Jurassic, Heritage, Golden Cap, Exmouth Walks
Favourite Walk : Golden Cap
Our favourite walk of the year was to Golden Cap, just over the border between Lyme Regis and Charmouth. We had picked a glorious day at the end of August albeit very windy. We drove to Stonebarrow lane where even those who are unable to take advantage of the walk can enjoy the beautiful views and coastline from this point.
Golden Cap is the highest point along the entire English south coast climbing to 191 metres from sea level. The walk is steep in places, but there are easier options that still reward you with stupendous views. On top of the Golden Cap plateau a few yards past the bronze age burial mounds to the east can be seen Seatown a long way below in its gully, and further along glimpses of West Bay and even further Chesil Beach and Portland. To the west one can make out the Quay at Lyme, famous for the film 'A French Lieutenant's Woman' and then the landslides that mark the dinosaur fossils of the Jurassic coast. Then if this is not enough the views are glorious inland over the Dorset countryside with knobbly hills and undulating vales.
Heritage Coast Walk 1 March: Sidmouth to Budleigh or Mutters Moor
Wow the sun shone, it was nippy but ideal for walking. We cheated and drove to the top of Peak Hill, but we could have easily walked, it is not far but steep. The coastal path takes you close to the cliff edge and then through a wooded area to Ladram. As you descend into Ladram Bay the geological scenery is stunning as the red cliffs and stacks unfold before you, it is nothing short of staggering and justifiably part of the world heritage area.
One has to pretend the holiday park is not really there, but at this time of year it is peacefully empty, and you have to think, how many people can experience the amazing landscape and enjoy holidaying right in the centre of it. On a day like today it was as good as any Caribean island. I took pictures looking back towards Sidmouth, and the views had the extra twist of snow on the tops of cliffs in the distance towards Seaton & Lyme. I could also see the spot where they had returned to work on the last remains of the Napoli.
We now had a choice of taking the 1/2 mile path to Otterton and the pub, or continuing on to Budleigh 3 3/4 miles. The choices are numerous all along our coastline. The trouble with stopping for lunch is getting started again, but its always easier on a round robin route and not having to go back the way you came. We walked to the end of the village and followed the footpath across farm fields and back onto the moorland on top of Peak Hill again. Here one can choose the speedy descent down the hill or through the woods of Mutters Moor past the golf course and down past the most expensive houses in Bickwell Valley which joins into Glen road.
The sun shone again for our Second Heritage Coast Walk, Beer to Branscombe in March We met with our walking partners in the car park at Beer Head, where we paid for the whole day, because we didn't want to rush or worry about getting back to a time table on such a beautiful day. The coastal path signs can be seen if you look down the hill in front of you, and the path takes you to the left of the caravan and camping park. The path soon hugs the cliff edge, take care if you have dogs with you. We decided to take the route via the spectacular chasm of Under Hooken that was created in 1790 when part of the cliff broke away and slipped down. The views are again stunning, but of course the white chalk colours are quite different to the deep red clay of our previous walk. There was a cave in view high up with a rope dangling down, very tempting to the children, but us Mums were too nervous, we had to put up with being called boring! The path was interesting as it undulated and twisted and curved amongst vegetation, eventually following the edge of the beach. As we came to Branscombe Mouth we passed a collection of idyllic summer homes, which were far too beautifully landscaped to call mobile homes perched almost on the beach. We stopped on the beach for our picnic, unfortunately the cafe was not yet open. We could have walked up the road, half a mile to the pub, but we stayed a long time at the beach enjoying the beautiful weather.
We decided to take the quickest route, but it is very steep, almost straight up in front of you! To our left was the Branscombe Brewery, where we purchase our local ale sold at the Royal Glen bar. Having got to the top, you then walk right on top of the cliff, past a lonesome property that must have been some kind of watch tower at some time. We arrived back at the car feeling relaxed and at peace with the world having enjoyed such a beautiful day.
Exmouth Circular Walk January It was a fantastic day for walking. It was cold but the sun was brightly shining. We drove to Exmouth, only 20 minutes from Sidmouth, and parked by the rugby club at Exmouth. Now i have to find out where the long stay car park is because here you only seem to be able to park for 3 hours, this is not long enough if stopping off for lunch on the way round! Luckily we did not get a parking ticket, the walk took us 1 hour to reach the Swan at Lympstone, I'm not sure how long we stopped over lunch, and then we did get a bit lost even though we were following exact instructions from a Devon County publication, perhaps we were chatting too much! we did have alot to catch up on. But we did not get back to the car until 4,30pm. The walk took us along the estuary which was beautifull as the tide was out and we could see plenty of birds and wild life, you definitely need a pair of binoculars. Much of the path is also a cycle path, we'll be trying that out with my daughter next and cycle up towards Exeter. After you turn away from the estuary, you are taken into Lympstone, a charming village, with some tiny streets, its own slipway and boats, 2 pubs to choose from, and there is even a train station. Along the way there are some affluent properties to drool over as well as the pretty devon cottages.
The next part of the walk takes you inland, as a pleasant jaunt through bridleways and country paths to A La Ronde, a National Trust property, which is well worth a visit, but only open in the winter at particular times.
The walk now starts to take a more urban view, which is not very pretty in parts but still there are some interesting lanes, nooks and cranneys. We did get lost around the 70's bungalows estate just before Witheycombe Village( some very ancien cottages and churches here), but we managed to get back on track. The walk ends back in Exmouth town centre, where we could have done with a cup of tea now, but we had run out of time!
May Bank Holiday Weekend Tipton St John, the Otter and the Old Railway Line. We decided to take advantage of the lovely weather on Sunday, glad we did as Monday was so disapointing. We actually did this as a cycle ride, but it did mean heaving the bikes over a couple of gates. We parked at the old road opposite the Bowd and crossed the very busy A3052. We cycled on to Tipton St John but if walking we would have taken the path to the right of the Bowd Cottages and walked along the railway line to Tipton, always taking the upper path. At Tipton we crossed over the bridge after the pub The Golden Lion and took the path on the left along the Otter. It was very peaceful, we continued all the way down until we crossed the river again into Harpford, an idyllic village with some beautiful properties. We passed the church on our left and turned left, a slight climb. At the top we came off the road turning right onto the old railway line. This part of the walk was almost continually under the canopy of trees making a natural tunnel of shade through the woods. It was hard to believe that a train would have gone along here, but husband said he could hear the chuff chuff of the old steam engines! I didnt take my camera with me because i thought we would not be long, but it was so lovely, i am definitely going to return to take some pictures. You pass the branch that you went up to Tipton, and continue along the way, returning to the entrance by the Bowd. There are several paths around the area and different options.