then went straight out for my first walk. I had marked out the Totnes to Sharpham walk as one to try. It was the perfect one to start with, as I could start the walk straight out of my front door in Totnes, and follow the River Dart to reach Sharpham Cheese and Wine. I had read that at Sharpham, you can sample the stuff. A nice first day I would say.
What to expect on the Totnes to Sharpham river walk
The Totnes to Sharpahm walk is part of the Dart Valley trail, one I will complete on my stay here (update: I completed it. You can read about it here). The walk itself is really lovely. Some river, some woodland, a few hills and gorgeous views. Although there are some steps and a few hills, it’s not challenging at all. There is one very steep hill, but it’s short.
I walked to Sharpham from Totnes and back along different trails. One at lower level, and one at higher level. The higher level trail is mostly a clean asphalt trail and some gravel. The lower level is dirt and grass. See tips below for more info.
What about the cheese?
The cheese part of the walk didn’t quite work out. When I arrived in Sharpham, I had a walk around the area and couldn’t figure out where I needed to go for the cheese. I ended up cutting my losses and made my way back to Totnes.
When I got back home to internet, I had a look online and discovered that it is actually closed to visitors now, permanently. Their new visitors site is moving to Sandridge. I am doing a walk that way, although, they aren’t open yet. Of course they aren’t.
Despite being closed, the walk from Totnes is still great, and the views from Sharpham, looking back along the River Dart, are gorgeous.
Logistics for the Totnes to Sharpham river walk
- Start/finish: Totnes bridge
- How to get there: The bridge is located at the bottom of the high street. Totnes is on the Great Western Railway line. To my surprise, it takes under 3 hours by train from London.
- Distance: 5 miles
- Time: 2h
- Difficulty: Easy
- Elevation: Highest point is about 110m. With the hills, you will walk up a total of about 265m
- Terrain: Dirt trails, asphalt, some gravel
- Amenities: Everything in Totnes, nothing along the walk (except a few benches here and there). No cheese at Sharpham. I recommend the Curator in Totnes. It’s the best coffee I have had out here.
- Time of year: Early spring
- Dog friendly: Some of it. There are a few stiles, all bar one have doggy gaps. Some of the fields have livestock, but you are warned before entering those fields. See tips for more details.
Map for the Totnes to Sharpham river walk
-More local walking ideas will be at the end-
Tips for the Totnes to Sharpham river walk
- As I mentioned earlier, there is an upper trail and a lower trail. I walked out to Sharpham on one and back to Totnes on the other. You could however just stick to one of them based on preferences:
- If you want to avoid the stiles, then just walk on the upper level trail. This one has no stiles.
- The upper trail is mostly asphalt, the lower trail is dirt ground and grass, so if it’s been raining, it can get muddy. If you want to avoid that, then you should stick to the upper trail.
- The upper trail has the best views as you are higher. But it’s also less rugged, if that’s the kind of thing you like. I think doing both the upper and lower trail (like I did) gives good variety.
After the walk, if you want to see the river from a different perspective, why not try this guided canoe tour. It takes you from Totnes, and either past Sharpham, or the other way (depending on the tide).
Route description for The Totnes To Sharpham River Walk
So first you want to get yourself to the river. From there, if facing the river (from the high street side), turn right. For the first bit, the walk is by the road, then a little further along you can walk along the river side briefly. You can see it was low tide in Totnes when I started the walk towards Sharpham. When I arrive back later, you will see it is high tide. It was quite nice to see the difference.
The walk at this point is only briefly by the river, then you are forced back onto the road again. Keep going, and look out for the green trail sign on the right side of the road, next to a white building.
Follow the sign up a bit more road, then there will be a trail sign pointing you left onto the trail.
Walk out of Totnes towards Sharpham
It’s a gradual walk uphill, first behind some houses, and then when you get higher up, you will get a lovely view of the river ahead, and back to Totnes behind.
Go through the gate at the top, and then make you way downhill in a zigzag fashion down the steps. At the bottom, follow the trail sign to the right through the gate.
Walk though the woods
Soon the walk will take you into and through the woods, with peaks of the river to the left. Although, I couldn’t see much river. I wasn’t sure if that is because it was low tide, or because it was hidden from view.
