9 of the prettiest coastal walks in Devon
- Credit: Archant
The Devon coastline offers many perfect locations for a seaside walk from sandy beaches and lighthouse-topped cliffs to views of the Jurassic Coast. We pick 9 of the prettiest routes to take
Often remembered for its amusement arcades and lurid fairground lights, the British seaside gets a bad rep. But with a coastline of sublime cliffs, picturesque beaches and island-dotted vistas, the rich Devon shores offer an escape from humdrum life - packed with history and opportunity for adventure.
There is no better way to experience the natural world than by foot – so with this in mind, we chose 10 top walks for exploring Devon’s coastal paths, villages and wildlife.
Starting from Sharkham Point car park, this walk boasts picturesque coastal scenery, cliffs and Higher Brixham’s charming old buildings. The two tough climbs will be worth all the exertion!
Look out for: St Mary’s church – This 14th/15th-century church is built of red sandstone with Beerstone arcades. However, much of the masonry is under rendering to protect it from salt winds.
Head to Lime Kiln car park, Budleigh Salterton, for this walk. Easy and level, with superb birdwatching opportunities, this walk affords great views of the Jurassic Coast and the Otter estuary.
Look out for: Waders and wildfowl at low tide in the Otter estuary.
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There are steep gradients on this beautiful coastal circuit that starts from Darthaven Marina car park. But the views experienced on this challenging walk from Kingswear via Coleton Fishacre will be your reward.
Look out for: Brownstone Battery – an artillery battery built along England’s south coast during the Second World War. With various buildings including an observation post, generator shed, soldiers quarters, an officers mess, searchlights, and magazines, many survive.
Make your way to Beer’s Cliff Top car park for this exhilarating but demanding coastal walk – experience fascinating geology and superb views along the Dorset coast.
Look out for: A variety of birds and insects, including birds of prey wheeling above as you walk the Undercliff path.
A climb up Salcombe Hill Cliff in East Devon is richly rewarded with stunning views of the Jurassic Coast and its fascinating geology. If you’re feeling energetic, take a detour down to Salcombe Mouth beach.
Look out for: High Peak, an impressive 157m (518ft) red sandstone cliff and Salcombe Regis church – with Norman carvings and a modern engraved glass triptych by Whistler.
Explore from Brixham Harbour to the national nature reserve at Berry Head on the South Devon coast. With views over Torbay and southwards towards Start Bay, this walk includes Berry Heads, two stone-built forts and lighthouse, as well as Brixham’s Breakwater and Marina.
Look out for: The Berry Head lighthouse - only 5m tall yet the highest lighthouse in Britain; it stands 60m above sea level and casts a beam visible 30km away.
Starting from Anstey’s Cove car park, this walk follows the Bishop’s Walk towards the small curving bay of Hope’s Nose.
Look out for: The two limestone islets of Orestone (to the left) and Thatcher Rock, home to colonies of guillemot and kittiwake.
Short and gentle, this walk has plenty of interest and some great views across the Taw/Torridge estuary to Appledore and Braunton Burrows – set out from the Marine Parade Car park.
Look out for: The stump of an old windmill – built of stone and possibly dating to the 17th century.
Starting from Marine Drive in Woolacombe, this eight-mile South West Coast Path walk takes you past three miles of tempting golden sand and coastal views.
Look out for: Braunton Burrows – set behind Saunton Sands is the largest sand dune system in England, home to around 500 species of flowering plant, rare birds and butterflies.
This article was updated by Martha Griffiths in June 2021.