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5 Full Day Walks in North Devon • • • •

5 Easy-to-follow Circular Self-Guided Walks From 6.5 to 10 miles Simple Map showing Route Part of a Series of Booklets

Devised and Written by Bryan Cath www.combewalks.com Coordinator of the North Devon and Exmoor Walking Festival www.exmoorwalkingfestival.co.uk


Introduction Welcome to a selection of circular walks that will show you some of the beautiful scenery around North Devon. The walks in this booklet are longer walks perfect for a full days walking with a picnic and camera. I have been showing people around North Devon and Exmoor since 1987 when I provided walking and cycling holidays. I then started the walking festival in 2000 which I have devised and run ever since. We are blessed with an excellent rights of way network which is well maintained so I can be fairly confident that the walks described will be passable at all times. I have written the walks so you can follow them just from the text. But for those who can map-read I have included the OS grid references. These can also be useful if you want to try and learn to map-read, by following the route and using these references on the map as you walk. It is always sensible to have a map with you as it can help answer questions on what surrounds you as you walk along. It is quite common for stiles to be replaced by bridle or kissing gates and this might have happened since I wrote the text. So don’t be worried if I say cross a stile and you find a bridle gate. I give extra information which should together ensure you are still on the right path. Most of the walks here have been included in the walking festivals at some time. I hope you enjoy walking them. Happy walking! Bryan Cath How to use the OS grid references in this booklet: The SS pins the reference to this area. You can ignore it assuming you have bought the 1:25,000 map for this area, OL9 for Exmoor. The first 3 numbers refer to the numbers along the top (or bottom) of the map. Taking the first walks first reference, 515, go along the top (or bottom) to 51 and then divide the square to 52 into imagined tenths, going across by 5/10th. The next 3 numbers 467 refer to the numbers down the left (or right) hand side of the map. Go up the map to 46 and again divide 46 - 47 into tenths, going over by 7/10ths. Then join the two imaginary lines and where they cross is the grid reference location. Copyright Š Bryan Cath, 2012 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the copyright holder and Publisher. www.combewalks.com

Cover picture: Lee Bay near Ilfracombe

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Content Page Walk Name

Distance

3

Ilfracombe via Lee Bay

6.7 miles

7

Croyde via Baggy Point

6.9 miles

11

Ilfracombe via Berrynarbor

7.3 miles

15

Stoke via Hartland Point

8.3 miles

19

Woody Bay via Trentishoe

10 miles

This Booklet is part of a series: • • • • • • • • • •

5 Half Day Walks from Ilfracombe 5 Half Day Walks in North Devon 5 Full Day Walks in North Devon 5 Half Day Walks in Exmoor 5 Full Day Walks in Exmoor 6 Car-free ‘Ride and Walk’ Walks in Exmoor 7 Cycle Rides in North Devon & The Exmoor Challenge 7 Cycle Rides in North and Mid Devon 16 Best Picnic Spots in North Devon 16 Best Picnic Spots in Exmoor and the Quantocks

The half day walks are from about 3.5 to 6.5 miles. The full day walks are from about 7 miles to 10 miles, taking into account the hilliness of the area. The cycle rides are based on the Tarka Trail and interlink, giving a wide range of distances available. The Exmoor Challenge is a mountain bike ride. The Picnic Spots are all accessible by car and mostly have walks close by. 2


Ilfracombe via Lee Bay Fact file: Highlights: Ilfracombe’s old railway, Slade Reservoirs, Lee village, Lee Bay, Torrs Walk Start Grid ref: SS SS 515 467 Distance: 6.7 miles, circular Height gained/lost: 359 metres, Steady with one reasonable climb Highest Point: 180 metres Lowest Point: 10 metres Toilets: Half way on the path from Lee village to the bay; various at Ilfracombe Eating Places: At Lee, the Grampus pub and the Fuchsia tea-rooms; various at Ilfracombe. Time required: 3hr 30 min, plus stops Mileages shown are cumulative

Bristol Channel Ilfracombe

  Lee Bay

9

10

Lee

7

Rivers

5

tra c

Tunnel

Slade Reservoirs

4

d Ol

R

a

3

3

k

Track Woodland

The Cairn

6

Route

1 2



ay

8 T

lk Wa

il w

rs Tor

Roads

11

Viewpoint

Church Food

T

Toilets

Telephone


Description: This walk is full of variety, giving an easy start on the old railway line, passing the Slade Reservoirs, continuing through farmland and down into Fuchsia Valley at Lee and out to the attractive Lee Bay before returning via the coastpath and the Torrs.

Directions To The Start: From Ilfracombe High Street go towards Barnstaple (A361) to the traffic lights at the end of the High Street with the church ahead. Go across the lights and the main road swings to the left where you need to get into the outside lane. Now go straight ahead/right leaving the main road going ahead/left. Do not turn hard right. Continue up this road, called Station Road, and when it turns right continue ahead until the road finishes outside Pall Ilfracombe factory gates. Park by the pavement on the left making sure you leave room for lorries and other vehicles to manoeuvre.

