JMHT - History

The John Musgrave Heritage Trail is a 35 mile walking trail encompassing parts of Torbay, South Hams and Teignbridge. It was launched in March 2006 in memory of John Musgrave, a former chairman of the South Devon Group of the Ramblers, whose generous legacy to the group on his death in 2003 has been used to fund the development of the trail. John was an enthusiastic walker, leading walks in many of the areas through which the trail passes.


The trail was devised and developed by the South Devon Ramblers and Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust, working with representatives from Devon County Council, South Hams, Torbay and Teignbridge Councils, the National Trust at Greenway and the Duke of Somersets Estate at Berry Pomeroy. The new trail links the existing Dart Valley Trail, Torbay Totnes Trail, Greenway Walk and the South West Coast Path with new sections of path to create a continuous route through some of the best of the wonderful countryside that can be enjoyed in South Devon.
The trail explores over 40 of the regions finest heritage features and takes the walker past creeks and castles, along the coast and through rolling meadows and woodland on footpaths, tracks and quiet lanes. The route is easy to follow, waymarked, suitable for walkers of all abilities and accessible by public transport. Information and interpretation boards along the route add to the walkers enjoyment. The trail is split into 4 sections ( Maidencombe to Cockington, Cockington to Totnes, Totnes to Dittisham where the trail crosses the River Dart by ferry, and Greenway Quay to Brixham), thus allowing walkers to easily select shorter stretches from the 35 mile trail.


One of the main features of the trail is that the South Devon Ramblers have purchased a small wood at Great Hill, the highest point in Torbay. Steps and a path have been established through the woodland so that the trail could continue without interruption and the splendid views from the hill top can be enjoyed.
The South Devon Ramblers have worked with local organisations to establish a gloriously scenic and historically interesting walking trail reflecting the beauty and heritage of this wonderful area. We hope you will enjoy walking the John Musgrave Heritage Trail.

A comprehensive guidebook written by a local historian is available from local tourist information centres, the Torbay Coast and Countryside Trusts visitor centres at Cockington or from the South Devon Ramblers by clicking here.


John C Musgrave M.A., M.Phil.

This trail was created by a generous legacy left by John Musgrave. Johns life-long passion for walking led him to chair the South Devon Group of the Ramblers and the Ramblers section of the Torquay Natural History Society in his retirement.
John moved to Torquay with his late mother in 1937 after the death of his father. On completing school at Marlborough College, John joined the army and underwent basic training in Wales. Later he was sent for extended service as an intelligence officer in the Middle East. After demobilisation, John went up to Oxford, and later London Universities. His interest in foreign languages and customs lead him to study at several European institutions including the Universities of Pisa and Barcelona. John was awarded a Certificate of Fellowship following election to the Library Association and later set up the library at the New Ealing Technical College and School of Arts. He became Chief Librarian at Goldsmith College, University of London. On completion of his second degree John was appointed lecturer in Spanish Studies at London University.


Early retirement and a move back to Torquay from Richmond gave John time to travel more widely as well as pursue his many interests locally, including walking. This lead to his appointment as Chairman of the South Devon Group of the Ramblers. As a young man John suffered from polio, which affected him in later life. He underwent surgery on several occasions, but overcame the debilitating after-affects with remarkable determination and was soon walking again.
A gentle and generous man, John was loved and respected by his many friends. The John Musgrave Heritage Trail will be a lasting reminder of his passion for walking.