It’s easy to find your way from Torquay train station to Paignton train station, all you need to do is follow the road, keep the sea on your left and turn right when you reach Paignton Pier.
Torbay’s seafront road however, is often jammed with traffic, which can make walking it a less than pleasant experience.
Especially in the summer holidays.
So we’ve put our thinking caps on and come up with a Torquay to Paignton walking route that includes the very best of Devon. With thatched buildings, pretty woodland and even beach strolls, this is an adventure by train that will see you walking further than you actually need to but leave you feeling like you’ve had a proper country walk.
And deserving of that ice-cream when you get to Paignton.
Okay so our winding Torquay to Paignton walking route is four kilometres longer than the one that goes directly along the seafront but that four kilometres will only take you an extra hour, and your experience will definitely be four times better.
And, if you’re walking with a dog, far more dog friendly.
Check out our guide to taking your dog on the train.
The Riviera Line
One of the UK’s most beautiful train rides is along the Riviera Line from Exeter to Paignton. It’s worth taking the trip even if you don’t have time for an adventure by train.
But don’t forget to hold your breath through the tunnels!
Once you’ve finished the route (and eaten your ice-cream), keep your eyes open as you travel back on the train between Paignton and Torquay. It’s only a four-minute ride but you’ll pass some of the places you’ve just walked.
And feel a well-deserved sense of satisfaction.
Beautiful Torbay has over 20 beaches so wherever your walking route leads, you won’t find yourself far from a taste of beach life.
To add to the adventure, there’s always the additional possibility of a sea swim by train.
Or for some family fun, how about one of our Torbay family walks, each of which comes complete with a child-friendly map.
We really do think of everything!
As long as the tide isn’t too high, this Torquay to Paignton, station to station walk gives you the option to walk along three of our most sandy beaches.
The perfect opportunity to get those boots off and dip at least your toes!
In addition to its seaside section, our walking route takes you very near to Cockington Village. If you have time, it’s worth stopping to explore further.
With its thatched cottages, horse and carriage rides and local pub, Cockington is always popular with visitors but few people realise that just a stroll away from the busy manor house and pub, Cockington is home to some beautifully quiet footpaths.
We’ve used our local knowledge of the area around Cockington to turn this station to station walk into a fantastic day out.
Bluebells, blue skies, blue seas
My favourite time of year to walk this route is late spring when the carpets of bluebells and white wild garlic match the white tufts of sea foam on the bay’s turquoise waves.
It’s that contrast between woodland and seaside that makes this walk one you don’t want to miss.
Walking route Torquay Station to Paignton Station
- Start station – Torquay
- Finish station – Paignton
- Distance: 6.7 km
- Elevation: 147 m
- Time: 2 hours
- Refreshments: Cockington Village, Paignton Seafront and Harbour, and for a real ‘foodie’ experience and a fantastic vibe, keep walking past Paignton harbour to Goodrington Beach and look for Cantina Kitchen and Bar)
- Toilets: Torquay and Paignton stations, Cockington Village and Preston and Paignton seafronts
From Torquay station
Leave Torquay train station and head towards the Grand Hotel. At the hotel, turn right (away from the sea) and walk up the hill over the railway bridge.
Along Cockington Lane
Continue up and then down Hennapyn Road until it meets Old Mill Road, cross over and go through the gate to your left to take the traffic-free path that runs through the water meadow alongside Cockington Lane.
This path is partly on boards, which can sometimes be slippery.
To the Gamekeeper’s Cottage
Cross the stream and then the lane at the fancy footbridge.
To explore Cockington Village, stay on the larger lane for now. When you’ve finished exploring look for signs to the Gamekeeper’s Cottage to rejoin this route.
Head up the smaller lane and underneath the building. Follow this lane until you come to the bottom of the lowest lake then follow the red Hellinghay Walk to the left up through the woods to the Gamekeeper’s Cottage.
If you’re walking with children, you might prefer to enjoy the wildlife information along the more gentle route up the left-hand side of the lakes to the Gamekeeper’s Cottage.
To Warren Barn
From the Gamekeeper’s Cottage take the uphill track into Manscombe Woods, following the signs to Warren Barn.
If you fancy turning this into an overnight adventure, Warren Barn offers camping barn facilities.
At Warren Barn turn left and uphill. Continue along the track until you reach the gate. Take the track straight ahead that leads into the Scadson Plantation.
To Hollicombe beach and the seafront
Continue downhill until you meet the stream. Turn left and follow downstream until you meet Old Paignton Road.
Cross the road, turn left and head up the hill for a short distance. Pass below the playpark on the right and look for the narrow path that will lead you down to the seafront.
If the seafront traffic is at its usual levels, you’ll be glad you’ve opted for train and foot.
Cross the main road and head into Hollicombe Park. Look out for the round shapes of the old gas storage facility, this beach is still known to many locals as Gasworks Beach.
To Preston Beach
Preston Beach is a family beach, known locally for it’s relaxed atmosphere and colourful beach huts. To get there turn right to cross Hollicombe Park and follow the path over the railway line then down to the prom.
At lower tides, there is an option here to walk along Hollicombe Beach by passing underneath the railway line. You can’t walk all the way round to Preston but there are steps back up onto the footpath further along.
To Paignton train station
You are nearly there now. Follow the prom along Preston seafront to Paignton. There is a short diversion inland around the Redcliffe Hotel or at low tide, you can walk all the way on the beach.
We can recommend the chips from Paignton pier but watch out for the gulls, they are expert thieves.
At Paignton pier, continue to the cinema building then walk around to the front of it. Cross the main road near the crazy golf and walk up Torbay Road to the level crossing and Paignton train station.
All you need to do now is hop on the train and enjoy looking where you’ve just walked.
Author’s station to station walk
I was accompanied on this research trip (April 2023) by Fred the dog. He loved the woods, especially the streams and had a wonderful time running on the beaches. He was very good on the train.
I especially enjoyed the contrast between the peaceful woodland and the busier seafront. Torbay never ceases to amaze me with its beautiful outdoor spaces.
Dog’s are not allowed on the beaches in this walk between May 1st and September 30th but just past Paignton Harbour you’ll find pretty Fairy Cove, which is dog friendly all year round.
We experienced both rain and sunshine and I especially enjoyed being away from the busy seafront road. The paths through the woods have a couple of steep sections but are all passable.
This fantastic walk demonstrates very well that the shortest route is often not the best one.