Route Directions: 1, SS515 467: Leaving the car continue ahead to follow the footpath on the left-hand side of the factory fencing signposted ‘Footpath to Mortehoe’ on the Cairn and Old Railway. Follow this along by the factory security fencing and then up into the woods ignoring the paths off to the left. As you enter the woods take the first path down to the right and then take the concrete steps again to the right. 2, SS514 461, 0.4 miles: You are now on the old railway track and will follow this now for 2 miles. On the way you will pass through a short section of old tunnel and then pass the two Slade reservoirs. You will notice that one of the tunnels is now bricked up except for a small hole at the top. This tunnel is now full of bats which you would only see at dusk. (see note at end) 3, SS492 445, 2.5 miles: On reaching the end of the track you pass under a road bridge (the second one) and then take the small track immediately on your right signposted to Lee. Cross the stile and then go up to the next stile by the road. Now turn down to the left to Allender Farm ignoring all the gates off. Ilfracombe cycleway

4


4, SS489 453, 3.1 miles: At the end of this road continue ahead towards Allender Farm and as the road turns right down to the farmhouse go straight ahead and go through the gate. Now go down the field and cross the spring stream and go up the other side to reach the metal gate up to the left by the telegraph wires. 5, SS489 455, 3.2 miles: Pass through this gate and keep following the telegraph wires keeping the hedge ahead and wires on your left. Descend this field passing through the gap and on down into the left-hand corner by the conifer wood. You will now find a stile through the undergrowth! Cross it and follow the path straight down through the sitka spruce trees. When the path meets a tractor track continue down hill and almost immediately on your right there is a stile by a gate. 6, SS487 460, 3.5 miles: Cross this stile and continue down this path through the woods which become mixed with beech as the path steepens. Carry on down, the path may become a small stream while going down to another stile. Cross this one and go down to the road at Lee. 7, SS485 463, 3.7 miles: Turn left onto the road and when the road divides take the left-hand fork to go by the Grampus pub signposted to Lee Beach. Continue down here and along the Public Footpath keeping to this path past the toilets and down to the sea. 8, SS479 464, 4.1 miles: Turn right and follow the road round the back of the hotel to take the steep road up to the left signposted ‘Coastpath’. Keep on this small road ignoring all roads off until reaching the top at Flat Point. Go through the gate and continue on the track which keeps to the righthand fence. When this track goes down through a small cutting and over corrugated rock keep ahead on the track ignoring the path going off to the left. 9, SS504 470, 5.8 miles: Pass through the bridle gate by the large gate and go down between the hedged walls. On reaching the end of the track at the hairpin bend, take the right-hand fork down hill, down Langleigh Lane. 10, SS511 468, 6.2 miles: At the bottom of the hill turn left onto the newer road and at the next T-junction turn right. Go past Langleigh Country House entrance and up the hill ahead (Broad Park Avenue) ignoring the road off to the left. 5

Lee Bay


11, SS513 470, 6.4 miles: At the end of this road turn right, cross over and turn left down Richmond Road. Cross over and turn right at the next junction, up to where you started the walk. Notes: The railway opened on 20th July, 1874 bringing further growth to Ilfracombe. The increased traffic made it necessary to double most of the line only 14 years later. The track was singled again in 1967 and finally closed on 5th October 1970 as part of the ‘Beeching Cuts’. An attempt to acquire the line was made in 1975 but unfortunately failed and the remaining track was lifted. As you walk it you will notice the steady gradient, made very obvious as you gain height past the reservoirs. This is one of the steepest railway climbs in the country at 1:36, and required two locomotives to haul the trains out of Ilfracombe to Mortehoe from where it was downhill all the way to Barnstaple Junction. A ticket from Waterloo to Ilfracombe in the fifties cost about 26s 6d (£1.32.5), 3rd class. The Pall factory is situated on the site of the Ilfracombe railway station. The first and lower reservoir was built in 1866 with a capacity of 33 million gallons, but with the rapid growth of the town after the arrival of the railway the second higher reservoir was needed to give better water pressure as new houses were built higher up the Ilfracombe slopes. This reservoir has a capacity of 20 million gallons, by today’s standards both are very small.

