Plymouth Walks: Urban Strolls and Hikes Near Plymouth!

Rame Head at the start of Whitsand Bay as seen from the coast path. Cornwall England UK

Are you looking for Plymouth walks?

This blog post has a list of the best short and long walks around Britain’s ocean city, with plenty of options for both coastal walks and inland hikes. 

There’s something for all abilities and interests near this South Devon city.

Whether you want a long hike in moorland, a short stroll around Plymouth sound, or a family trip to ancient oak woodland, you’ll find details in this blog post!

I’ve put together this list of walks around Plymouth to help you decide where to hike! 

Best Walks in Plymouth City Centre

Historic Plymouth Walking Tour

Plymouth, United Kingdom - August 27, 2015: Tourists walk along Southside Street in the Barbican, Plymouth, UK,

This isn’t a hike per se, but if you want to take a stroll through Plymouth and learn about its fascinating past, then this historic Plymouth walking tour is a must-do! 

In fact, I think it’s one of the best things to do in Plymouth.

It’s not a long hike, but it traverses from Mayflower Steps, a fascinating spot where the pilgrims left the UK for “the new world”, around the Barbican and the back of the city, terminating at Smeeton’s Tower and Plymouth Hoe. 

On the way, you’ll learn all about Plymouth’s fascinating cultural heritage and legacy as a naval and seafaring base, including tales of piracy and smuggling

It’s a two-hour tour, and one of the best walking tours I’ve ever done (and I’ve done a lot all over the world!). 

You can read more about this walking tour here.

City Centre Wildlife Trail 

The City Centre Wildlife Trail is a two-mile trail through central Plymouth, taking in some of the best nature around the city centre.

A third of Plymouth’s urban area is actually wildlife, so it’s a trail that’s well worth doing if you’re close to the city but want to get out into nature!

It’s also ideal as a dog walk or weekend family stroll.

You can read more information here.

Devonport Heritage Trail

View of Mountwise and Devonport towers, Plymouth

The 4 mile long Devonport Heritage Trail is a great way to learn about this area’s industrial heritage. 

By following this PDF, you can learn all about Mount Wise and Devonport’s naval history and its bombing during the Blitz. 

It’s a fascinating self-guided walking tour, and will take you to areas of the city that most tourists don’t visit!

Walk around Plymouth Hoe 

Plymouth, United Kingdom - August 27, 2015: View of tourists enjoying walks and eating in restaurants in the area of Plymouth Sound and Plymouth Hoe, with Smeatons Tower lighthouse and a tidal outdoor swimming pool in the scene.

If you want an easy walk, strolling from Plymouth Barbican to Plymouth Hoe is a great way to take in the city. If it’s a sunny day, it’s one of the most beautiful walks that you can do so close to a UK city centre!

There are a few places to visit at Plymouth Hoe, such as Smeeton’s Lighthouse, the Beatles Bums which are imprints of where the Beatles sat when they visited Plymouth and epic views over to Drakes Island. 

There are also plenty of bars and restaurants en route!

You could walk around the Hoe and then stroll back to the Barbican. 

Plymouth Waterfront Walkway

The Royal William Yard is a collection of Grade I listed buildings in Plymouth, Devon, England. Designed by the architect Sir John Rennie and named after King William IV.

The Plymouth Waterfront Walkway is one of the most historically significant on this list of walks.

It runs from Admiral’s Hard near Devonport and Mount Wise and extends to Jennycliff which is close to Mount Batten. 

This is an urban part of the South West Coast Path, leading through some of the most historical parts of Plymouth. It’s a great way to learn about Plymouth’s naval heritage and history!

From Admiral’s Hard, you’ll go through Royal William Yard, Millbay Docks, Plymouth Hoe, the Barbican, Cattledown, the Cattewater, Hooe Lake and finally Mount Batten. 

You’ll finish at Jennycliff Beach, where you can take a boat back to the Mayflower Steps. 

Central Park

Central Park is the largest park in Plymouth. Dating back to 1928, it was created as a park to improve the health of residents to help them get fresh air and exercise. 

There are a few circular routes that you can take in the park, and it’s a great spot for an easy Plymouth walk, especially if you have the dog in tow! 

Dartmoor National Park Walks

Girl walking on the moor with checked shirt tied around her waist and surrounding moorland

Dartmoor National Park is one of the biggest national parks in the UK, and it’s a must-visit spot for anyone with a sense of adventure! 

