Published: Sunday 29th Jun 2014
Nestled along the River Dart between the two coastal towns of Paignton (2.8 miles) and Brixham (3.1 miles), the quaint and historical village of Galmpton offers an enviable spot for soaking up the year-round delights of Torbay and Devon.
The picturesque setting of Galmpton has beguiled and inspired many throughout the ages, from the future King Edward VII of England to the 20th century’s most famous crime novelist, Agatha Christie. With its elevated seaward end at Warborough Common looking dramatically down one valley towards Broadsands and gradually down the other valley to the riverside at Galmpton Creek, the village retains a delightfully timeless setting.
Galmpton forms part of the parish of Churston and is steeped in a rich and intriguing history. From the recently discovered Stone Age remains nearby to when records first began with William the Conqueror’s Doomsday Book (where Galmpton was known as ‘Galmentone’), some form of human settlement has long been established here.
The village is also famed as being the spot where Sir John Gilbert mustered a band of 1,000 men on the common, to ward off a landing from the Spanish Armada, and where his half-brother Sir Walter Raleigh famously smoked the first tobacco pipe, up at Greenway. The villagers here also witnessed William of Orange marching to London in 1688, having landed at Brixham.
Four centuries of ship building and trade along the export routes of the nearby limestone quarries followed. The Galmpton Creek Boatyard has played an integral part in Devon’s maritime history, having built no less than 300 trawlers for the Brixham fishing and sailing fleet since its opening in the 19th century.
As well as its well-established history, Galmpton also enjoys a quirky heritage that is reminiscent of many classic English villages. From the ruins of the red sandstone village Windmill found at ‘Windy Corner’, to the ‘Pig Belly Gate’ route to the village pond opposite the chapel and the ‘Jubilee Oak’ which was planted in 1897 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and which now doubles up as a traffic roundabout; the village offers a pleasing undertone of uniqueness.
Galmpton’s currently well-known ‘resident’ is the ex naval Western Lady (RML535), which was used in the D Day landings and is just one of 4 surviving Fairmile B launches in Britain. Looking rather sorry for itself in its currently neglected state, the vessel can be seen in the mud flats of Galmpton Boatyard.
Located in a small bay on the bend of the River Dart, Galmpton Creek occupies a delightful riverside setting perfect for sunset strolls, with charming views across the river to the village of Dittisham.
Visitors can enjoy launching their small river crafts from the slipway here or can savour a spot of fishing and bird watching along the river.
At the head of Galmpton Creek, the sheltered boatyard of Dartside Quay provides easy access for a breathtaking cruises’ up the River Dart and West Coast. For avid sailors, the Creek also offers easy access to the Channel Islands and North Brittany Coast.
Boat lovers will find that the secluded and well-facilitated Quay is home to an active group of marine tenants, who offer boat storing, repairing, summer and mud mooring services alongside marine chandlery.
The Quay’s 7 acre dry storage area can accommodate 300 boats and it is equipped with an impressive 65 ton hoist and purpose-built dock, alongside a 16 ton trailer hoist to the slipway.
Food is where the heart
is Alongside its timeless history and maritime appeal, Galmpton is also home to a host of local village amenities and the friendly Manor Inn Pub, where traditional ales and Sunday lunches are faithfully served. Close by, the seaside villages of Brixham and Paignton provide a plethora of cheap and cheerful fish and chip shops, trendy seaside eateries, scenic cafe bars and award-winning restaurants serving delectable cuisine and freshly-caught seafood.
A timeless exploration
Walkers and nature fans can enjoy getting out and about, along the surrounding trails and breathtaking backdrop of the South West Coastal Path, whilst literary fans and families can explore the famous birthplace of Agatha Christie at Greenway House (now a National Trust property and on the doorstep of Galmpton, just 1.4 miles away). Visitors staying here can also relish in the timeless allure of Dittisham (1.7 miles away), some classic seaside fun in popular Paignton (2.7 miles), the picturesque quality of Kingswear (3.4 miles), the ancient parkland setting of Cockington (4.7 miles) and the blue flag beach and family-friendly appeal of Babbacombe (5.9 miles).
Visitors can also go and awe at the full-scale replica of Sir Francis Drake’s notorious 16th warship, ‘The Golden Hind’ (2.4 miles), savour a scenic picnic along the South West Coastal Path at Man Sands (3 miles), embrace a day out at the Berry Head Country Park (3.5 miles) and discover the splendid gardens and Arts & Craft style grandeur of Coleton Fishacre Garden (3.8 miles).
Galmpton also boasts easy access to the picturesque boat trips along the River Dart, the Dartmouth Steam Railway, Devon’s famous blue flagged beaches, a great range of nearby golf clubs and close proximity to Paignton Zoo and the resort appeal and attractions of Torquay (5.9 miles).