6


Croyde via Baggy Point Fact file: Highlights: Croyde village, Croyde Bay, views from Saunton Down, Baggy Point, South West Coast Path Start Grid ref: SS 444 393 Distance: 6.9 miles, circular Height gained/lost: 350 metres, Moderate, steep in one or two places Highest Point: 126 metres Lowest Point: 2 metres Toilets: By the car-park at the start in Croyde. Eating Places: Various in Croyde village as well as just up the road from the National Trust car-park on the road to Baggy Point. Time required: 3hr 30 min, plus stops Mileages shown are cumulative

Roads Baggy Point

13

Rivers Route 

Bristol Channel 16 9

10

Croyde Sands

8

T

Saunto n

Saunton Sands

6 Hotel

7

5

4

14 

3

2

1 T

Church Food

T 

18

Putsborough Sands

7

Viewpoint

Dunes

17

Croyde

Woodland 

15

19

n Dow

11

Middleborough Hill

12

Track

Wreck Post

Toilets Telephone


Description: This walk forms a loose figure-of-eight around Croyde, showing you some wonderful coastal scenery, as well as overlooking Saunton Sands and Braunton Burrows and rounding Baggy Point, with some inland walking to give variety. This walk can easily be shortened by half by returning to Croyde from the beach. Only if you suffer badly from vertigo should the Baggy Point section be omitted.

Directions To The Start: From the Ilfracombe direction pick up the A361 to Barnstaple and follow it until reaching Braunton. At Braunton traffic lights turn right and follow this road to Croyde, passing Billy Budds, the pub on the left and then turn left into Jones’s Hill, signposted to Baggy Point, Putsborough and Croyde Bay. Turn immediately left again into the car-park. From other directions, pick up the A361, Barnstaple to Ilfracombe road, and on reaching Braunton follow the sign to Croyde at the traffic lights.

Route Directions: 1, SS444 392: Turn right out of the car-park up to the junction and go left-ahead into St. Mary’s Road. Very shortly turn right into Watery Lane. 2, SS444 390, 0.1 miles: At the end of this lane turn left, passing Home Park Close on your right and continue up the narrow lane following it up hill. Ignore the track off to the left and the gate on the right as the track goes through a double bend. Continue up this track until reaching the junction with 3 gates and turn right down the path signposted to Saunton. (The gate on the right here shows you much of the area covered by this walk). 3, SS447 389, 0.4 miles: At the bottom turn left signposted to Saunton and follow this narrow path up the hill. Cross the two stiles at the top and admire the view! 4, SS447 386, 0.6 miles: Now follow the track up the field, signposted to Saunton. On reaching the stile in the fence by the signpost to Saunton, cross this doublestile and go straight across this field to the next stile by a gate. Cross this and continue straight ahead by the low dry-stone wall to the gate and signpost ahead. Pass through this gate and follow the direction of the signpost to Saunton, bearing left down the field. 5, SS445 381, 1.0 mile: Soon you will be following a tractor-track towards a derelict house. At the dry-stone wall

Braunton Burrows

8


before the house, turn right this side of the wall signposted to Saunton Sands and go down to the stile by the scrub/gorse. 6, SS447 379, 1.2 miles: Cross this stile and follow the stepped path into the valley ahead through the hawthorn-enclosed path. On reaching the bottom, cross the stile and turn immediately right signposted Coast Path. Do not go to the road. Croyde beach 7, SS447 378, 1.3 miles: Follow this path for quite a while, with Saunton Sands and Braunton Burrows down on your left. Eventually you reach a Coast Path sign and continue ahead. Do not go down to the road.

8, SS433 383, 2.3 miles: At the next Coast Path sign go down the steps to the road. Cross over the road turning left to go up to the bend. At the coastguard lookout hut turn right to go down by the wall signposted Coast Path. 9, SS431 383, 2.4 miles: Soon follow the yellow way-mark round to the right to the kissing-gate following the coast path sign. Continue on this path, with the flat-rock down on your left. On reaching the next kissing-gate go through and turn left down the steps to the beach. 10, SS434 387, 2.8 miles: Follow the concrete (patchy!) path over the flatrock onto the main beach and now aim at the buildings the other side and the old lime-kiln /shelter (see note). On reaching the old lime-kiln cross the flat-rock by the wall to reach the gap between the houses. 11, SS433 396, 3.4 miles: Having reached the gap, go up the steps and up to the road, turning left into this road. Pass the National Trust car-park and follow the coast path signpost towards Baggy Point. Continue past the old whale bones and the modern house and pass through the small gate by the stream. 12, SS427 401, 3.9 miles: Now ignore the path going up to the right instead continuing up the main path to Baggy Point. 13, SS420 405, 4.5 miles: At Baggy Point turn right up the path soon ignoring the stile up to your left, instead continuing ahead on the path until reaching the gate in the fence on the left. Pass through this following the Coast Path signpost and soon passing the old ‘wreck post’ on your left which was used for breeches-buoy to rescue people from shipwrecks - no longer in use! 14, SS422 408, 4.8 miles: Soon Woolacombe beach opens up before you. 9


