This is a great circular walk combining pleasant inland walking and stunning coastal paths. It’s a fabulously refreshing pick-me-up!
Why it’s on my list
I love Westward Ho! and it’s a place packed full of childhood memories for me. It conjures up images of tiptoeing around rock pools, the smell of freshly made doughnuts, and the taste of Hocking’s ice cream (with a chocolate flake of course).
Alongside these memories are recollections of walks along the seafront and a little bit beyond along the South West Coast Path. We found a Westward Ho! walk that built on this memory, heading up through woodland and inland to Abbotsham, before joining the South West Coast Path. And of course you get to finish off with a Hocking’s at the end!
Location: Start from wherever you park/arrive in Westward Ho!
Parking: If you’re happy to park your car on the roadside in Westward Ho! there are some parts of the road as you head into town that have virtually no parking restrictions – this area starts from where it becomes a one-way system and carries on to The Pier House.
Alternatively there are pay and display car parks in Westward Ho!
Length of walk: About 5.8 miles, around 2-3 hours.
Type of walk: Circular walk including woodland, dirt tracks, coastal path and quiet country lanes. One steep uphill part at the beginning.
Dog friendly? Yes, there are some short bits along roads where you will want to keep them on a lead, but they can be off the lead for much of the walk.
This is a fantastic walk for blowing away the cobwebs. It’s not too long or short, includes a bit of sheltered inland walking and has a spectacular bit of coastal walking too. It’s the sort of walk that makes me feel like everything is right in the world.
The route we followed is from the South West Coast Path website.
From wherever you are in Westward Ho! head towards Holy Trinity Church. Pass the church and follow the road round and up to the left. There will be a public footpath sign on the right, take this path and head up through woodland. This is the steepest bit and takes you over Kipling Tor. There is a fair trek uphill before you come out at the upper part of Westward Ho!
The walk carries on through junctions of footpaths and a small housing estate before taking some dirt tracks and rural back lanes towards Cornbrough. We saw an inventive little post box on the way!
The walk takes you to the outskirts of Abbotsham, which has a nice country village feel about it. After you see this signpost you take a left and then almost immediately right down a path marked unsuitable for vehicles. This is a nicer route to Abbotsham than on the road.
From here we followed signs to Greencliff, where you eventually reach a footpath that takes you out to Abbotsham Cliffs and the South West Coast Path. We saw an interesting carving on the way!
Head right, and then it’s a straightforward coastal path walk back towards Westward Ho! There are a few ups and downs, but nothing too strenuous. You are back in Westward Ho! proper once you’ve walked past the ‘haunted’ house, The Pier House and the beach huts.
The view when you step onto the South West Coast Path at Abbotsham Cliffs is absolutely stunning. There are views toward Lundy Island, miles and miles of rolling waves, and rugged rock formations. This part of the walk is the perfect balance to an hour or so of inland walking. And what’s even better is that you can walk all the way back to Westward Ho! enjoying these amazing views.
Not the best
I was forewarned that there is one bit as you head towards Abbotsham Cliffs that is quite muddy, and although we did this walk in the height of an unseasonably hot summer and the land was exceptionally dry, it was clear which part would have resulted in very muddy boots. And therefore…
…make sure you wear appropriate footwear that you aren’t worried about getting mucky!