Southwest coast path section 4: Combe Martin to Woolacombe
Official distance: 12.2 miles.
Jen distance 13.1 miles.
Total Height climbed: 3317 ft.
SWCPA grading: Moderate

If necessary this section can be done in two halves, divided at Ilfracombe, A good bus service between Ilfracombe and Woolacombe makes this quite feasible.

 Leaving Combe Martin various bits of land falling into the sea has resulted in the coast path being rerouted. Some of this new routing is not pleasant, along a busy road before emerging into a small housing estate and back to the road again.

However even when it goes off road the intrepid walker is not safe. It now passes through a caravan park! Be careful of the out of control aquaroll, the lying in wait awning guy rope and the bloke emptying his porta potti.

Finally its coast path as in path and it's delightful as it drops down into Watermouth cove.

Watermouth Cove and Widmouth head beyond

The climb out of Watermouth cove and around Widmouth head is quite strenuous but on one of the many "breath breaks" look behind for a delightful view back over Watermouth cove and Great Hangman. 

Looking back, Watermouth Cove, mid distance little and great Hangman, far distance Holdstone down

Passing round Widmouth head it's back to a short stretch of Tarmac before dropping into the small bayside village of Hele. In front another wooded lump and this is Hillsborough.

The wooded hill of Hillsborough point and Ilfracombe behind.

The climb up Hillsborough is the last before dropping into Ilfracombe, quite a pleasant thought as the third flight of steps comes into view,  then out of the trees a lovely view of Ilfracombe appears.


From here on in a delightful, easy path drops in to Ilfracombe. 


The walk through Ilfracombe can be a bit confusing but keep the sea to the right and aim for the two miniature power station cooling chimneys in front.  It's not a power station, it's the Landmark theatre, but get to it, keep the visitor centre to the left, up the steep slope and then look for the torrs walk. Whatever you do don't miss it. The alternative is a horrible walk to Lee by road.

The walk into Lee is quite an easy 3 miles.  Escaping it is not.

A stiff climb out, first on tarmac, then thankfully up a slippery-in-the-wet path brings the intrepid walker to a high point affording excellent views of the steep climb out.

Looking back to Lee bay. At least it proves that I do walk in the rain.

Flushed with success the intrepid walker can then carry on rather breathlessly knowing that the only other high point to surmount now is Bull Point.

Then the coast path truth hits home.

What goes up - must go down - then go up again!

What goes up .... goes down ... goes up. the climb up to Bull point.

Bull point lighthouse. Morte point beyond.

A stiff climb to Bull point, but then it's there. The lighthouse, an easy walk to Morte point in front, then a gentle drop into Woolacombe.

Woolacombe is one of the most perfect bay's in the UK. Golden sand, clean waters, dramatic backdrop of hills and high moorland.  It's just getting there that's the problem. It is remote.

I love the place, but sadly every time I go I see the creep of more and more holiday parks up the steep moorland road that drops into the bay.

Woolacombe Bay, the headland of baggy point in the distance separating it from neighbouring Croyde bay.

Woolacombe - looking back to Morte point


Jen grading:  Moderate, strenuous between Lee and Bull point,  hazardous in traffic and quite tedious in places.

Campsite: Newbury Valley Caravan and camping park, Combe Martin. Highly recommended. Not cheap but superb position and facilities.

Walk to woolacombe, busses back via Ilfracombe.

 Cumulative: 47.7 miles. GREAT!  Less than 600 miles to go.