Exploring Watermouth Harbour

One evening in the summer, after stumbling across a picturesque Instagram post of steps overlooking Watermouth Harbour, I went in search of this exact location. Following a quick check on the South West Coast Path website, it became apparent that the best place to start looking would be nearby Hele Bay, on the outskirts of Ilfracombe.

Fortunately, I was aware of a lesser known car parking spot opposite the town’s golf course, the perfect place to set off on foot for our adventure. The layby itself already provides gorgeous views from above Hele Bay and the coastline towards Ilfracombe town. Definitely a pretty cove to check out in its own right (I hear it’s great for cold water swimming!).

Anyway, once on the trail towards Berrynarbor, we were immediately teased by hidden coves, looking so peaceful and untouched. Just imagine heading out on a paddle board, listening to the waves lap the shore, with no one else in sight.

Being mid July, the cliffs were alive with vibrant foliage and brightly coloured wildflowers, enhanced further by the golden hour light. The thick hedges also provided leafy green tunnels on the overgrown walkway, offering us welcomed shelter from the early evening sun.

By climbing up to the top of the hill, you eventually reach the old coastguard cottages, where a sweeping left turn heads right towards the sea. This gives an incredible vantage point, where the water is always a gorgeous deep turquoise, glistening as the waves hit the rock formations.

The wide wedge steps force larger strides, but the promise of getting even closer to the water, tempts you down quickly towards Samson’s Bay and the ocean.

This section of the coast path is certainly a hilly one, with hikes up to high points, before bringing you back down for a breather. However, with so many beautiful views, it’s good to have an excuse to stop and take it all in!

Nature lovers will be pleased to spot alpacas in the surrounding fields – how lucky they are to have such an incredible environment! With every turn, there’s a perspective of the Ilfracombe coastline to stop you dead in your tracks, plus plenty of photogenic landscapes for those bringing along a camera.

Then, the view everyone has been waiting for! The steps down to the most stunning backdrop you could imagine (and the money shot for any photographers). Looking across at Watermouth Harbour, with all the boats bobbing in the water, and the lookout tower on the horizon. It doesn’t get much more breathtaking than that in North Devon!

It is possible to walk on further towards Watermouth, meandering past another beautiful (but private!) cove, belonging to local a bed and breakfast. You’ll want to continue along the woodland path to eventually come out right in the bay.

It’s not always possible to get much further (especially at high tide!), unless you fancy a swim or a very muddy trek, so this is where I normally turn around and head back towards the car. However, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can easily carry on in the direction of Broadsands and Combe Martin by taking the road.

I have now walked this route multiple times since (as you can probably tell from the variety of photos), but no matter the time of year or weather conditions, it still continues to blow me away! (You can read more about the lookout tower below in this post.)

Hopefully this has given you a helpful insight into what a route that is like no other in North Devon! If you’re a local, did you even know this section of the path existed? I certainly didn’t!

For that reason, I could not have been more grateful to have discovered it this summer, when travel has been very restricted for reasons we are all aware of! I’d love to know if you’ve tried it out or intend to – just drop me a comment below!

Spotting seals in Morthoe

This has to be one of the most breathtaking sections of the North Devon coastline (although I probably say that a lot!). From a birds eye view of the wide expanse of sands at Woolacombe beach to sharp and moody rock formations that would look better placed in Game of Thrones, it’s a certainly a stretch that is a treat to experience.

We normally access the route via the road which runs through the village with the quintessential Post Office on the corner. You’ll walk along a residential street, but will eventually spot the North Morte Well on your right (make sure to throw in a penny and make a wish), which is directly opposite the path entrance. We tend to head straight down and then take a left when we reach the cliffs. However, if you take a right you can reach Rockham Beach and Bull Point, but I’ll save that for another post!

You could also access this same section of coastpath by cutting past The Ship Aground pub in Morthoe village and heading past the graveyard. I highly recommend just following your intuition, as there are so many different trails, that will all lead you towards the coast with different vantage points.

