7 scenic coastal walks to try in Somerset (with cafes on the way)
- Credit: Archant
Somerset is home to some of the country’s most breathtaking coastlines, and the landscape is a simply stunning place to enjoy a ramble. We pick seven stretches of coastline ideal for a walk and the charming cafes to stop off at along the way.
Encompassing beautiful coastline, the pretty medieval village of Dunster, Dunster Castle and the West Somerset Railway, you can be assured of photograph-worthy scenes on this three and a half mile circular walk.
From the car park near Dunster's shingle beach, you'll follow footpaths leading you to the village. There's plenty of history to discover while walking through Dunster, and if you get the chance it's worth taking a couple of hours or so to wander through the impressive architecture and gardens of Dunster Castle, the luxury home of the Luttrell family. Pass the signs leading to an underpass which then leads you back to where you started.
The café: No need to fear, you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to somewhere to eat in Dunster, including The Olde House Dunster. Housed on the ground floor of the 16th century B&B, the tea room offers an array of delicious homemade lunches and sweet treats. Vegetarians and vegans are well-catered for too.
Outstanding views are guaranteed on this three mile walk at Sand Point, near Weston-Super-Mare. Panoramic vistas across the Bristol Channel, and even to Wales, can be enjoyed, and the fresh sea air is intoxicating on your ramble along the stunning landscape.
Walking over grassland and a salt marsh, you'll head out towards the renowned Grand Pier and then to a delightful secluded cove which is a lovely spot to take a breath and soak in the sights. You'll find Sand Bay at the end of the walk, passing two Bronze Age burial grounds on your route.
The café: It's got to be a stop at Sand Bay Tea Rooms. This friendly café serves up a varied menu of delicious dishes that you've worked up an appetite for. Think homemade soups, freshly prepared sandwiches and indulgent cakes. Dogs are also welcome on the front patio seating.
"My thoughts on former pleasures ran; I thought of Kilve's delightful shore," poet William Wordsworth once wrote. Standing upon the slate and shingle of the beach, shadowed by towering limestone cliffs, you'll feel a million miles away from the stresses of everyday life.
Starting at the pay and display car park at Kilve, this roughly two mile walk takes you along the Somerset's Jurassic Coast (Kilve itself is a Site of Special Scientific Interest) around the beautiful countryside of the Quantock Hills. Take a moment to soak in the stunning panoramas with views stretching out towards Wales.
The café: After exploring the beach at Kilve, pay a visit to The Chantry Tea Gardens where you can rest your legs in an idyllic setting with the Scheduled Ancient Monument Kilve Chantry as a backdrop. A slice of quiche and salad, a generously filled sandwich or a tasty cream tea are some of the choices on the menu at this charming hidden gem.
This is a challenging eight and a half mile walk ideal for a full day's exploration of the charming village, and surrounding scenery, of Porlock. Think woodland, saltmarsh, hills and picturesque villages, all with scenery, wildlife and culture.
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It starts and finishes at Porlock Fire Station and takes in Hurlstone Point which you may want to explore. The remote and rocky realms tucked away behind the old coastguard are a wonder to see, and a great place to rest, before the long trek up to Bossington Hill.
The café: There are plenty of places to eat and drink in Porlock, catering to the truly famished to those who just fancy a little something to satisfy their sweet tooth. The welcoming Whortleberry Tearoom on the High Street serves a delicious cream tea complete with clotted cream and local whortleberry jam - a must try when visiting the south of Somerset.
A gorgeous stretch of golden sand, Brean beach is an ideal spot for sandcastle building, playing traditional beach games and feeling the waves beneath your toes.
Make the steep, one and half mile trip up to the top of the Down, where you will be rewarded with mesmerising views from the Somerset Levels on one side right across to some of the county's most iconic locations such as Glastonbury Tor and the Mendip Hills. You may even spot a group of goats on your walk up!
The café: Sitting at the bottom of the Down, you'll find the Brean Down Cove Café run by the National Trust. A perfect spot for a slice of cake and cup of coffee with a gorgeous sea view, and there's a picnic area for those already equipped with a hamper laden with goodies.
This pretty five and a half mile walk starts and finishes at County Gate, a landscape where west Somerset and Devon meet. Not only does the location boast breathtaking views across East Lyn valley and Doone Country, vistas of stunning coastal scenery can be admired too.
It's especially beautiful in spring and early summer, when the gorse bursts into a cheery yellow on the hillside above Wingate Combe as you walk towards it, and the banks of rhododendron to your right are a delicate lilac. Enjoy a quiet moment of reflection on Glenthorne beach, a pebbled cove which mostly offers its visitors complete seclusion.
The café: With many picnic spots en route, pack a homemade lunch and immerse yourself in the stunning scenery the landscape has to offer.
This is a short walk of just over a mile that starts and finishes near the Quay West car park in Minehead. A gentle climb through historic woodland rich in wildlife, the path then leads to open heathland with magnificent views across the Bristol Channel and inland over Exmoor.
Budding geologists should take a detour to Culver Cliff beach to admire the medieval fish weirs which are now recognised as Scheduled Ancient Monuments.
The café: Just a short walk from the Quay West car park, the Echo Beach Café is perfect for quelling those hunger pangs after a walk through the woodland. A firm favourite among locals and visitors alike, sit back and admire the views of Minehead's pretty harbour while you enjoy a spot of lunch or a Yarde Farm ice cream in a cone during the warmer months.
This article was updated by Martha Griffiths in June 2021.