The walk continues under tree cover for a bit, before briefly taking you out alongside the bottom of a hill, and then back into woods again.
Look out for a view to the ruins on the hill to the left.
The steps, livestock field and more woods
When you reach the junction, take the left to walk over the bridge thing, and then up some steps to reach the bottom of another field. This is the first one that has livestock. I didn’t see any when I was there, but they could be another time.
Follow the trail along the bottom of this hill and back into more woodland.
Out of the woods
After a bit more wood walking, you will reach another gate with a livestock sign. Again, there weren’t any when I was there on this day. You will no be out of the woods for the rest of the walk along the river to Sharpham.
When you do go through the gate out of the woods, there are a couple of trail options. I took the left one to stay at the bottom. If you look up top, there is a trail up there which is what I walk back to Totnes on later.
If you are following me, keep to the bottom trail as it takes you around the bottom of the hill to reach the road/path.
Walk to Sharpham
At the road path, turn left and walk through the gate, then at the next junction, take the left trail. When you walk back to Totnes from Sharpham, you will reach this point again from a different trail. You will see later.
Walking along this trail, you will start to get lovely views up and down the River Dart. These are the views I had been waiting for.
This trail will lead you all the way to Sharpham. How far you go is up to you. I walked all the way down the hill in search of cheese. As you know already, I didn’t find any.
It’s a dead end at the bottom, so if you don’t fancy walking down and up again, you can stop before the trail heads down. There are nice views down there, but they are just as nice from up top.
Walk back to Totnes from Sharpham
For the way back, if you turn back as if you are going to walk back to Totnes along the trail you got here on, you should see a trail to the left with a sign to Ashprington. Walk up this trail.
This bit is the very steep trail I mentioned at the beginning. The views are very nice from up there, so just keep thinking of that as you make your way up. If it’s the right time of year, you will also be presented with some cherry blossoms to lighten the mood of the uphill.
Near the top, the trail ends and you have to walk next to the road for a bit. It’s a very quiet road though. No cars passed when I was there. I think the road is only for the Sharpham Cheese place, which is why it’s quiet.
Walk back onto the trail
Walking along the road, I could see the top of a house at the bottom of the hill on the left which had lots of nice colourful plants and flowers, and what looks like a giant bonsai tree (I have no idea what the tree is).
Continue the walk along the road, and when you reach the gate pillars which say Sharpham, the trail back to Totnes will be on the right.
Walk though woods
Now, for a while, the trail is under tree cover. I was a little bummed as it took away from the views. I did wonder wether I had made the right decision to walk back to Totnes this way. However, I started to get some peaks of the views through tree openings, and then the trees ended and I had nice almost unobstructed views up and down the River Dart.
Walk along the top of the hill with the views
You will reach the junction I mentioned you would return to earlier. Turn left here, and this time, stick to the road path. This will take you along the top of the hill with all the views.
Somewhere along here, the is a green patch of hill with some arty looking seats and a memorial to all the extinct species. This is a gorgeous spot. Nice grass to lay on, with stunning views along the valley and River Dart.
The final stretch of the walk back to Totnes from Sharpham
Back onto the trail, it will lead you through some more woods, then out again briefly, and then in again where you will remain for the rest of the walk back to Totnes. Some bits of the woods are fully enclosed, some bits have little gaps to see out to the views.
You will know you are nearing Totnes as you will start to see the views of the houses through the trees. Keep going, and the trail will take you all the way back to where you started.
More walks near Totnes, Sharpham, and the River Dart
Totnes to Dittisham walk – This one takes you along the River Dart, and instead of turning back to Totnes at Sharpham, you keep going all the way to Dittisham.
Dartmouth Dittisham Circular walk – This is a fantastic walk on both sides of the River Dart. You will cross over the river twice on a boat. For the crossing at Dittisham you ring a bell and a little boat comes to get you. It’s a challenging one with some very steep long hills.
Totnes to Dartington walk – This walk follow the River Dart to Dartington Park, through woodland, and to the cider press centre. It then finishes of with a lovely view down the valley.
Little Dartmouth Walk – This one is a little further away, starting from Dartmouth and heading in the other direction along the coast path. It’s a nice circular walk with a few not too challenging hills, and lovely views along both the River Dart and out to sea.
For a more detailed comparison, you can read about the best walks from Totnes.