Ilfracombe via Berrynarbor
Highlights: Chambercombe Manor, Sterridge Valley, flowerpot men, Berrynarbor, Watermouth Cove and Castle, South West Coast Path, Hele Bay and Hele Mill
Start Grid ref: SS 529 473
Distance: 7.3 miles, circular
Height gained/lost: 462 metres. Starts moderate becoming strenuous, then moderate to strenuous in parts. Muddy in places.
High Point: 173 metres
Low Point: 10 metres
Toilets: Swimming pool car park at start point; Chambercombe Manor; at Berrynarbor as you come up to the church ahead, turn right and instead of going up Barton Lane bear right along a more level road to the car park with a toilet block; Hele Bay.
Eating places: Chambercombe Manor; Miss Muffets tea-rooms at Berrynarbor; Hele Mill; various at Ilfracombe.
Time required, including stops: 4 to 5 hours
Public transport: 30
Mileages shown are cumulative
This walk includes some beautiful Devon countryside, farms, a Devon 'Best Kept Village', a lovely church and a castle, followed by some spectacular coastal scenery.
Directions To The Start:
From Ilfracombe High Street go towards Combe Martin. Keep on this road (A399) passing the Thatched Inn on your right. Shortly after that turn left at the brow of the hill into the swimming pool car park and park there.
1, SS529 473: Leave the car park the way you came in and cross straight over and go up Chambercombe Park Road until you reach where the road takes a sharp right bend. Turn left here, in front of the terraced houses above you.
2, SS530 471, 0.3 miles: Go down the lane to the Chambercombe Manor, following the Public Bridleway signpost and shortly ignoring the Public Footpath sign on the left, continuing on with a caravan park down on your left. You can visit the Manor between Easter and the end of the season.
3, SS532 468, 0.6 miles: Follow the lane around the Manor, signposted to Comyn Farm Riding Stables (maybe!). Ignore the path up to the right opposite the Manor wall. Continue along the lane, over the stream and through the farmyard (ignoring the track coming in from the left) to the gate in the far left corner, possibly with horses looking over it.
4, SS534 466, 0.8 miles: Pass through it, making sure you leave it as secure as you found it; horses are cunning. It could be very muddy here. Cross the stream via the bridge and follow the signpost to Trayne, Oxen Park Lane, thus turning left in front of the woods to follow the stream and fence for about 400 yards. If it is very muddy then go up into the woods and follow along parallel to the path.
5, SS537 464, 1.0 miles: On reaching where the path crosses the stream by a gate, go through the gate and up the hill by the telegraph pole, then through the gap in the trees and on to the farm buildings and through the gate by the buildings.
6, SS540 462, 1.2 miles: Pass through the farmyard and follow the steep farm track until reaching the road.
7, SS545 461, 1.6 miles: Cross straight over the road to the stile. Now bear slightly to your right, in the direction of the signpost to Sterridge Valley (the path might be ploughed up, depending on the time of year) aiming at the centre of the valley in front of you. Soon a large telegraph pole comes into sight straight ahead, in the valley. Walk towards it and soon you will see a signpost and stile in the hedgerow.
8, SS546 459, 1.7 miles: Cross over it and carry on down gradually into the valley, watching out for a well-hidden signpost and stile in the hedge on your right by the stream.
9, SS548 458, 1.8 miles: Cross over the stile and bridge, following the path to the left, with the stream on your left. Continue along this path and then keep to the top of the field, by the hedge.
10, SS551 457, 2.0 miles: Pass through the hedge that is coming up in front of you (yellow waymarked) keeping the hedge ahead of you on your right. At the bottom of the field go through the gap and immediately round to your left, down the track to the gate and road.
11, SS553 457, 2.1 miles: Turn left and follow the road for a good half mile to Berrynarbor.
12, SS559 464, 2.7 miles: Just after the road passes through a rock cutting, go through the gate on the right by the 'Public Footpath' signpost, across the field to the gate and continue up the road, ignoring both the signpost to the track on the left and then the road to Berry Down.
13, SS560 465, 2.8 miles: Carry on past the little school and shops, to the junction. You can visit Miss Muffets tea shop over to your left, and if you do not have a dog you can go through the churchyard, keeping round by the tower and up to the gate at the top of the churchyard. Otherwise follow the road round the right of the churchyard, Barton Lane.
14, SS560 467, 2.9 miles: From the top churchyard gate continue along the road ahead of you. After nearly half a mile ignore the road off to the right by Home Barton and continue down to the main road.
15, SS566 471, 3.4 miles: On reaching the main road, cross over via the island and continue ahead until reaching the old main road. Cross over and take the track on the left of the Sandycove Hotel entrance, signposted 'Coast Path'.
16, SS566 473, 3.5 miles: Continue down this track to pass the National Trust signpost 'Golden Cove', carrying on to reach the path through the bridle gate/steps coming up on the right.
17, SS561 478, 4.0 miles: Now keep to the fence on your right to follow the edge of the field around by the coast, letting you overlook the bay down on the right. Keep to the fence on your right until you reach the stile in the corner of the caravan park.
18, SS557 480, 4.3 miles: On reaching the main road, turn right, past the entrance to Watermouth Cove Holiday Park, and down the track between the main road and the old road.
19, SS555 481, 4.5 miles: On returning to the main road, opposite Watermouth Castle, continue along to the 'Coast Path' sign. If the tide is out you can go down to the beach, another good picnic area, and keeping to the left of the cove, walk around the edge until reaching some steps going up into the woods.
Only if the tide is right in, continue up the road, but be very careful as the road is narrow and bends the wrong way for the motorists to see you, until you reach the gap in the wall on your right, which takes you onto the path in the woods.
20, SS553 481, 4.6 miles: Now continue along this path through the woods, with the cove down on your right. Follow the path round to the right on reaching the fence, over the stile and round to the right, around the hill.
21, SS548 485, 5.1 miles: Continue up the steps, down the steps, and up more steps, and have a rest!
22, SS547 483, 5.3 miles: Cross over the next stile, following the yellow waymarker. After half a mile or so, follow the path round to the left and up to the Coastguard's houses.
23, SS542 482, 5.8 miles: On reaching the little car park turn right, down the track on the sea-side of the wall. On reaching the road turn right along the gravel path, and then along by the crash barrier.
24, SS537 479, 6.2 miles: Pass Haggington Point picnic area, unless you want a rest, and continue down to Hele Bay Hotel, turn hard right down to the beach and take the steps up by the toilets.
25, SS534 479, 6.8 miles: Nearly at the top of the hill follow the signpost 'Public Footpath, Ilfracombe' to the left, unless you want to lengthen the walk and have a hard climb to the top of Hillsborough, in which case continue ahead to the top and come down the other side, until you see the swimming baths in the park. Assuming you followed the Ilfracombe sign, continue up more steps and continue straight on ignoring the next 3 paths that come in on the right.
26, SS532 475, 7.1 miles: Pass the aerial mast, following the path round to the right. Look out for the swimming pool on your left through a gap and cross the grass to return to the car park.