Shortly pass through the next gate and when the path divides take the right-hand path signposted to National Trust car-park. 15, SS428 407, 5.2 miles: Cross over the stile and continue along by the wall on the left. Ignore the gate on the left continuing on to the stile/gate ahead. Cross over and continue along by the wall ignoring the next doublegates in the wall and then the next 2 gates on the left. 16, SS427 403, 5.4 miles: At the next gate/stile turn left signposted to Baggy Point National Trust car park. Follow this field boundary, turning right at the far end to go down to the signpost and stile. Cross the stile, ignoring the gate on the left, following signpost to National Trust car park. Ignore the next gate on the left continuing up the hill to the next signpost, turning left and going diagonally across the field, following the angle of the signpost carefully. This will bring you to the far corner of this field where there is a small path leading to a kissing-gate. 17, SS431 399, 5.8 miles: Go through and down the hill to the next kissinggate, continuing down the grass slope to the stile in the far left corner. Cross over the stile and turn left into the road. Cross over the road to follow the path alongside this road. Pass the entrance to the beach. 18, SS436 396, 6.2 miles: Shortly turn right into the lodge park entrance (Croyde Burrows) and follow its winding road to its end, continuing ahead to cross a footbridge. 19, SS439 391, 6.5 miles: Keep straight ahead over the grass to pick up the path on the left by the fir trees. Follow this path back to Croyde, passing Meadow Cottage and then turning left by Billy Budds Pub. Cross over the bridge, turn left and left again into the car-park. Note: Lime kilns were used in the 1800’s to burn limestone brought across the Bristol Channel from Wales, so producing lime to sweeten the local acid soil. The gorse bushes were cut and used to start the fire, as gorse burns very easily and at a very high temperature, getting the oak burning. The sessile oak trees that clothe many of the combes in this area, where grown to fuel the kilns, as they produced excellent steadily burning charcoal and were tolerant of the lighter, more acid, less fertile soil of this area. Sessile means stalkless, referring to its acorns, unlike the Pedunculate Oak, otherwise known as the English Oak, which sprouts its acorns from stalks. 10


Ilfracombe via Berrynarbor Fact File: Highlights: Chambercombe Manor, Sterridge Valley, flowerpot men, Berrynarbor, Watermouth Cove and Castle, South West Coast Path, Hele Bay and Hele Mill Start Grid ref: SS 529 473 Distance: 7.3 miles, circular Height gained/lost: 462 metres. Starts moderate becoming strenuous, then moderate to strenuous in parts. Muddy in places. High Point: 173 metres Low Point: 10 metres Toilets: Swimming pool car park at start point; Chambercombe Manor; at Berrynarbor as you come up to the church ahead, turn right and instead of going up Barton Lane bear right along a more level road to the car park with a toilet block; Hele Bay. Eating places: Chambercombe Manor; Miss Muffets tea-rooms at Berrynarbor; Hele Mill; various at Ilfracombe. Time required, including stops: 4 to 5 hours Public transport: 30 Mileages shown are cumulative

Rillage Point

Hele Bay

Hillsborough

Ilfracombe

18

Golden Cove

Watermouth Castle (Attraction)

Hele

26

19

20

23

24

Watermouth Cove

17

Hele Mill

1 T

A399

2

Chambercombe Manor

6

7

8

9

10

11

11

Rivers Route

14

13 Berrynarbor T 12  ey

5

Va ll

4

Roads

15

T

3

16

Track Woodland 

Viewpoint

Church

ge

T

T

rrid

Ha

25

22

21

Ste

rb

r ou

Widmouth Head

Food

T 

Toilets Telephone


Description:

This walk includes some beautiful Devon countryside, farms, a Devon ‘Best Kept Village’, a lovely church and a castle, followed by some spectacular coastal scenery.

Directions To The Start:

From Ilfracombe High Street go towards Combe Martin. Keep on this road (A399) passing the Thatched Inn on your right. Shortly after that turn left at the brow of the hill into the swimming pool car park and park there.

Route Directions:

overlooking Broad Strand beach

1, SS529 473: Leave the car park the way you came in and cross straight over and go up Chambercombe Park Road until you reach where the road takes a sharp right bend. Turn left here, in front of the terraced houses above you. 2, SS530 471, 0.3 miles: Go down the lane to the Chambercombe Manor, following the Public Bridleway signpost and shortly ignoring the Public Footpath sign on the left, continuing on with a caravan park down on your left. You can visit the Manor between Easter and the end of the season. 3, SS532 468, 0.6 miles: Follow the lane around the Manor, signposted to Comyn Farm Riding Stables (maybe!). Ignore the path up to the right opposite the Manor wall. Continue along the lane, over the stream and through the farmyard (ignoring the track coming in from the left) to the gate in the far left corner, possibly with horses looking over it. 4, SS534 466, 0.8 miles: Pass through it, making sure you leave it as secure as you found it; horses are cunning. It could be very muddy here. Cross the stream via the bridge and follow the signpost to Trayne, Oxen Park Lane, thus turning left in front of the woods to follow the stream and fence for about 400 yards. If it is very muddy then go up into the woods and follow along parallel to the path. 5, SS537 464, 1.0 miles: On reaching where the path crosses the stream by a gate, go through the gate and up the hill by the telegraph pole, then through the gap in the trees and on to the farm buildings and through the gate by the buildings. 6, SS540 462, 1.2 miles: Pass through the farmyard and follow the steep farm track until reaching the road. 7, SS545 461, 1.6 miles: Cross straight over the road to the stile. Now bear slightly to your right, in the direction of the signpost to Sterridge Valley 12


