A hike around Hartland

The dramatic coastline at Hartland

The dramatic coastline at Hartland - Credit: Archant

A spectacular walk with striking cliff formations and breathtaking coastal scenery

The view from Hartland Quay

The view from Hartland Quay - Credit: Archant

1Across the lane from the higher car park a two-way fingerpost directs you (in a rather random fashion) uphill along a narrow path beside the lane. The path rises to give good views to the left along the coast with Lundy out to sea. It joins a broader path coming in from the right, continue ahead uphill to reach Rocket House.

Here go left along the coast path, as signed by the fingerpost. On some posts you will notice the coast path’s acorn waymarker symbol.

Walk along the clifftop, sea to your left and a ruined tower ahead: enjoy the view towards Stoke Church through its arch. 600m from Rocket House the path drops to a two-way fingerpost with a badge denoting Dyer’s Lookout.

Follow the coast path beyond here, descending to cross a stream and eventually reaching Blackpool Mill, which was used as a location in the BBC’s costume drama Sense and Sensibility in 2007 and also in the 2006 mini-series of Rosamunde Pilcher’s The Shell Seekers.

2 Beyond here ascend steps up the cliff, to be rewarded at the top by a beautiful view of waterfalls cascading to the beach in the cove below. Your way now follows the coast path for another 3km (almost two miles) until you reach the cliffs above the lighthouse at Hartland Point.

On the way you will, from time to time, pass footpaths heading inland which should be ignored, although occasionally you will find the coast path itself is out of sight of the sea as it wends its way behind high cliffs. It takes you past stretches of coast known as Smoothlands, Upright Cliff and Blagdon and just before Hartland Point you reach a memorial stone to the people on the hospital ship Glenart Castle which was torpedoed in 1918.

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There’s a good view down to the lighthouse from this vantage point. Continue past a mast and its adjacent building, still following the coast path towards the noticeable Civil Aviation Authority radar beacon with its blobby top.

3 The path becomes surfaced and leads into an area of car park. Walk through this and at its far end turn right on a surfaced drive, heading inland and leaving the coast path. Soon you pass the Heliport which serves Lundy, where you may see alpacas grazing, and just beyond this look out for the three-way fingerpost.

From here keep straight on along the bridleway for Blegberry, which passes farm buildings and descends to pass a house followed by more barns. Follow the blue bridleway arrows along the track, which enters a field – keep ahead beside the right hand hedge.

4 At the end of the field continue on the track for 100m to a three-way fingerpost. Here go left, still on the path to Blegberry. The path quickly crosses a stream and passes through a gate, then bearing right and crossing a footbridge.

Continue on, ignoring the yellow-arrowed footpath going right soon after the bridge. The track continues for a further 560m before emerging through a gate onto a broader track. Here turn right for a few metres to reach the lane.

5 Go right along the lane and soon you arrive at the buildings of Blegberry Farm where you will find a two-way fingerpost. Go left here on the unmetalled road, which is in fact tarmac until it has passed a couple of houses.

Beyond these the track continues downhill. Follow it for 700m until you reach a lane at its bend. Go right here, to join another track signed as a public footpath.

6 You’re now heading back towards the coast. Eventually the track enters a field. Continue beside the right hand hedge for 240m descending with the track, and as it bends distinctly right look for the post with two yellow arrows. Follow the direction of the one pointing left off the track, now walking down a field for just over 100m until you find another post with an arrow pointing sharply left downhill.

Follow this path as it descends between gorse bushes, the coast to your right. You reach a yellow-arrowed gate. Continue beyond it until you drop to meet a two-way fingerpost on a broad track, this is 200m from the sharp left turn above.

7 Turn right here, heading down to Blackpool Mill again. Here you see a three-way fingerpost. Go left towards Hartland Quay, retracing your steps from earlier. After a short distance through the field look out for the yellow arrow which will point you back across the stream.

Beyond the stream you reach another three-way fingerpost. Go right along the coast path back towards Hartland Quay, passing the ruined tower before reaching Rocket House. This is a beautiful stretch of the walk and different in reverse! At Rocket House join the lane and turn right along it – the easy option back to the car park.

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