Coastal cliffs near Branscombe
Heritage and views on Devon coastal walk
By Laura Joint
A bracing walk along the East Devon coast between Branscombe and Beer provides stunning views and areas of geological interest. But be warned - a head for heights will come in handy.
The South West Coast Path in East Devon takes you along a dramatic stretch of the World Heritage coastline.
Its nickname is the Jurassic Coast, as the remnants of its prehistoric era can still be found today.
As you walk eastwards from the village of Branscombe, the limestone cliffs turn into sandstone, and there is evidence in many places of the landslides which have affected this area.
Branscombe nestling in the valley
If you set off from Branscombe, you can park in a little car park where you pay by putting 20p into a wishing well. You then turn left, walking past a National Trust building on your right, and down to Branscombe Beach.
From here, you head eastwards, up a hill to join the coast path. If you look back from here, you'll get a lovely view of the village nestling in the valley below; the beach; and the East Devon cliffs southwards.
Joining the coast path, you head down, towards the beach, before climbing upwards again.
The first thing which must be said about this walk is that you need to be reasonably fit. There are several inclines, and the path can be tricky - especially after wet weather.
This way to Branscombe - a coast path sign
You'll need a head for heights in parts, too (as I found out!) - but stick with it and you'll be well rewarded.
The coast path is slow going in parts, so give yourself plenty of time. It takes in the dramatic Hooken Undercliff, which was formed by a landslip hundreds of years ago.
The Branscombe to Beer section of the coast path is two miles long, so is four miles there and back.
Alternatively, there is an option at the half-way mark to turn back, by walking back along the cliff-top. The return walk from here is all along fields, so is easier than the coast path.
If you choose to turn back here, the round-trip is two miles, and takes around two hours.
But if you want to make a day of it, then carry on the walk for another mile to Beer.
At the end of it all, you can pop into the Sea Shanty at Branscombe Beach for a well earned cup of tea.
last updated: 29/02/2008 at 16:11