(the path might be ploughed up, depending on the time of year) aiming at the centre of the valley in front of you. Soon a large telegraph pole comes into sight straight ahead, in the valley. Walk towards it and soon you will see a signpost and stile in the hedgerow. 8, SS546 459, 1.7 miles: Cross over it and carry on down gradually into the valley, watching out for a well-hidden signpost and stile Watermouth Cove in the hedge on your right by the stream. 9, SS548 458, 1.8 miles: Cross over the stile and bridge, following the path to the left, with the stream on your left. Continue along this path and then keep to the top of the field, by the hedge. 10, SS551 457, 2.0 miles: Pass through the hedge that is coming up in front of you (yellow waymarked) keeping the hedge ahead of you on your right. At the bottom of the field go through the gap and immediately round to your left, down the track to the gate and road. 11, SS553 457, 2.1 miles: Turn left and follow the road for a good half mile to Berrynarbor. 12, SS559 464, 2.7 miles: Just after the road passes through a rock cutting, go through the gate on the right by the ‘Public Footpath’ signpost, across the field to the gate and continue up the road, ignoring both the signpost to the track on the left and then the road to Berry Down. 13, SS560 465, 2.8 miles: Carry on past the little school and shops, to the junction. You can visit Miss Muffets tea shop over to your left, and if you do not have a dog you can go through the churchyard, keeping round by the tower and up to the gate at the top of the churchyard. Otherwise follow the road round the right of the churchyard, Barton Lane. 14, SS560 467, 2.9 miles: From the top churchyard gate continue along the road ahead of you. After nearly half a mile ignore the road off to the right by Home Barton and continue down to the main road. 15, SS566 471, 3.4 miles: On reaching the main road, cross over via the island and continue ahead until reaching the old main road. Cross over and take the track on the left of the Sandycove Hotel entrance, signposted ‘Coast Path’. 16, SS566 473, 3.5 miles: Continue down this track to pass the National Trust signpost ‘Golden Cove’, carrying on to reach the path through the bridle gate/steps coming up on the right. 17, SS561 478, 4.0 miles: Now keep to the fence on your right to follow the edge of the field around by the coast, letting you overlook the bay 13


down on the right. Keep to the fence on your right until you reach the stile in the corner of the caravan park. 18, SS557 480, 4.3 miles: On reaching the main road, turn right, past the entrance to Watermouth Cove Holiday Park, and down the track between the main road and the old road. 19, SS555 481, 4.5 miles: On returning to the main road, opposite Watermouth Castle, continue along to the ‘Coast Path’ sign. If the tide is out you can go down to the beach, another good picnic area, and keeping to the left of the cove, walk around the edge until reaching some steps going up into the woods. Only if the tide is right in, continue up the road, but be very careful as the road is narrow and bends the wrong way for the motorists to see you, until you reach the gap in the wall on your right, which takes you onto the path in the woods. 20, SS553 481, 4.6 miles: Now continue along this path through the woods, with the cove down on your right. Follow the path round to the right on reaching the fence, over the stile and round to the right, around the hill. 21, SS548 485, 5.1 miles: Continue up the steps, down the steps, and up more steps, and have a rest! 22, SS547 483, 5.3 miles: Cross over the next stile, following the yellow waymarker. After half a mile or so, follow the path round to the left and up to the Coastguard’s houses. 23, SS542 482, 5.8 miles: On reaching the little car park turn right, down the track on the sea-side of the wall. On reaching the road turn right along the gravel path, and then along by the crash barrier. 24, SS537 479, 6.2 miles: Pass Haggington Point picnic area, unless you want a rest, and continue down to Hele Bay Hotel, turn hard right down to the beach and take the steps up by the toilets. 25, SS534 479, 6.8 miles: Nearly at the top of the hill follow the signpost ‘Public Footpath, Ilfracombe’ to the left, unless you want to lengthen the walk and have a hard climb to the top of Hillsborough, in which case continue ahead to the top and come down the other side, until you see the swimming baths in the park. Assuming you followed the Ilfracombe sign, continue up more steps and continue straight on ignoring the next 3 paths that come in on the right. 26, SS532 475, 7.1 miles: Pass the aerial mast, following the path round to the right. Look out for the swimming pool on your left through a gap and cross the grass to return to the car park.

