Ilfracombe is the centre for some of the finest walking country in England. Whether you enjoy a gentle promenade walk around Capstone Hill, the rugged coastal path or prefer the river valleys and tranquillity of the moorland hills of Exmoor National Park you will find the scenery spectacular. Words somehow cannot fully capture this natural beauty, this 'great outdoors'.
The North Devon Coast path stretched from Hartland in the West, to Lynmouth in the East and encompasses such a variety of countryside, from the mighty hogback cliffs of Great Hangman, to the sweeping golden sands and wild surf at Woolacombe, to the calmer waters of the estuary of the Taw and Torridge rivers.
The coast path between Woolacombe and Lynton with Ilfracombe at its heart is breath-taking in more ways than one. Why not base yourself in Ilfracombe, walk a section of this path each day and be at one with nature.
Ilfracombe is also perfect for a wide range of different walks using your car or public transport. North Devon offers rolling Devon countryside inland and the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) hugs the spectacular coastline to Cornwall. Along this coast you will find vast sandy beaches, impressive headlands, the International Biosphere Reserve at Braunton Burrows, quaint fishing villages and lighthouses.
In the other direction you will find one of the most beautiful and challenging National Parks, Exmoor. It is a walker's paradise. Hundreds of miles of quality footpaths and bridleways await you to take you away from the crowds and into tranquillity and stunning scenery. Open moorland, deep wooded valleys and high coastal cliffs can all be included in one walk. Rushing rivers pass through untouched villages and farmsteads. Red deer and Exmoor ponies roam freely across the moor. Even returning to Ilfracombe will be a shock to the system after experiencing this peace and solitude.
To get the best walks in whichever of these areas you choose, there are many accurate walk routes available. These are written by local people who know the area well, which is to your benefit. Ilfracombe Tourist Information Centre based at the Landmark Theatre has a wide range of Maps, leaflets and booklets on offer,
The best walking maps for planning your walks and for tracking your position as you go along are available from our online shop.
Ordnance Survey Explorer Maps (orange covers) numbers:
139 Bideford, Ilfracombe and Barnstaple
Also look out for the excellent walking maps by Croyde Cycle which give even more detail than the Ordnance Survey maps. They are coloured green and are widely available. There are seven sheets covering the coast from Porlock to Braunton Burrows, with others on Exmoor and on the coast further west. See also www.croydecycle.co.uk
If you would rather plan your walks before coming down then you can either peruse our online shop or visit a local web site at www.westcountrywalks.co.uk which has over 100 downloadable leaflets and booklets available that cover this area. Another excellent site for walks throughout the UK including this area is www.walkingworld.com
www.phototrails.org has some short walks in Ilfracombe suitable for those with more limited ability. Phototrails is part of the Fieldfare trust that actively promotes access to the countryside for people with disabilities.
The UK's most scenic Walking Festival is held right here in North Devon and Exmoor, with a nine day event in the Spring starting in Ilfracombe. Full details can be found at www.exmoorwalkingfestival.co.uk
Once you have walked in this area, you will wish you had discovered it sooner and want to come back time and time again.