Ten great coast walks to enjoy – all within a few miles of Croyde Bay, North Devon
The South West Coast Path National Trail is rated as one of the top walks to be found anywhere in the world by Lonely Planet and voted Britain’s best walking route by the readers of Walk magazine.
Where else can you walk along 630 miles of such superb coastline? The heritage, wildlife, geology and scenery along the way are truly inspirational and every day walking it brings stunning new experiences.
We have chosen just ten of the many walks that are possible around the Croyde area and close by if you wish to make your base at Croyde Bay Holiday Resort (www.croydeunison.co.uk). This resort has won a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for the last 3 years and makes the perfect place to stay for a walking holiday, with comfortable accommodation and great food choices. Plus, there are a host of leisure facilities available, including swimming pool, whirl pool, sauna, steam room and s, to recharge your batteries before you tackle your next walk.
Whether you’re looking for an afternoon stroll to take you to a beauty spot, or aiming to embark on the challenge of hiking a little further afield, you’ve come to the right place. For any of the walks we have selected you can find more detailed information, at www.southwestcoastpath.com , including clear directions, maps, and a guide to places of particular interest along your chosen walk.
Walk 1 – Baggy Point (easy access walk)
Start: Baggy Point Car Park -‐ EX331PA
Finish: Baggy Point Car Park
Length: 2.7 miles (4.3 km)
Summary: A short easy walk out to the tip of Baggy Point and back again, taking in spectacular views of the coastline towards Bideford Bay and Hartland. Children will love the whalebones and the old wreck post, as well as the rocks and cliffs. A good walk in spring, when seabirds nest on the cliff among the clumps of pink thrift and spotted white sea campion and the gorse bushes are ablaze. In autumn the migrant birds gathering ready for their journey south sometimes attract the attention of a predatory merlin or peregrine, sometimes even a hen harrier.
Terrain: Gently sloping walk out to Baggy Point and back.
An alternative route back includes a short steep climb. The first section, on the lower path out to the tip of Baggy Point, is suitable for people with impaired mobility or with a pushchair, and can be followed in reverse for the return journey.
A good walk for dogs too. Have a look at Top Dog Walks on the South West Coast Path for more dog friendly beaches and pubs.
Walk 2 ‐ Georgeham to Putsborough
Start: Georgeham -‐ EX33 1JU Finish: Georgeham
Length: 1.2 miles (2.0 km)
Summary: A pleasant walk through farmland to the coast at Putsborough. Difficulty: Easy
Terrain: The walk is generally flat across grassy pastures and around the edge of a cropped field. There are several gated sections, one of which has a step.
Walk 3 - Putsborough Marine Drive
Start: Marine Drive Car Park Finish: Marine Drive Car Park Length: 2.6 miles (4.2 km)
Summary: An easy and level walk above Morte Bay with spectacular views from Baggy Point to Morte Point and out to Lundy. The beach stretches for over 2 miles. This is an easy access walk suitable for wheelchairs, pushchairs and trampers. Those with, at least, a moderate level of fitness will enjoy this walk.
Terrain: The path along the South West Coast Path is wide except for one stretch above Putsborough Sands where the path (gradient -‐ 1:7 uphill for about 10 metres) narrows to a width of just over a metre. A second gradient near Broadsands Bungalow rises for 100 metres at 1:12.
Walk 4 - Croyde & Saunton Down
Start: National Trust Baggy Point Car Park -‐ EX33 1FF
Finish: Baggy Point Car Park
Length: 4.5 miles (7.2 km)
Summary: A bracing walk to blow away the cobwebs, weaving your way through a network of old lanes to limb to a vantage point high above three miles of golden sand at Saunton, with breathtaking views right across Bideford Bay and the Taw and Torridge estuary. On the far side of the hill you follow a grassy path bordered with wildflowers to pick up the old coastguard path around the low cliffs at Down End, returning across Croyde Beach. A lovely walk in spring, when the gorse is blazing and the thorn bushes are covered in blossom and home to songbirds; also in autumn, when the heathland is bright with heather and small birds feed in the fields and hedges.
Terrain: The paths are narrow and stony and there is plenty of ascent and descent, some of it steep, with steps as well.
Walk 5 – Baggy Point
Start: NT Baggy Point Car Park -‐ EX33 1FF Finish: Baggy Point Car Park
Length: 4.5 miles (7.2 km)
Summary: A breathtaking stroll around a windswept headland between two sandy beaches. Baggy Point’s dramatic cliffs are home to many nesting seabirds and unusual wildflowers, while the crumbling stonewalls dividing the ancient fields on the top of the headland are encrusted with lichen.