This wild and remote section of coastline boasts so much beauty! No matter the time of year, Morthoe always delights with dramatic landscapes. During the winter months, the stormy seas and jagged rocks will reveal just why it has a history of shipwrecks, yet in the summer months the golden hour boasts some of the best sunsets you’ll ever witness.

I can’t remember a time that I’ve been walking in this area and haven’t been lucky enough to spot a seal, sometimes more! They seem to absolutely adore the rocky outcrops which lie just before the corner leading to the distinctive grey and white dramatic headland of Morte Point. You’ll often know they’re there before you even see them as fellow excitable walkers let you know as they pass you by.

Whether they’re bathing on a rock, or bobbing up and down in the sea, they really are mesmerising to watch. A recommendation would be to take a picnic and set up camp on the grass, as hours can easily pass by, while you view them in their natural habitat (binoculars are an excellent shout if you want to see them close up)!

When you do turn the corner (after hopefully admiring a seal or two!) you’ll be met with breathtaking views across the ocean towards Baggy Point. You’ll also Woolacombe beach in all its glory, and this is where you’ll want to view the sunset. We were lucky enough to experience this on a recent walk in November and it really was a blessing!

There are very steep sections of path but you’re often rewarded with a beautiful view and a well placed bench for a cheeky rest. You can’t be blamed for wanting to take a seat when you can see right out across the ocean like this!

I must mention that this section of the South West Coastal Path does tend to get very muddy in the colder, wetter months, so I would advise walking boots or wellies where possible. I trialled my brand new pair that I received for Christmas today and it’s safe to say they are now well worn in!

I’m writing this post with wind burnt cheeks after a blowy afternoon spent walking here, but can honestly say it is so refreshing to get out amongst the elements and relish in the beauty of this lesser known spot (yet right next door to award-winning Woolacombe)! Make sure to let me know if you go exploring in this sensational and striking area – I’d love to hear about it.

Discover Broadsands in North Devon

If you’re looking for a slice of the Mediterranean while visiting North Devon then Broadsands is your answer! This beautiful secluded cove is a truly idyllic spot nestled between Watermouth Cove and Combe Martin.

However… you’ll want to be fit to experience it! There are approximately 220 steps down to the beach and boy are they steep. You’ll certainly reap the rewards of your efforts when you reach the bottom though, so make sure you persevere.

If you’re looking to visit, then I recommend parking in the Watermouth Harbour car park, which will also perfectly place you to explore a couple of other beauty spots too! It’ll cost you a couple of pounds but you’ll get ample time for exploring the surrounding area in return.

If you arrive around lunchtime, then check out the boat cafe, Storm in a Teacup. Whether you fancy a Devonshire cream tea or a toasted sandwich, there will be something that takes your fancy. Perch on one of the rainbow coloured benches and watch as the boats leave and enter the harbour while you enjoy a local delicacy.

Once you’re refuelled and ready to go, you’ll want to find the coast path, which is out towards the main road. It’ll take you through the Watermouth Cove Holiday Park and honestly, if you’re into camping, you won’t get much better views for a pitch than right here!

You’ll start to head up quite a steep hill, before quickly reaching the breathtaking vantage point, which overlooks Broadsands beach. When the tide is in, it’s hard to believe you’re actually still in England, as it literally looks like a scene from an exotic holiday brochure. This spot makes the perfect photo opportunity making your friends at home very jealous!

Now, you’ll probably be wondering how to actually get down to the beach, as you will seem extremely high up! However, if you continue to follow the path down the country lane, you will eventually pass the sign-post for Broadsands. This is where you’ll want to brace yourself for the descent (although it’s certainly harder on the way up)!

Varying stone and wooden steps will lead you down to the grey sands, with glimpses of glistening blue sea enticing you through the tree tops. As you’ll most likely have worked up a sweat, this will be the moment when you won’t want to have forgotten your swimming gear! The clear water lapping the shores will be so inviting that you’ll want to jump straight in.

