SWCP – Laira Bridge to Admiral’s Hard

By: snowgood

Aug 29 2015

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Architecture, birds, Devon, South West Coast Path, Walking

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As you’ll see in my last post we didn’t make it all the way to the western end of the Devon Coast Path.

Today I’ll give you a glimpse of the last 7 miles or so, with a handful of pictures that are worth posting.

Ironically the grey day burst into sunshine about 15 minutes before we sat down for our evening meal.

At the head of the page it’s yours truly about half a mile into our walk.

I’m standing in the midst of the Cattedown Industrial Estate.

Any thoughts you may have about the South West Coast Path will invariably focus on blue seas, green fields and acres of open space.

Not that such ideas are in any way wide of the mark, but one of the delights this 630 mile route throws at you is getting an eyeful of the parts which are away from the regular tourist hot spots.

In my time I’ve done a shedload of business with Plymouth City Council on this particular estate, but I’d invariably drive to one spot, park up, do my business and whizz away without a thought for the local environs.

At a walking pace you’ve a whole lot more time to drink in the sights, sounds and smells of local landscape.

Our trek afforded views of the UK Border Force vessel “Searcher”, an old quarry that now houses numerous gas towers, and most notably an incredibly smelly fish processing plant.

The stench was far worse than Hooe’s Sewage facility, Roz took a deep breath, and tried to minimise the onset of nausea.

We found a fairly new bicycle leaned up against a wall with no padlock (and it was still there 7 hours later).

Thankfully we slipped away from Cattedown and were soon heading west towards The Aquarium, best known to locals for inadvertently losing 99% of it’s fish due to a technical issue a few years back.

However a city is all about people, and hopefully I’ve managed to capture a few of the residents instead of stunning you with breathtaking cliff top scenery.

Here’s one such local, making very little progress as he hovers next to the kerb in Commercial Street.  I’ve  copped the photo, but there was also a kicked in door and petrol can to the right (but no fire).

My new Sony A6000 has a flip up screen which makes these candid shots 100 times easier than putting a bulky SLR up to your face and pointing at the subject.

Roz is an avid gardner, so she was quick to inform me that this next vista is a “Community Garden”, which presumably is a new take on what you and I might call an allotment?

Crossing the pedestrian bridge at The Barbican we took a butchers at what all the emmetts would be clocking.

Namely the steps which the Pilgrim Fathers took as they boarded the Mayflower and a new life in The Americas.  That was way back in 1620, and look what they spawned!

There was also that greatest hoax of all time, a plaque to the Tolpuddle Martyrs, who fought for their beliefs and ended up on a boat to Australia.

And you thought martyrs were people who died for a just cause?

As we climbed away from the Barbican (which for me is a limp effort compared the days when it had a thriving fish market) we skipped various naff cafe’s and headed for the Ice Cream van.

Regrettably my patience was insufficient to garner a “99”, so we stepped into “The Dome” and had a coffee in Gary Rhodes “celebrity restaurant.

Like most celebs, he’s milking his fame.  The Eastern European girls serving didn’t seem to be enjoying their day, and the windows above were covered in slat, and hadn’t seen a commercial window cleaner in years.


Slipping past a deserted cafe we found a staff member having a crafty fag, before returning to her soul destroying tasks on a bad day for business.

The grey colds threatened rain, but we needn’t have worried, this was not a day for Sasha Distel to get excited.

Further on we came across numerous sculptures of Royal Naval vessels, with Drake Island forming an appropriate back cloth.

Something far more interesting was just around the corner.

We went beyond an R.N. Marine base, and down a fairly dismal street, and found ourselves looking at a saltwater pool, and an ageing cyclist ruminating over his achievements before hopping back in the saddle.

An upmarket restaurant was closed, and I’d not have guessed there’d be a good view of Mount edgcumbe and my beloved Cornwall just a hundred yards away.

It was blowy and I decided to descend a few steep steps, and try an grab a shot of a Royal navy tug that was heading back up the Tamar.

My detour was richly rewarded.

A kingfisher came towards me, resting on a  rock covered in seaweed before turning  full 180 degrees and heading down river.


What appears to be a new part of the coast path extended down a substantial staircase into “The Royal William Yard”.

I’ve only been here once before (again on business) and really enjoyed the opportunity to explore without the constraints of a one hour parking ticket to hold me back.

I loved this Trumph Thruxton (named after a high speed race track in Hampshire).

As Roz and I debated the merits of a meal in or a meal out the sun broke through the gloom.

She walked through an archway and disturbed a rat that was just yards away from the saltwater pool we’d seen half an hour earlier.

Earlier we had indeed made it to The Cremyll Ferry slipway at “The Admiral’s Hard”.  Here’s the grandeur of the building built back when the empire funded Britain’s ostentatious architecture.

If you ever watch “Hornblower”on the TV you may recognise the little harbour to the right which was used in one episode.


A lonely lady paced the slipway looking for the last ferry back to Cornwall, we left her to it and had a meal in a French Bistro back at The Royal William Yard.

After a few hiccoughs we had a delightful meal, and then hopped back on a bus, before retracing our steps through Cattedown.

The fish processing factory was every bit as odious as earlier in the day, that bike was still present (how we wished we could cheat by stealing it and cycling back top our car!).

The sun had set by the time we got back to our free parking spot, and whilst I’m thinking of BMWs here’s one just like we enjoyed back in Chudleigh 2 years ago.







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