Dartmouth Kingswear Coast Guide
Dartmouth is situated in South Devon on the western bank of the River Dart; opposite, on the eastern shore, is Kingswear. Both towns are historic ports which used to trade cloth and wine with France; today they are an eclectic mixture of tourist resort, fishing port and yacht haven and are a popular places to visit all year round. A vehicle and passenger ferry connects the two towns.
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Dartmouth lies around five miles from Torbay and can be reached by car via a toll ferry or by the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway. Renown as a centre for sailors Dartmouth has been on the seafarer's map for around 900 years. It has a deep water harbour and is enclosed by steep wooded hills on either side. For many years Dartmouth was a thriving port that traded in cloth and wine from France. It is now a busy holiday resort and port of call for many yachtsmen including many from Atlantic journeys.
The Dartmouth of the past was heavily defended from the French and Spanish fleets with an artillery emplacement, which was built in the reign of Henry VIII, at Bearscove Castle. Further down the river is Dartmouth Castle which was the first line of defence for the port. Although the castle is quite small it had several gun emplacements and controlled a chain running across the river which could be raised if there was an attack by the dastardly French.
Overlooking the town is Britannia Royal Naval College where officers are trained for today's Royal Navy. Officer training has been carried out at Dartmouth since 1863 when the training was conducted aboard HMS Britannia, an old wooden wall warship. The present buildings date from 1905, the architect was Sir George Aston Webb, one of the more distinguished of his day, whose previous commissions included Admiralty Arch and the East Front of Buckingham Palace. Prince Phillip trained here just before the outbreak of World War II and met Elizabeth Windsor, the future Queen, while receiving an award.
What to see in Dartmouth
Bearscove Castle - Small fort built in 1510 to protect the town quay. The quay was where the Pilgrim Fathers stopped of repairs before crossing the Atlantic.
Elizabethan buildings - now housing shops and restaurants.
Royal Castle Hotel - great place for a drink or a meal.
Dartmouth Castle - Medieval chain fort built to protect the town from the French!
Kingswear - catch the lower ferry to the other side of the River Dart - takes foot passengers and cars.
Steam Railway - connects Kingswear to Paignton in Torbay.
Woodlands Leisure Park - Animals - including hawks, amusements and scary rides - just what the kids wanted!
Colerton Fishacre - National Trust property and gardens. Originally created by Rupert and Dorothy D'Olyly Carte in the 1920's.
Blackpool Sands - Great sandy beach near the village of Strete.
Map of Dartmouth
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