14


Stoke via Hartland Point and Speke’s Mill Fact file: Highlights: St Nectan’s church, Hartland Abbey, Hartland Point lighthouse, twisted rock formations, Hartland Quay, Speke’s Mill waterfall Start Grid ref: SS 234 247 Distance: 8.3 miles, circular Height gained/lost: 549 metres, starts moderate, becomes strenuous in parts along the coastline, ending moderate to easy. Highest Point: 121 metres Lowest Point: 12 metres Toilets: Stoke, Hartland Quay Eating Places: Hartland Point (in season), Hartland Quay Time required: 4hr 45 min, plus stops

T Speke’s Mill Waterfall

21

Hartland Quay

15

ey

24

25 Wargery

Route

 Church

Track

Food Toilets Telephone

11 

3

Stoke 1 27 

Hartland Point

10

12

Blegberry

6 5

Smoothlands

14 4

Ab b

26

13

16

Folly 

23

 Viewpoint

Damehole Point

R iv er

22

19 17

Woodland

Rivers

T 

18 20

Roads

7

9 8

2 Hartland Abbey Shipload Bay

15


Route Description: This route follows some ancient tracks and passes by ancient farmsteads. On reaching the South West Coast Path the walk becomes more strenuous as you traverse six deep valleys along the way. You will also see some amazing sedimentary rock formations with the strata often being tilted upright. You will pass through two sea-dissected valleys, where the erosion of the sea has broken through to a valley before the point that it originally met the sea. You will also see one of the best waterfalls on the South West Coast Path.

Directions to start: From the A39 between Bideford and Kilkhampton, take the B3248 on the Kilkhampton side of Clovelly Cross, towards Hartland. Continue through the village to then go left towards Stoke and Hartland Quay. You will see the high church tower ahead. On reaching Stoke, park in front of the church in the small car park.

Route Directions: 1, SS234 247: Park in the front of St Nectan’s church and go through the gate towards the church. It is a beautiful church with a painted wagon-roof and intricately carved wooden screen. Turn right at the church to follow the path to an unusual swing gate lych-gate. Turn left to pass the Public Toilets and go down the small road ahead into the valley. 2, SS237 249, 0.3 miles: Cross the river bridge and keep on the road up the other side of the valley. At the brow of the hill ignore the path on the right, continuing ahead on the road. Pass through the old farm buildings and as the road turns right, ignore the footpath on the left. 3, SS234 254, 0.8 miles: Go straight ahead to pass through the middle of the three gates to follow a track down between hedged Devon banks. Continue down into the valley and up the other side. 4, SS231 261, 1.3 miles: On reaching the farm buildings (Atlantic House) keep right on the track up to the road and at Blegberry Farm entrance on the left, turn right along the road. 5, SS235 262, 1.6 miles: Shortly turn left off the road and then immediately left again, down another hedged Devon bank track towards the sea, signed Public Bridleway. The track soon narrows as it descends into the next valley. 6, SS234 267, 2.0 miles: At the bottom cross the footbridge to follow along by the stream to a bridle gate. Just the other 16

Stoke church


side, turn right along the grassed track signed to Blagdon. Shortly pass through a gate and continue ahead along the top edge of this field with a hedged bank on your left. Pass through the next gate and up to the farm buildings. 7, SS235 272, 2.4 miles: Continue ahead on the concrete road. When a road comes in from the right, continue ahead on the road signed to Hartland Point with the radar station up on your right. Pass through the gate by a stile, down to the car park where there is refreshment in season. 8, SS235 274, 2.6 miles: Follow the signpost to Hartland Quay to the left, to follow the Coast Path up to the Coastguard Station.

Spekes Mill Waterfall

9, SS231 275, 2.8 miles: At the station turn left to follow the Coast Path along the cliff edge. Soon the lighthouse can be seen down on the right as you approach the stile. Now follow the edge of this field with the hedge and cliff edge on your right. 10, SS229 273, 3.1 miles: Pass the memorial stone to the Glenart Castle hospital ship and then pass by the ‘abandoned’ stile along the Coast Path. Shortly cross the next stile and continue along the cliff edge to soon drop down into the next valley. 11, SS229 266, 3.5 miles: Near the bottom turn left inland towards the caravan. Note the amazing rock formations. Soon cross the bridge over the stream and stile and climb the steps up the other side. 12, SS230 266, 3.7 miles: At the top turn right through the bridle gate to go back towards the sea. Ignore the footpath to the left and continue down into the next valley to pass another stile on the way down. You are now entering Smoothlands and a very unusual geographical area. This valley is known as sea-dissected where the sea erosion has caused the stream to abandon its original valley to take the now direct route to the sea. Continue along the bottom of this valley and at the other end follow the path as it climbs. 13, SS224 262, 4.1 miles: Shortly turn hard inland to avoid the cliff edge ahead. At the top there is a seat. Continue along the cliff edge to soon descend into the next valley. Pass through the bridle gate and continue up the other side passing over a stile on the way. 14, SS226 258, 4.7 miles: At the top by the stile look back to see the twin waterfalls on to the beach below. Continue down into the next valley with Stoke church inland. At the bottom of this valley is a good place for a picnic. 15, SS226 256, 4.8 miles: Now turn inland up the track to pass the cottage on 17