With plenty of walks featuring a range of wildlife and gorgeous tors with amazing far-reaching views, this list of fabulous walks around Dartmoor are all within an hour’s drive of Plymouth and make an immense adventure! 

Two Bridges to Wistman’s Wood Walk

Wistman's Wood Dartmoor

This walk traverses through the middle of Dartmoor, to the ancient woodland of Wistman’s Wood. However, the hike is a mix of woodland and barren moor, so you can enjoy some beautiful landscapes on the way! 

You can drive to Two Bridges and park there, before taking the 30 minute trek over the moorland.

You’ll have spectacular views over the moorland as you hike the distance!

Wistman’s Wood is a fascinating place to visit – if Hogwarts’ Forbidden Forest was a real place, it would look like this! 

Haytor Rocks

A view of Hay Tor Rocks in the background with a foggy landscape

Haytor Rocks sits about 45 minutes from Plymouth. 

There’s no set trail around here, but you can park on the side of the road and walk from Haytor to Saddle Tor.

From the top of Saddle Tor, enjoy epic panoramic views of what feels like half of Dartmoor! 

Burrator Reservoir 

Sitting on the edge of Dartmoor, Burrator Reservoir is a great place for a circular walk near Plymouth.

It’s about 3.5 miles around the entire lake circumference, and you can take in the gorgeous blue water which reflects tall trees on either side of the lake.

There’s also a waterfall part of the way round!

Brentor Church

Dartmoor is full of tors, hills with rocks on top, but Brentor is one of the most interesting.

There is literally a church on top of the hill, and from it you can take in amazing views over West Dartmoor.

This tor is unique in that it wasn’t made of granite like most others in the area, but was actually formed of lava!

The church is small but worth popping your head in.

River Walks Near Plymouth

Plym Valley Trail 

Small falls on river Plym in Devon.

With Mount Batten on one side, the Plym Trail is a beautiful walking or cycling route that you can take close to the city. 

Traversing through lush woodland that’s managed by the National Trust, this trail is about 7 miles long. 

Erme-Plym Trail 

A view across the estuary of the River Erme at rural Mothercombe in South Devon

This 15 mile route is part of the Devon coast to coast trail that leads from the North Devon coast to Plymouth. 

It begins just south of Ivybridge and leads to Plymouth – of course, you can take it the other way around as well! 

It’s an easy path through vast wood, and from the end you can take a bus from Ivybridge back to Plymouth. 

Tamar Valley Trail 

Showing the river tamer at plymouth as shot from dartmoor

The Tamar Valley Trail extends along the River Tamar, which acts as the border between Devon and Cornwall.

It extends from Plymouth to Launceston, travelling through the beautiful valley and through villages like Calstock, with its wonderful viaduct and Gunnislake. 

It’s 30 miles in total, so you won’t be doing all of it in one go! 

You could start with the Plymouth to the Bere Peninsula walk, which is 3.5 miles.

However, there is a river at Lopwell and no crossing by ferry, so you must go over the river crossing.

This is inaccessible within two hours of high tide. 

Country Estate Walks Near Plymouth

Saltram House Woodland and Riverside Circular Walk

Buttercup Meadow in Springtime in the Grounds of Saltram House, near Plymouth, Devon, England, UK

This walk is an easy two mile circular walk around the Saltram House grounds.

It traverses through the estate and offers some beautiful views of the River Plym. 

It only takes about an hour to complete, and as it’s flat, it’s popular with families, casual walkers or people with dogs. 

You can read more about the trail here.

Buckland Abbey Walks

Buckland Abbey

Buckland Abbey is a National Trust property that’s a 30 minute drive from Plymouth. Dating back 700 years, it was an abbey, then became home of Plymouth local, Sir Francis Drake.

There are lots of trails in the grounds, with maps available in the car park so you can select the perfect route for you.

It’s free to walk around Buckland Abbey’s grounds, but if you want to explore the gardens or visit the house you’ll need to pay or be a member of the National Trust.

I do recommend joining the National Trust – you can read my review of membership here! 

Mount Edgcumbe Walks 

Mount Edgcumbe is another stately home, situated just opposite Plymouth on the banks of the River Tamar.

Like Buckland Abbey, there are lots of stately walks that you can enjoy throughout the Mount Edgcumbe Estate. Many of these are free to access, but again, you’ll need to pay to visit the gardens or house.

South West Coast Path Walks

Plymouth is the only city that the South West Coast Path runs through.

