One day walking the stunning South West Coast Path between Porlock Weir to Lynmouth, part of the 1,014km long marked footpath, the longest in England. Designated as a national trail in 1978 it has steadily gained in popularity, and is regularly voted the best walking route in the country. After this taster I’d be keen to return for more. It takes about eight weeks to walk around the coast of Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and Dorset, from Minehead to Poole.
Porlock Weir was an attractive place to start.
The path soon headed up the hill behind the village and into the woods where I’d spend much of the day, somewhat unexpectedly. The path does offer great views though of the coast as it was originally for the coastguard to walk from lighthouse to lighthouse looking out for smugglers, so has a good view of all the beaches and coves. The path is marked with an acorn symbol on the plentiful signage.
This impressive structure is a gatehouse for the private Worthy Combe Toll Road which is an experience to drive apparently, but closed to walkers.
The path went through a number of tunnels and bridges to seemingly nowhere.
This was typical of the path, with the occasional sea view.
This car had clearly been here a little while, close to this unusual house.
The Culbone Church of St Beuno is the smallest parish church in England, probably dating back over a thousand years. It is still in active use despite only holding up to 30 people, and being a 2.4km walk from the closest road. It’s a wonderful place.
From there it was back into the lovely woods, with my first proper view of the coastline ahead.
Back into the bracken filled woods, home to this cross / water feature, more formally known as Sisters Fountain, a 19th century stone structure above a holy spring.
These hog head gates were pretty cool, as was this house seemingly in the middle of nowhere.
The path opened to views of Foreland Point ahead.
More woods and sea views.
These chairs and chilly bins by Glenthorpe Cliffs were totally unexpected, and a great idea. Inside were drinks and food to be paid on a give what you can honesty system, with the money going to support protecting the local wildlife.
The landscape opened up and I walked past Foreland Bothy, basically a bookable hut owned by the National Trust.
The road continued out to Foreland Point Lighthouse, also owned by the National Trust and available for people to hire. The views from land only show a small part of it. It is worth Googling to see what it looks like from the sea, quite an incredible place to stay.
There were two options from here, either retrace my steps to the bothy and head inland across Foreland Point, or go up and around the headland, taking into account this sign.
It was dry and though windy, not excessively so, so I decided to take the coastal path. It required care and attention but was fine to walk, and offered some pretty stunning views.
In the distance I could see the town of Lynton above Lynmouth, my destination for the day.
The inland and coastal paths joined up but it was still pretty narrow with steep drop offs on the main path.
This took me to Countisbury, a small place home to an attractive church and large pub which soon filled with a large group of young Americans who seemingly appeared from nowhere.
I have to admit that I cheated here and caught a lift down to Lynmouth. This was a very pleasant place, worth revisiting properly when I get round to walking the whole of the South West Coast Path.