Take a picnic and make a day of it on Putsborough Sands. A lovely walk in autumn, when the heathland is vivid with gorse and heather and flocks of migrant birds gather ready for their long journey south. The headland is exposed to Atlantic winds and the weather can change abruptly, so wear warm clothing.
Terrain: Two fairly gentle climbs.
Walk 6 - Braunton Burrows
Start: Velator Quay -‐ EX33 2DX Finish: Velator Quay
Length: 6.1 miles (9.8 km)
Summary: A long walk, but over easy ground. Starting at Velator, once a bustling quay, the route passes through Braunton Burrows, one of the UK’s largest sand dune systems, with a unique diversity of species. As well as being a National Nature Reserve, the Burrows are at the core of the UNESCO-‐designated North Devon Biosphere Reserve, which celebrates man and nature working together in harmony in a peaceful pastoral landscape. Heading inland around Braunton Marshes, a large area of wet pastureland reclaimed from the sea in the nineteenth century, the walk also passes the Braunton Great Field, one of only three medieval strip farming fields remaining in England. Take a picnic and plenty of drinks to sustain you on the way.
Terrain: Level ground, on paths that may be muddy, sandy or stony, a rough track and on a quiet country road.
Walk 7 - Estuary Walk from Barnstaple Station
Start: Barnstaple Station -‐ EX31 2AU Finish: Barnstaple Station
Length: 11.5 miles (18.5 km)
Summary: A walk as long or as short as you want to make it – 2¾-‐11½ miles (4.25-‐18.5km) – mostly on a level tarmac path along the Taw Estuary. Look out for wildfowl and water birds as you walk past saltmarsh and tiny rocky beaches to the Tarka Inn. For dedicated walkers, the route continues through a once-‐bustling port and around marshland reclaimed from the sea, to Braunton Burrows, the UK’s largest dune system with a wealth of rare plants, especially inspiring in spring and early summer, when the blossom is lush on the bushes and the rabbit-‐cropped turf is carpeted with an amazing assortment of wildflowers.
Terrain: A mostly level tarmac path along the Taw Estuary.
Walk 8 ‐ Bull Point & Lee Bay
Start: Lee Bay seafront -‐ EX34 8LR
Finish: Lee Bay seafront
Length: 4.5 miles (7.2 km)
Summary: A rollercoaster walk, inland at first through ancient woodland and coastal farmland to a medieval Barton. Passing prehistoric standing stones in the windswept fields high above the coast, the path drops to another small wooded valley and then emerges on a large exposed heath with tremendous views across the Bristol Channel, where Bull Point lighthouse was built to warn ships of the lethal reefs below. Lee Bay is renowned for the fuchsia hedges around its cottage gardens, and its secluded beach was the perfect place for smugglers to land their contraband.
Terrain: This walk travels on paths, tracks and lanes that may be muddy or marshy, with many stretches of steep ascent and descent, including steps.
Walk 9 - Morte Point
Start: Mortehoe Village -‐ EX34 7DT
Finish: Mortehoe Village
Length: 4.6 miles (7.5 km)
Summary: An inspiring walk through an area of rare coastal heathland, where the wealth of wildflowers beneath the gorse and heather provides the perfect feeding and breeding ground for many moths and butterflies. Look out for seals and even dolphins. The deadly ‘devil’s teeth’ rocks along the spine of Morte Point continue underwater and have been responsible for many shipwrecks over the centuries. A good walk for older children especially those with plenty of energy. All will love the rugged romance of the area and the fascinating rocks. Visit in spring, when birds call from bushes laden with blossom and the maritime grasslands are full of wildflowers and early insects; or in autumn, when the small flocks of migrant seabirds passing by offshore can sometimes include rare breeds among the terns and kittiwakes. Use this walk (or part of it) to visit the hidden beaches at either Rockham Bay or Lee Bay.
Terrain: There are a number of stretches of steep ascent and descent, including steps, but there are many shortcuts back across the heath.
Walk 10 -‐ Appledore & Northam Burrows
Start: Appledore, Main Car Park -‐ EX39 1RL
Finish: Appledore, Main Car Park
Length: 6.9 miles (11.1 km)
Summary: A walk around Northam Burrows, at the mouth of the Taw-‐ Torridge estuary, where Westward Ho!’s pebble ridge shields a rare wildlife site of grassy coastal plain fronted by salt marsh and sand dunes. Starting in Charles Kingsley’s ‘Little White Fishing Village’ at Appledore, the route passes Europe’s largest covered shipyard, where nearly 200 vessels have been built, and an ancient battleground where 1000 Vikings are said to have been slaughtered.
Terrain: The walk is almost completely flat, with just one gentle climb, some stiles and some steps. Footpaths may be muddy or wet.
We hope our selection of 10 has wet your appetite and given you some ideas for planning your next walking holiday, hopefully in North Devon.