your right and then bear right down to a kissing-gate and on to cross the river bridge and through a bridle gate. Turn right on the Coast Path (shortcut back to Stoke to the left) back towards the sea, passing through the next bridle gate. 16, SS225 256, 5.1 miles: There is now a drawn-out climb up the other side of this valley. On levelling out, pass the tower folly towards Rocket House ahead. Pass to the right of the house (shortcut to the left to the church) to cross the stile. 17, SS226 247, 5.7 miles: Now turn right down towards Hartland Quay. Follow the yellow waymarker along by the cliff edge. Note the twisted rock formations to your right. On reaching the road, continue down the road to the quay where there are toilets, a museum and refreshments. 18, SS223 247, 5.9 miles: From the car park follow the Coast Path sign up the cliff, soon rounding the edge of another car park to follow the track ahead going slightly inland. 19, SS224 246, 6.0 miles: Pass through the bridle gate before returning towards the sea. Continue along the coast and then go inland of the hill ahead along another sea-dissected valley to cross the stream. Now bear left towards the bridle gate in the wall ahead. 20, SS226 240, 6.5 miles: Turn right from this gate and climb the next cliff rounding the next bay. At the top pass through the next bridle gate and follow the zigzag path down into the next valley. Here you will find one of the best waterfalls along the whole South West Coast Path, called Spekes Mill Waterfall. 21, SS225 236, 6.8 miles: From here we head back inland along the track up the valley. When the Coast Path bears off right, continue ahead up the track signed to Lymebridge. 22, SS227 233, 6.9 miles: At the brow of this hill take the footpath that bears off left, initially slightly climbing and then getting steeper. Pass through the kissing gate to the house and road, continuing ahead up the road. 23, SS232 234, 7.3 miles: At the top ignore Kernstone Farm entrance on the left, bearing right to follow the road. 24, SS236 233, 7.5 miles: On reaching Kernstone Cross crossroads, turn left along ‘unsuitable for motors’ road. 25, SS237 235, 7.7 miles: At Wargery Farm take the track on the left downhill towards the church tower, into the valley and up the other side. 26, SS237 239, 8.0 miles: On meeting the small road, continue ahead until reaching a small crossroads. 27, SS236 245, 8.2 miles: Continue ahead and at the T-junction turn left to go across to the lych-gate with the swing gate and back to the car park. 18


Woody Bay via Trentishoe Fact file: Highlights: South West Coast Path, Exmoor’s coastal cliffs, waterfall, Heddon Valley, Hunter’s Inn, old coaching road Start Grid ref: SS 675 486 Distance: 10 miles, circular Height gained/lost: 904 metres, Easy with one steep descent and climb Highest Point: 243 metres Lowest Point: 16 metres Toilets: Toilet block beside the National Trust shop. Eating Places: Hunter’s Inn; National Trust shop sells ice creams, next to Hunter’s Inn. Time required: 5hr 30 min, plus stops Mileages shown are cumulative

Heddons Mouth

Bristol Channel

Lime Kiln

East Cleave

High Cliff

Elwill Bay

North Cleave

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Peter Rock

9

13

oor km

Waterfall

T

er Wat

c Bla

2 

14 Hunters Inn

12 11

Woody Bay

3

5

10 Trentishoe Down

7

6

Heddon Valley

4

 Roads

Woodland

Rivers

 Viewpoint

Route

 Church Food

Track

T 

19

Toilets Telephone

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Description: This walk takes you along some most spectacular coastal scenery. If you suffer from vertigo, maybe you should give this walk a miss, but otherwise it is very much worth going for the views. It takes you down into the grand Heddon Valley, up again along the coast path to Trentishoe, then inland, and down into a wooded river valley and on to Hunters Inn, with its beautiful peacocks and gardens, then continuing on the high road back to Woody Bay.

Directions To The Start: Leave Ilfracombe towards Combe Martin on the A399, continuing through Combe Martin and on the other side to the junction called Blackmoor Gate where you turn left onto the A39 towards Lynmouth. Pass Parracombe village on the left and after old Woody Bay Station take the turning on the left signposted to Woody Bay. Keep on this road until reaching the coast. Turn hard right signposted to Woody Bay and follow this road round the next two sharp bends. Now a car park will come up on the right beside the road. Park at the far end of this lay-by. From the Lynton direction, follow signs to Ilfracombe and Barnstaple. These will bring you to Barbrook where you turn right by the petrol station on to the A39. Follow this road up the hill and past the next turning on the right to Caffyns. After about a mile, turn right at the small staggered crossroads, signposted to Woody Bay. Keep on this road until reaching the coast. Turn hard right signposted to Woody Bay and follow this road round the next two sharp bends. Now a car park will come up on the right beside the road. Park at the far end of this lay-by.