This is a 630-mile route that spans from Minehead in Somerset to South Haven Point in Dorset. It’s the longest national trail in the country! Plymouth sits about two-thirds of the way around. 

The entire route would take months to complete, but ou can do a few walks as day hikes from Plymouth. 

While the area in the city can be quite urban, hike a couple of miles on either side and you’ll enjoy fantastic views over hidden coves and expansive beaches. 

Here are the best South West Coast Path hikes near Plymouth!

Plymouth to Wembury walk

Showing the river tamar at plymouth as shot from dartmoor

This walk is 5.8 miles and takes 2-3 hours – although you’ll need to get a lift or a bus back from Wembury (the 48 bus plies the route!). 

It starts from Mount Batten Point, which is over the other side of the River Plym from Plymouth. You’ll need to get the ferry to here, or you can take a bus or taxi from Plymouth centre.

There’s also a walking route that goes over the Plym bridge, but this adds quite a lot to the walk. 

Follow the SWCP as you go past Jennycliff Beach, Bovisand Beach and Heybrook Bay until you turn to Wembury Point before finishing at Wembury Beach. 

If you want a longer hike, you can walk all the way to the River Yealm and Noss Mayo.

However, you’ll need to take a ferry over the river to reach Noss Mayo. 

This is a fairly easy trail, and it’s a great chance to enjoy the best beaches near Plymouth. 

Cremyll to Portwrinkle Walk

Elevated View of Portwrinkle, with views across Whitsand Bay towards Rame Head in Cornwall, UK

if you like moderate walks with far-reaching views, try out this SWCP hike from Cremyll to Portwrinkle! 

This section of the coastal path is particularly scenic, as it runs through Cawsand and Kingsand; two twin villages that are known as “forgotten Cornwall”. 

You’ll need to take the Cremyll ferry from Plymouth to begin the walk. This leaves from Royal William Yard and crosses the River Tamar. 

From Cremyll, you’ll follow the path as it traverses through the Mount Edgcumbe estate. This encompasses the land on the Cornish side of the Tamar. 

The route then traverses through Cawsand and Kingsand, two beautiful beach towns with great restaurants and a fun atmosphere. 

Cawsand & Kingsand on the Rame Peninsula in Devon England

Then, follow the South West Coast Path around Rame Head, a coastal headland with a chapel on top. Spend a while on Rame Head, where you can enjoy immense views over the coastline.

You’ll take in epic views on this stretch!

Keep following the coastal path, over the cliffs, and eventually, you’ll reach Portwrinkle. 

To return, you’ll need to take the number 70 bus which connects the two settlements. 

Portwrinkle to Looe Walk

The  picturesque coastal town of Looe Cornwall England UK Europe

From Portwrinkle, it’s about an eight-mile walk to Looe along the South West Coast Path.

Crossing through the villages of Downderry and Seaton, this dramatic path winds up and down cliffs and boats impressive views of the coastline and sandy beaches. 

This isn’t too challenging, particularly if you’ve done other parts of the coastal path. But you’ll enjoy immense coastline views from the clifftop paths! 

You can take a bus to both Looe and Portwrinkle from Plymouth. But keep an eye on the bus times, as they can be a bit sporadic (especially at Portwrinkle). 

From Looe, you can also take the Looe Valley Line back to Liskeard. Here, you can change to a train to Plymouth, which takes about half an hour. 

Other South West Coast Path walks

Babbacombe beach in Devon, England, View from above, sea and the coast

If you want to explore more of the SWCP, there are plenty of fabulous walks that you can enjoy on the south coast of Devon (and some in North Devon too!). 

Here’s a few that you can try that are within an hour’s drive of Plymouth: 

FAQs about Plymouth walks

Scene across Jennycliffe towards Plymouth.

Where can I hike in Plymouth? 

If you want a proper hike in Plymouth, I recommend trying some of the coastal path hikes, taking to Dartmoor, or walking along the River Tamar or River Plym trails. 

Where can I walk my dog in Plymouth? 

If you’re looking for a Plymouth dog walk, head to Buckland Abbey or Saltram, which have easy circular walks.

Or, if you’re confident letting your dog off the lead and know they won’t get lost, head to Dartmoor! 

Is there a Plymouth free walking tour? 

No, there’s no Plymouth free walking tour, but you can do a tour with Devon and Cornwall travel guides for 12 per person. 

Whether you’re looking for walks to get fit or somewhere to spend quality time with family, this list of walks has something for everybody! Plymouth has gorgeous natural surroundings, and hiking is a wonderful way to explore them.

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