South Devon’s English Riviera with its popular seaside towns of Torquay, Babbacombe, Paignton and Brixham is designated a Global Geopark due to its important geological heritage and spectacular natural beauty. It is a superb holiday spot for runners and walkers and has some great annual events.
Torbay Half Marathon – Sunday 23 June 2013
Never has running been so rewarding than when tackling this spectacular route along the English Riviera with its glorious coastal views and sea breezes. The race takes a traffic-free, two-lap route, which starts and finishes on Paignton seafront. It starts with one lap of Paignton Green before heading towards Torquay, where the course passes the historic Torre Abbey and the Princess Gardens before the return leg to Paignton begins. Demand for places has been steadily growing over the last few years and the race entry limit for 2013 will be 2500 runners. Early entry into this event is advised as it may well reach its limit before race day. Race entry for 2013 is now open.
Torbay Royal Regatta 10k – Sunday 25th August 2013
The Torbay Royal Regatta 10K had almost 500 finishers in 2012 and is the longest -running event in Torbay. The course starts at Princess Gardens in Torquay and runs over to Paignton Green for two laps before finishing back at Corbyn Head. Although there is a hill in both directions, a relatively downhill finish and flat seafront route makes for fast times and even more impressive coastal views along the way. There is also an evening race, which makes for an alternative to traditional morning starts. www.torbay10k.org.uk
Churston Flyer – expected to be Sunday 6th October 2013
5 miles. With around 100 runners each year, the Churston Flyer is a much more low key event but offers the ideal distance for those starting out in their running career and looking for a friendly local race. This is a relatively flat and speedy route around the back roads of beautiful Churston village, also taking in higher Brixham. The Flyer is a fantastic route for runners, whether looking for a fast time or just to enjoy the friendly atmosphere along quiet, well-marshalled roads. Start and finish near Churston Grammar School. www.sdac.org.uk
Cockington Caper – expected to be Saturday 7th December 2013
7ish miles. Around 120 taking part with a mix of serious club runners and those looking for some festive fun. Can either be extremely muddy and wet or a beautiful crisp wintry morning with the sun poking through the woods. Start and finish in Cockington and one of the toughest courses on the local running calendar. Takes in the woods, trails and hills around Cockington and Occombe for a truly lung bursting and leg sapping route but the wintry scenery helps distract you as you battle the wintry elements. Santa outfits are optional but always welcome and a fun sight to behold coming out of the woods! www.tbst.co.uk
Off-Road Walking on the English Riviera’s 22 mile Coast Path
Walking or indeed running off-road along the English Riviera’s stunning 22 miles of South West Coast Path is one of life great experiences. The path runs runs along South Devon’s beautiful bay between Maidencombe in the north to Sharkham Point beyond Brixham in the south. Of course, this doesn’t have to be tackled all in one day! Bite-sized chunks of the route can be undertaken at your leisure, and along the way you’ll get to see such Geopark highlights as Berry Head National Nature Reserve, ancient woodlands near Brixham, over 20 beaches and fantastic sea views. There are a number of local hotels offering walking breaks (also suitable for runners) and these are listed below. http://www.englishriviera.co.uk/things-to-do/sports-and-leisure/walking
Specific Off-road Walking Ideas (to get your walking boots excited):
1) The coastal path between Broadsands to Brixham, has a bit of everything with woods, undulations, pebbled beach at Elberry and of course stunning panoramic views. Best part is on a summer’s day as you approach the coves. Churston Cove could quite easily be mistaken for a slice of the Mediterranean with azure waters surrounded by cliffs and the odd friendly seal for company.
2) Taking in the sunrise atop Berry Head National Nature Reserve and then undertaking a walk back down to Brixham or further along the coast is a joy. There can be no better way to soak up the natural beauty of the English Riviera and enjoy a good workout walking to the 200ft high headland overlooking Tor Bay.
3) The woods off Preston Downs are a regular haunt for locals and dog walkers. It offers some of the best views in the Bay from fields, which are easily accessible and never overcrowded. This walk also benefits from being in the middle of the Bay so there are great views from either direction as well as further inland.
4) The coastal walk from Goodrington to Broadsands has everything from views to energy sapping hills with plenty of seats to rest your weary legs. It is easily accessible with plenty of picnic opportunities and beaches never too far off the trail.
Walking Holidays at the Cary Arms
Situated on the South West Coastal Path at Babbacombe, The Cary Arms is the perfect location to enjoy a walking holiday throughout the year. Suggested walks available from the front door and a drying room provided. As we are also dog friendly you can even bring your four legged friend if they enjoy walking as much as you. Holidays are tailor made to your requirements so please call us to make arrangements. http://www.englishriviera.co.uk/things-to-do/walking-holidays-at-the-cary-arms-p1323663
Walking Holidays at the Meadfoot Bay Hotel
The Meadfoot Bay Hotel is the perfect choice as your base to explore some of the finest and most scenic coastal walks in the country. The Meadfoot Bay Hotel is situated just a two minute walk from the South West Coastal Path so you are in a prime location to start your walking break in Torquay. http://www.englishriviera.co.uk/things-to-do/walking-holidays-at-the-meadfoot-bay-hotel-p1331923
Walking Holidays at Garway Lodge
With temperatures much milder than the national average, a walking holiday in South Devon is the ideal pastime. Enjoy stunning scenery on the South West Coastal Path or explore breathtaking Dartmoor and experience a very different kind of holiday in Torquay. Recommendations and information on suitable walks offered, with daily drop off and pick up service. Tasty packed lunches made to order. http://www.englishriviera.co.uk/things-to-do/walking-holidays-at-garway-lodge-p1324433
Local Guide Books
Pick up a copy of Walks Along the South West Coast Path from Exmouth to Dartmouth, featuring the English Riviera Global Geopark, or take a look at the some of the many maps and short guides at Torquay’s Visitor Information Centre.
There are lots of special English Riviera Winter Offers available at http://www.englishriviera.co.uk/winterescapes