Route Directions: 1, SS675 486: Having looked at the National Trust information board on the area, go down the hill to the small road that goes hard back on the left down through the woods signposted to MartinhoeManor. Follow this down through the woods, past Wringapeak House to the hairpin bend and carry on straight ahead through the bridle gate, signposted Coast path to Hunters Inn. 2, SS672 489, 0.4 miles: Follow the sign to Hunters Inn, up through the woods, with views on your right (leaves permitting) of Lee Abbey and 20

Hollow Brook waterfall


the Valley of Rocks, with Foreland Point lighthouse flashing in the distance. Carry on and over the stile, now being wary of the drop on your right! Soon you come to a high waterfall in a lovely valley. Carry on out to the point and a pause to look at the rock arch and surrounding scenery is most rewarding. Carry on up between the heather, around the next rocky point to more spectacular cliff scenery. Carry on around the next two rocky points and down into the Heddon Valley.

Bridge over Heddon Water

3, SS657 496, 1.7 miles: When the path reaches the Heddon Valley path, turn hard right and walk down by the river to Heddon’s Mouth, crossing the bridge by the picnic area. 4, SS655 495, 2.5 miles: Having visited the beach and newly restored limekiln, (see note at end) return to the picnic area by the bridge and continue through the picnic area, with the river on your left. In a while ignore the path going down to your left. Pass through the gate and continue for 100 yards or so to the signpost to Combe Martin. 5, SS654 487, 3.1 miles: Follow this up, through the gate and on up. Continue up and over the band of scree until reaching the steps where a path joins from the left, carry on to the right. More lovely views of Heddon Valley open up to your right. 6 SS652 493, 3.7 miles: Carry on round the headland (be careful if it is windy) on the coast path and after a good half mile you reach a path going across you, by a stone wall, with the coast path signpost up to your left. 7, SS648 491, 4.1 miles: Turn right and follow the cliff top and wall. 8, SS641 484, 4.7 miles: On reaching where the landslip is, go round to the right by the fence and now follow the path between the fences to the stile. Cross over the stile and continue along the coast-path. 9, SS634 483, 5.2 miles: Continue on to the gate by the deep ravine and follow the coast path signpost across the field. Depending on the time of year, the path may be obscured, but basically it goes diagonally across to the opposite corner of the field. On reaching the gate/stile on the other side of the field, pass through to the coast path sign and leave the coast path by going to your left up the hill and left again onto the path going round by the fence/wall. 21


10, SS631 481, 5.5 miles: Continue up to the car park (not obvious to you until almost there unless a car is parked there) and then left along the side of the road, taking the right fork down the hill towards Hunters Inn. In 100 yards or so follow the signpost on your right to Trentishoe Mill (site of), which is the path down into the valley, towards the trees and on down the steep path to the next signpost.

Coast path near Trentishoe

11, SS638 476, 6.1 miles: Go straight on towards Hunters Inn. On reaching the track/road, turn left and then take the track off to the right signposted to Hunters Inn. Follow the next two signposts to Hunters Inn. 12, SS649 479, 6.9 miles: On reaching the next signpost, do not carry straight on but cross over the bridge signposted to Mill Farm, Heale and Parracombe. Pass by the cottage and up to the next track, turning sharp left back on the level track signposted to Hunters Inn 0.5 miles. 13, SS652 482, 7.2 miles: On reaching the road continue straight ahead to Hunters Inn. Now go round the front of the building and take the track up on its right, ignoring the steep road going up to your right. 14, SS655 482, 7.5 miles: Follow the sign to Woody Bay 2.75 miles, on the wider track ahead, ignoring the one down to the left to Heddons Mouth. This climbs to bring you above Heddon’s Mouth and the path you took at the start of this walk. Follow this track all the way to Woody Bay and when you reach the gate by the hairpin bend, follow the road down to the car park where you left your car. Note: Lime kilns were used in the 1800’s to burn limestone brought across the Bristol Channel from Wales, so producing lime to sweeten the local acid soil. The gorse bushes were cut and used to start the fire, as gorse burns very easily and at a very high temperature, getting the oak burning. The sessile oak trees that clothe many of the combes in this area, were grown to fuel the kilns, as they produced excellent steadily burning charcoal and were tolerant of the lighter, more acid, less fertile soil of this area. Sessile means stalkless, referring to its acorns, unlike the Pedunculate Oak, otherwise known as the English Oak, which sprouts its acorns from stalks.

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Published and written by Combe Walks

Copyright Š Bryan Cath, 2012

www.combewalks.com

Croyde via Baggy Point

Ilfracombe via Berrynarbor

Stoke via Hartland Point

Woody Bay via Trentishoe

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Ilfracombe via Lee Bay

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5 Full Day Walks in North Devon