If the tide isn’t fully in then you will be able to walk around the corner to find breathtaking views of Combe Martin and Little Hangman. A number of local outdoor adventure companies do offer kayaking and paddle board activities if you wish to experience this area from the ocean.

I won’t tell you too much more, as it’s best seen with your own eyes, but hopefully this gives you a small insight into this wonderful hidden treasure!

If you’re not one to sit and relax, then you can continue to follow the coast path into Combe Martin, where you’ll find another beach, in the village which claims to have the longest high street in the country. I did this walk earlier in the summer and made sure to reward myself with a peanut butter ice cream on arrival!

I also can’t write this blog post without mentioning the lookout tower at Watermouth. This is another gorgeous landmark that I only discovered myself during lockdown this summer. Isn’t it amazing how many places have been right under our noses this whole time? When you return to the car park, you simply follow the coast path up towards the right hand side of the harbour, to get a birds eye view of the surrounding coastline.

This area is one of my absolute favourites and I can’t wait to tell you more about a nearby walk I discovered a few months ago – so keep yours eyes peeled as I’ll be posting about this on the blog very soon!

Have you ever visited any of these beauty spots in Devon? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments if you’ve been or are planning a trip here! Make sure to follow me on Instagram for more regular updates on my exploring around this beautiful county.

Baggy Point – Walking in Croyde

Croyde has so much to offer. The beautiful yet small village has a charming laid-back vibe, which isn’t surprising, due to the golden bay and spectacular surf that draws in both locals and crowds from further afield.

However, those looking to head off the beaten path will certainly want to explore the coastline of Baggy Point. There is a relatively easy circular route which takes you along both sides of the point and then back across the headland, taking in both the nearby farmland and far-reaching views of the Atlantic (keep an eye out for Lundy Island on the horizon!).

Whether you tend to reach for hiking boots or a beaten up pair of trainers, this section of the South West Coast Path, which belongs to the National Trust, is well looked after and caters for most levels of walkers. (Members of the NT will be pleased to hear that you can park here for free!) For more hardened hikers, there is a route which takes you to Woolacombe, but this takes about four hours.

Baggy Point in Croyde

The path out to Baggy Point is quite narrow in places, and may not be for the faint-hearted, but personally I love to look at the depth below, watching as the swirling sea laps around the rock form. I recently watched a video that showed a secret cut through to a tidal pool that looked heavenly for a summer dip. It’s definitely on my list of places to find next summer, so I will keep you updated!

As you head out onto the trail, you may spot the remaining bones of a large whale, which washed up onto the beach in 1915. There is also a pond on the route, which provides a natural habitat for a variety of creatures. I remember finding frogspawn here as a child with my family. Fascinating if you’re a fan of nature!

In spring and summer, wild flowers will be aplenty, the vibrant colours complementing the whites and blues of the surrounding water. While those visiting towards the end of the year may instead see interesting fungi and bright yellow gorse spread across the wild cliffs. Not forgetting the black Hebridean sheep who sometimes make an appearance on the green grass clinging to the hillside.

When reaching the point, you can choose to sit right at the very edge, or admire from further back. During lockdown, we were fortunate enough to experience a sunset from the very tip, and had the whole place to ourselves. It was the most magical experience and one I certainly won’t forget. The position of the headline is just perfect to watch the sun as it sets behind the sea. Once the sun disappears, the panoramic views of the ocean are simply stunning (and you’ll be able to see nearby Morte Point), as the sky begins to change through a variety or pink and orange hues.

It’s just as dramatic in the winter, watching as the waves crash against the sea cliffs, but you’ll want to make sure you wrap up warm! (I can’t write this post without mentioning that I actually got engaged here on 1st November 2020 on a wet and windy day, so as you can imagine, Baggy Point really does have a special place in my heart!)

So, if you’re looking for a gentle walk, then I must say that this beautiful section of coastal path is well worth the effort of leaving the main village. I recently wrote some tips about how to live like a local in Croyde if you’d like to check them out here. Let me know if you’ve been before in the comments below, or ask a question and I’ll do my best to share my local knowledge with you!