Walked from: Woolacombe, Devon
Walked to: Coombe Martin, Devon
Date: 24 February 2016
Distance: 14.5 miles
Weather: Sunny, still, great visibility
My guide book says that, on very clear days, you can see Wales from this section of the South West Coast Path. I spent my entire day glancing over to my left to look at our neighbouring country; the visibility was so good that it was possible to see buildings, let alone the Welsh coastline. Sadly, the weather forecast is telling me that my run of weather-related luck runs out today: tomorrow the Met Office is forecasting rain and the return of the wind – but hell, that’s tomorrow’s problem…
The morning section of today’s walk was a bit of a social whirl after the solitude of the rest of my holiday. As I walked out of Woolacombe, I met Stuart and his dog Nell, who made for excellent company as we headed around the ominously named Morte Point – which apparently was the culprit of five shipwrecks in 1852 alone. It’s exposed position would have made it impossible to walk just a few days ago, but today’s benign weather made it an absolute pleasure.
Bidding a fond farewell to my human and canine companions, heading around the beautiful – and undulating – coastline to the lighthouse at Bull Point, I came across a few more people (some wearing just t-shirts and shorts, which seemed ambitious, even in this weather), and in the tiny village of Lee I was even invited to have a cup of tea by Kevin, who was doing some work on the outside of his spectacularly situated house. Offer was duly accepted!
From Lee, an hour’s worth of verdant and gently undulating countryside brought me to Ilfracombe, and a very filling pie & jacket potato lunch in a cafe near the harbour. The walk out of the town through the woodland and on to nearby Hele was the low point of the walk so far – poorly signed through underwhelming woods, it felt like a pointless diversion away from the main road. Things picked up again by Watermouth Bay, and although my aching feet made the final hour into Coombe Martin drag, it was very exciting to see the coastline of Exmoor National Park emerge in the distance. I’ve never walked in Exmoor before, and tomorrow’s walk starts with an ascent of the highest point on the South West Coast Path. Gulp.
Photos: View from Morte Point towards the lighthouse / lovely inlet between Morte Point and Bull Point / typically steep SW coast path / approach to Ilfracombe / Ilfracombe Harbour / Outer Stone near Watermouth