by Alice Parry
Soak up the seaside scenery on one of these South West Coast Path walks in North and South Devon.
The South West Coast Path is a spectacular National Trail running the length of England’s South West coastline.
The route is waymarked all the way round with acorn signposts. Whether seeking gentle strolls, scenic rambles or more energetic hikes, there’s something for everyone amongst these Devon coastal walks.
The county of Devon benefits from both a northern and southern section of the path. Discover the pristine shores of Woolacombe Beach on a North Devon coastal walk. Or explore the South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as you journey along a South Devon coastal walk.
Read on to discover our top South West Coast Path walks in Devon…
Use the quick links to navigate to a particular walking route or read on for our full walking guide.
North Devon Coastal Walks
South Devon Coastal Walks
This section of the South West Coast Path mostly looks out and over to the Bristol Channel. Spanning 90 miles in total, this North Devon section runs from Combe Martin to Marsland. Enjoy beautiful beaches like Saunton Sands and some of Devon’s best surfing spots.
Enjoy a moderate walk along North Devon’s coast from Hartland Quay, a few miles from the village of Hartland.
Amble past the streams and a waterfall tumbling into the sea, surrounded by wildflowers in summer. Admire the rock formations exposed at low tide on the beach, before heading inland along woodland paths.
Stop for tea near the “Cathedral of North Devon”, St Nectan’s Church. The church dates back to the 14th century and has the second tallest tower in Devon. A tearoom rests nearby, a perfect reward after this circular coastal walk before you return back to Hartland Quay.
Route map for Hartland Quay Circular on plotaroute.com
Full route and directions.
Discover the classic seaside resort of Westward Ho!. Made famous in Victorian times following Charles Kingsley’s novel of the same name, it’s still a popular spot today.
This challenging South West Coast Path walk begins inland, travelling over Kipling Tor. Take in the dramatic, far-reaching views over the Bristol Channel and out to Lundy Island.
Circle round to join the South West Coast Path to venture along the rocky cliffs. If you’re visiting in spring, spot the seabirds nesting on the cliffs and maybe even a buzzard or two!
Route map for Westward Ho!, Kingsley & Kipling Walk on plotaroute.com
Just north of Woolacombe is the lovely village of Mortehoe where this moderate walk begins.
Head north along the sleepy country roads before finding the South West Coast Path. Take a westward direction towards Bull Point lighthouse.
This area of coastal heathland is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and supports many natural habitats. Keep your eyes peeled for seals on the rocks below at low tide, and even dolphins and porpoises swimming close to shore in summer!
Head past Rockham Beach, with the option to cut the route shorter with a path leading back to North Morte Road. If not, continue on to Morte Point and soak up more stunning coastal views.
Route map for Morte Point on plotaroute.com
The shortest of our South West Coast Path walks but by no means the easiest!
Explore Ilfracombe’s beautiful Hillsborough Nature Reserve on this short but challenging walk. Known locally as ‘The Sleeping Elephant’, this nature reserve offers a haven for wildlife.
Enjoy the views of the South Wales coast and Lundy Island, along with a birds-eye view of Ilfracombe. Begin in the Hele Bay car park before finding your way up the hillside.
Stop to take in the view over Bristol Channel before continuing uphill to reach the Iron Age fort. Turn onto the footpath that curves around the back of the hill, and return to your starting point.
Route map for Ilfracombe’s Hillsborough Nature Reserve on plotaroute.com
For full route and directions.
South Devon’s section of the coast path measures 104 miles in length. The path stretches from Plymouth to Starcross. It’s packed with maritime history, imposing castles, and truly beautiful beaches.
If you want to stick to the countryside walks, why not check out one of these 4 Dartmoor walks.
This moderate route explores the dramatic coastal scenery of Brixham and begins at Berry Head National Nature Reserve.
Follow the coastal path around to Sharkham Point, remembering to take a look back over St Mary’s Bay for the view. Catch sight of Berry Head Lighthouse in the distance before continuing inland.
Take St Mary’s Road and head up through the heart of Brixham to Brixham Harbour. Enjoy a refreshment by Brixham Marina before completing the route as you return to Berry Head.
If you’re seeking a longer ramble, then continue South West Coast Path walk after Sharkham Point. Once you reach Man Sands, take a right onto Mansands Lane before continuing north onto Southdown Road and rejoining the route in Brixham.
Route map for Brixham Headlands Circular Walk on plotaroute.com
This circular walk around Kingswear and the Dart estuary has everything. Expect to find castles, cliffs, historic sites and seals!
Begin this Devon coastal walk from the Kingswear Marina. From here you can enjoy the glorious views over the town of Dartmouth sitting opposite.
Continue this South West Coast Path walk along the river before reaching Kingswear Castle. Admire the castle and its larger dominating counterpart across the way, Dartmouth Castle, keeping watch over the river mouth.
The route then takes you down to Brownstone Battery, one of the few surviving WWII coastal defence positions. Explore this fascinating modern relic before venturing inland to The Daymark.
This towering structure was built in 1864 as a navigational landmark for mariners. It now provides a dramatic photo op on your South Devon coastal walk!
Stop in at the National Trust’s Coleton Fishacre, before circling back to the coastal path at Kingswear Castle and back to the start.
Route map for Kingswear To Froward Point on plotaroute.com
Take in beautiful views of Bigbury Bay during this moderate walk from Bantham. Begin your journey near Bantham Beach, a hotspot for watersports in South Devon.
Admire the views of Bigbury Island before continuing along the Devon’s coast path in a southerly direction.
This South West Coast Path walk passes by several gorgeous beaches. Descend down to Broad Sands from the cliff top and explore this secluded sandy spot.
Walk along Yarmer Beach near Thurlestone Golf Club, backed by sandy dunes with rock pools either side too.
Once you reach Leasfoot Beach, turn left and head back up through Thurlestone through lush green fields.
Route map for Bantham To Thurlestone on plotaroute.com
This walk from Start Point to Mattiscombe Sands is short and sweet. Discover dramatic coastlines, the local resident seal colony and large rock formations to admire.
If you’re seeking a longer hike, you can triple the length of this 2.2 mile walk by beginning the route from Beesands.
For the shorter walk, embark on your journey from Start Point car park and head south along the coast path. As you overlook Freshwater Bay, make your way up to Start Point Lighthouse. Keep your eyes peeled for the Grey Seal colony!
Retrace your steps as you leave the lighthouse, before continuing left. Follow the headland round, with this part of the path running close to the cliff edge – take care!
Walk down the steep path to Mattiscombe Sands and relax on the beach or explore the rock formations. To get back to Start Point, stay to the right of the stream as you head up the valley.
Route map for Start Point & Great Mattiscombe Sands on plotaroute.com
Bring your canine companion along to one of the beautiful North Devon dog-friendly beaches along the way, or find a great spot for a beach day at one of England’s best South West beaches.
Blow the cobwebs away in spooky season and discover a host of October half term events in Devon to enjoy too!
These South West Coast Path walks in Devon are the perfect activities to enjoy on your self-catering stay with Helpful Holidays.
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