Brixham is at the southern end of Torbay, across the sheltered bay from Torquay, and is a fishing port. Brixham is home to one of England and Wales most successful fishing fleets and regularly lands more value than any UK port outside of Scotland. The town is hilly, and built around the harbour which remains in use as a dock for fishing trawlers; in addition, it has a focal tourist attraction in the replica of Sir Francis Drake's ship the Golden Hind that is permanently moored there. To the south of Brixham, and sheltering the southern side of its harbour, lies the coastal headland of Berry Head with a lighthouse, Iron Age Fort and National Nature Reserve. Battery Gardens have a military history leading back to the Napoleonic wars and the time of the Spanish Armada. The emplacements and features seen here today are those of the Second World War and are of national importance.
Historically, Dartmouth was of great strategic importance as a deep-water port for sailing vessels. The port was used as the sailing point for the crusades of 1147 and 1190, and a creek close to Dartmouth Castle is still named for the vast fleets which assembled there (Warfleet Creek). It was a home of the English navy since the reign of Edward III and was twice surprised and sacked during the Hundred Years' War, after which the mouth of the estuary was closed every night with a great chain. The narrow mouth of the Dart is protected by two fortified castles, Dartmouth Castle and Kingswear Castle. The ships carrying the Pilgrims to America in 1620 called in at Dartmouth for repairs to the Speedwell before setting out across the Atlantic. Further along the port is Bearscove Castle, built in 1510 as part of Henry VIII's coastal defences against the French.