This walk embraces the beautiful North Devon Coast Path and rolling hills around the charming village of Berrynarbor. Beautiful, even on a cold winter’s day.
Why it’s on my list
I’ve seen a lot of the South West Coast Path around Croyde and Woolacombe, and along Exmoor, but not very much of the bit in between the two, despite the good things I have heard about it. I came across this walk in a book and thought it would make for a lovely Sunday jaunt – a few hours with bit of coastline, lovely.
Location: Start in the village of Berrynarbor.
Parking: parking is free and fairly ample at Berrynarbor village shop.
Length of walk: 7 miles – allow 3-4 hours.
Type of walk: Circular with lots of fields and some coastal path, not very strenuous but one fairly steep uphill and downhill part.
Dog friendly? Encountered some horses and sheep, but not too many – just make sure you are aware of surroundings. Passed through two farms.
This walks combines a cute English village with a taste of North Devon’s coastal path. It’s not too long, so good for winter days, but not too short either. A great all rounder of a walk.
The walk starts in the village of Berrynarbor, which is a really lovely place to walk around. Anyone who has dreamed of living the rural village life would be hard-pressed to find anywhere that fits that description better than Berrynarbor.
Turn left out of the car park, left at the junction opposite the church, and then take the first lane left to pass the school. Keep going for a short while to come across a raised path on the left-hand side of the road, take this path and go through a gate to rejoin the lane. Keep going into the Sterridge Valley, where you will walk past a number of houses. Keep an eye out for the famous flowerpot men of Berrynarbor and the home of their maker – Hillside Cottage.
When you get to a point in the lane where it takes a sharp left turn and Lower Farm Rows is on your left, follow the footpath on the right that goes through a kissing gate and heads uphill. Follow the top left of the field and after passing a willow, head slightly right to ignore the obvious path and follow the left edge of the next field. Cross stiles and streams, turning left once you reach a field and heading up and left to reach a stile at the top.
Carry on across another field and a road to reach Lower Trayne Farm, follow the signs through the farm to join the path. Keep following the path down into the valley, pass through a gate to start on a woodland path, and eventually reach Comyn Farm. Pass through a large gate and turn right, before taking a footpath slightly to the right called Cat Lane (not signposted as Cat Lane until you get to the other end, unhelpfully). It is a muddy track rather than a lane, as you might imagine a lane to be a tarmac or concrete road.
Keep walking to reach a T-junction, turn right, turn right again and follow signs for the Old Cornmill, carrying on past the mill to come to Hele.
Follow the footpath alongside the main road before following signs to the Coast Path, which involves crossing a parking area and walking alongside a roadside verge. Keep following the coastal path to walk around Rillage Point, which is a lovely spot of coastline. We are convinced we could see the top of the sword of Verity over the cliffs towards Ilfracombe, Verity being a huge bronze statue designed by artist Damien Hirst that keeps watch over Ilfracombe harbour.
Carry on along the coastal path to walk into Water Mouth, where there will be the river mouth and boats to your left, a road to your right. At high tide you’ll have to walk alongside the road, otherwise you can take the path that leads you right down onto the sand.
Amble along the beach at your own pace and walk up the slope that leads down to the beach, carrying on through the harbour to reach the road. Walk along the footpath, turning left after you’ve passed a bus stop to go through a gate that leads into Watermouth Valley Camping Park.
Head up the hill, going through the camping area to follow Coast Path signs that take you above Broad Strand.
Carry along a track through some woods, where there is the option to take the many, many steps down to the beach, which you would have to take to come back up again too. Carry on to join some road, walking past houses until you reach Sandy Cove Hotel. Take the road opposite, which goes uphill, until you reach the A399. Follow signs to Berrynarbor, walking past the enviable houses (my favourite was called ‘Sarnia’, which conjured up images of a fantasy land made of sandwiches), eventually coming to a familiar looking signpost near the church in Berrynarbor village. Turn left to return to the car park.
The coastline was stunning, particularly as you start walking along Rillage Point.
I also really love Berrynarbor – it is an adorable village. We did this walk on a Sunday in the middle of winter, so it was really quiet and peaceful and we saw only the occasional person washing their car or gardening. But I imagine if you saw this place on a Saturday in summer you would find a really charming village full of heartwarming community spirit – at least the village notice board gave that impression! It felt like a village with lots of personality.
Not the best
We had difficulty choosing somewhere to have our packed lunch. We settled for a stone bench at the tip of Widmouth Head, which looked out to sea. It was pretty, but it was in the shade and there was a biting wind, which meant we got cold really quickly and could only manage a sandwich before we had to move on. Turned out, as we rounded the corner, that there were lots of benches around Water Mouth, and any of these would have made a much better spot for lunch because they were in the sun and had a nice view too.
Cat Lane was terribly muddy, which made it slow going. Wear walking boots, or at least shoes you don’t mind getting muddy, and I would consider saving this walk for a dry day.