Seeing as we are finally getting a glimpse of a real summer, it is high time that I publish this post about a fantastic walk that can be had along a stretch of the Paignton and Dartmouth Railway in Devon. Fantastic views of both the railway and Torbay are to be had.
Funnily enough, my wife and I walked this route by mistake! We had been advised that a lovely walk from Broadsands towards Elberry Cove was well worth doing, but through the all too familiar “getting lost on holiday” we ended up at Goodrington Sands and had paid for our car park ticket before realising the error! And I am being genuine that this was a mistake… it just turned out to be very fortuitous in that it had some amazing views of the Paignton and Dartmouth Railway on its route!
The walk starts at Goodrington Sands car park and/or Goodrington Sands railway station. Goodrington Sands is a traditional English seaside resort territory, love it or hate it, with various amusements for the holiday maker. From the car park; head directly to the coast, where you will join a promenade that follows the beach (above). Heading south you will walk parallel to the beach, beach huts and the railway, eventually walking under a railway bridge. The route to Broadsands is sign-posted all the way and it is a tiny portion of the 630 mile south-west coastal path.
After passing under the railway the path takes an immediate left-hand turn and proceeds upwards to a fantastic vantage for steam trains heading from Paignton towards Kingswear. It is here that we got our first view of 4936 Kinlet Hall (see top photograph and below). This locomotive is normally based at Tyseley, but is operating on the Paignton and Dartmouth railway until mid-September.
Continuing along the footpath, you then get another view that is great for seeing locomotives coming from the opposite direction. If a peak service with two trains is running, you will not have to wait for long as the trains pass at Churston. Operating the second service this day was long-term resident 7827 Lydham Manor in lined BR black.
Hopefully these pictures help you understand why in my opinion, the Paignton to Dartmouth steam railway is one of the most picturesque preserved railways!
The path dips down and then up again, providing another vantage point to watch steam train’s approach from Paignton, however at this point we would have had to wait a long time so we pressed on, but did see Lydham Manor on our return along the path (see second from last picture). The path is fairly steep in places and provides a good little workout. Views north across Torbay to Torquay are beautiful (below) and also south towards Brixham and Broadsands.
Descending towards Broadsands you’ll soon see a viaduct (below) which you will walk under to get to the final destination of this guide – Broadsands beach.
Broadsands is a lot less commercialised than Goodrington. No doubt it must get busy on hot days in the school holidays, but it was very quiet when we were there. My wife’s picture below captures the colourful beach huts and sandy beach perfectly (far better than my pictures did!)
The return journey of course, also presents the same good opportunities to get a great picture or two of the railway. The picture below was also taken by Mrs Locoyard, this time of 7827 Lydham Manor on its’ journey from Goodrington Sands to Churston. My pictures were not quite sharp, my excuse being that the autofocus mechanism has failed and my manual focussing skills were caught out! To be fair, my composition wasn’t quite as good either this time… I am sure you will agree that pictures above and below are to be applauded and join me in hoping there will be more steam locomotive photographs from Mrs Locoyard to come; in the not-too-distant future!
The walk is a round trip of about five miles and takes a couple of hours, allowing some time to stop for pictures but not much time to stop at Broadsands. Steam enthusiast or not, the walk is beautiful and worth doing. For steam enthusiasts who like a short ramble it is perfect! If any of my followers have any other suggestions for walks along preserved lines, please feel free to use the comment function below and share these.
The last image is of Kinlet Hall, on its way to Goodrington Sands and Paignton. Thanks for reading locoyard followers 🙂