With some of the most spectacular scenery in the South West, it’s little surprise that Woolacombe makes a perfect location for walking breaks in Devon. From the Tarka Trail to Exmoor, there are countless routes in the area, with routes for every ability. Of course, the other nice thing about staying in Woolacombe is that you can often forget about the car, as there are some lovely circular and coastal walks that begin right on our doorstep.
Here are some of our favourite easy local walks, along with some useful tips, website links and excellent value seasonal special offers:
Woolacombe to Potters Hill
Woolacombe sands and warren at low tide (image: Richard Croft/ Wikimedia Commons)
This little route could be described as steep but sweet. Indeed, it's well worth a brief huff and puff for brilliant views of Morte Point and Woolacombe, along with an abundance of coastal flora and fauna. The lush coastal grasslands are especially rich for smaller birds, mammals and reptiles, which in turn make this a great area for birds of prey too- and you may well spot sparrowhawk or kestrel on the prowl.
Difficulty/Distance: Easy. Varies from 1.2km (under a mile) to 3 miles for the longer route.
Map & Directions: Click here
Woolacombe to Mortehoe
Morthoe is a cute, tiny village that can be reached within just a short half hour or so walk from Woolacombe. From here, you can then head out to Morte Point for spectacular views, or indeed head for Lee, a local village with smuggling history, along the South West Coast Path. Depending on the route you choose, you may get views of Lundy Island and also Wales on a clear day.
Distance/ Difficulty: Easy to medium. From 4.5 to 6.25 miles depending on route.
Map & directions: http://www.devon.gov.uk/walk17.pdf
Croyde to Baggy Point
Baggy Point- or should that be craggy point? (Image: X libber/ Wikimedia Commons)
Spectacularly craggy and renowned for stunning spring and summer wildflowers, Baggy Point is a great location to get a taste of the North Devon Coast at its most rugged. Not that the route is dramatically difficult; on the contrary, it’s an easy, family-friendly walk from Baggy Point to Croyde.
Aside from amazing views, it’s also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) with amazing geological features and wildlife. Those with a love of rare and unusual plants might find some real rarities, while you might also spot seals here. No doubt they like the area for the same reason as local anglers. Indeed, pack a rod on your walk and you’ll find good sea fishing in the vicinity for species like wrasse, pollack and garfish by day, rays and various dogfish by night. Oh, and look out for the giant whale bones too!
Difficulty/ distance: Easy (2 miles).
Map & directions: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/article-1356403470313/
Lynton to the Valley of the Rocks
Ok, so you will need to take a slightly longer drive for this route (20 miles or so from Woolacombe), but for sheer uniqueness this area is well worth a visit. In spite of some impressive scenery, the trails are easy going too (mostly tarmacked).
There are two other things you simply must try if you spend a day out in this area. One is to have a ride on the Lynton Cliff Railway; the other is to meet the famous wild goats of North Devon! We “kid” you not (sorry, couldn’t resist), they are quite lovable and have been here for as long as anyone can remember. Leave a little extra time and Lynton itself has plenty of pretty shops, pubs and places to peruse too, if all those slopes made you thirsty.
Difficulty/ distance: Easy (2.7 miles).
Map & directions: http://www.southwestcoastpath.com/walksdb/247/
Walking Tips for North Devon:
- You don’t need any special equipment or knowledge for 90% of North Devon walks, but do be prepared. Watch the weather, dress sensibly and take plenty of water and sunblock (which must be the two most common things visitors forget!). Remember, it’s always better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it!
- Don’t rely on digital technology! Google Maps and Apple Maps are both pretty poor on detail and a lot of smaller areas and features are totally absent. We’d strongly recommend buying a good old-fashioned Ordnance Survey Map instead (OS Explorer Map 139 is a good one, covering from Bideford to Ilfracombe and Barnstaple). Local walking guidebooks also provide excellent detail (our current short walking breaks include a free 200 page guide to local routes!).
- In spite of the shortcomings of technology, there are one or two more useful apps out there. If you’re walking with younger family members (especially those who love their phone a bit too much!) Geocacheing is a great way to keep them interested. Like a digital treasure hunt, it works with a special free app you can find at https://www.geocaching.com
- If there was one commonly neglected item to really enhance your enjoyment on walks, it would probably be a lightweight pair of binoculars. These aren’t just for bird watchers, but are also terrific for those magic moments when you spot seals or passing dolphins!
- Many of the little towns and villages have a bus service, which can be great for taking you back to your starting point. Just be aware that services can be quite limited and if you miss your bus you might have a long wait, so do plan carefully. A local taxi is another useful way to get back to base (try Beach Runner Taxi in Woolacombe on 07825 163284).
- Take a look at our special offers page to enjoy a little luxury for less on your next trip to Devon! Our current selection of hotel deals for 2018 includes the special Sea, Shore and Moor Break, which starts at just £200 per person and includes a complimentary 200 page walking guide.
From the Woolacombe Bay blog archives:
Beautiful Garden Attractions and Heritage Sites: https://www.woolacombe-bay-hotel.co.uk/blog/the-area/heritage-sites-and-glorious-gardens-in-north-devon
A Brief Guide to North Devon Wildlife, including species to spot, tips and key locations: https://www.woolacombe-bay-hotel.co.uk/blog/the-area/north-devon-wildlife-sites
Dog Friendly Local Pubs and Beaches in and around Woolacombe Bay: https://www.woolacombe-bay-hotel.co.uk/blog/the-area/dog-friendly-beaches-pubs-and-breaks-in-north-devon
Where to Hire it in North Devon, from Boards to Bikes: https://www.woolacombe-bay-hotel.co.uk/blog/hotel-news/where-to-hire-it-in-north-devon-from-boards-to-bikes
Useful walking sites and North Devon links
Explore The South West Coast Path, recommended walks and information: https://www.explorethesouthwestcoastpath.co.uk
The National Trust Site, for a selection of excellent visitor sites, maps and more: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/watersmeet/lists/your-adventure-in-north-devon-starts-here
Visit North Devon: plenty of activities, events and ideas for your next break: https://www.northdevon.com
Official Exmoor National Park Website: lots of ideas for your next visit, with walks, events and a host of pretty towns and villages to explore: www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/