Walk 1719 - printer friendly version
Clovelly & the South West Coast Path Walk
Author - Peter Schofield
Length - 6.0 miles / 9.8 km
Ascent - 650 feet / 197 metres
Grade - easy/mod
Start - OS grid reference SS297259
Lat 51.007209 + Long -4.4288075
Postcode EX39 6AN (approx. location only)
This easy walk takes in some fine country walking through well established woodland to the well known village of Clovelly. The return journey is along the country's longest trail the South West Coastal Path which offers some fine coastal scenery.
The walk starts at the National Trust CP at Brownsham, reached down a narrow lane from the B3248 between Clovelly and Hartland. On leaving the car park entrance, turn left down the access road to Lower Brownsham Farm and after 100m, turn right down a broad track signed to "Mouth Mill 1 mile". Continue gently downhill through the attractive Brownsham Woods to a track junction at grid ref. SS297259.
Bear right over the stream and after a further 100m, go right up a rocky track which emerges from the woods at a gate after a further 200m. Continue straight ahead along the field boundary to another gate, and then go slightly upwards diagonally across the next field (a somewhat lonely metal gate in the middle of the field shows the way) to reach a track at the top. If you look to the left, the sea is visible at Mouth Mill which we will visit later in the walk.
Leave the field through a gate and continue along the track to arrive at Clovelly Court Farm. The track which becomes tarmac at this point continues past Clovelly Court house to reach a fine pair of ornamental gates at grid ref. SS309249. While you're there, have a look at the inscription on the cottage adjacent to the gates. Turn left on to the road and after 400m, continue straight on past the "No Through Road" signs to reach a small car park on the left.
At this point, should you want to visit Clovelly, continue straight ahead and after 200m, the road starts to descend steeply into the village street of this unique but tourist oriented village. Even if you don't wish to visit the village, it's worth going as far as the start of the descent to enjoy the fine view over Clovelly Bay.
To continue the walk, turn left at the car park, and go through a pair of gates signed "Coast Path". The well waymarked and clear route continues through cliff top woodland offering occasional glimpses over the sea. The path passes a couple of ornamental shelters, known as The Cabin and The Angels Wings, which were built in the early 19thC by the owner of Clovelly Court so that he could enjoy the views over the bay.
After 2.5K, the path descends to reach the beach at Mouth Mill where a stream meets the sea. Over to the right stands Blackchurch Rock, a striking formation which has two "windows" cut out by the sea. Cross the stream and continue on the opposite bank past the ruins of the mill which was used to produce lime using raw materials delivered by boat from South Wales. The area was also an active centre of smuggling in days gone by.
About 200m beyond the ruins, turn sharp right to climb steeply through the woods, finally emerging into a field at a stile. Cross the stile and follow the field boundary to your right over two more stiles to arrive at another stile at GR SS291265. The woodland has finally given way to open cliff top and there are excellent views towards Windbury Head. Having crossed the stile, the route leaves the Coast Path, instead turning left to cross another stile almost immediately.
Follow the field boundary on your right as the path crosses a couple of pastures before gently descending into Beckland Wood, another fine example of English deciduous woodland. At a path junction, continue straight on following the sign to Brownsham. The path gently climbs through the woods to arrive at a gate. Go through the gate and continue on the path for 200m to arrive back at the start point.
For those without their own transport, the walk can be started at Clovelly using bus 319 which operates to there from Bideford up to six times on weekdays. However, there is no Sunday service. Full details can be found on the Traveline South West website.