PUBLISHED: 08:51 01 October 2013
One of the joys of walking the South West Coast Path is stumbling upon a secluded beach on a remote stretch of coast and discovering that you’ve got it all to yourself.
Where else can you walk along 630 miles of superb coastline?
The South West has a wealth of beautiful sandy bays and secret coves that can only be reached on foot.
Here’s our selection of the best Somerset walks along the Coast Path that lead down to them.
1. Best for fishing:
Greenaleigh Farm walk taking in Greenaleigh Sand.
Quay West Car Park, Minehead - TA24 5UN.
FINISH: Quay West car park, Minehead.
LENGTH: 3.4 miles (5.5 km).
SUMMARY: A gentle climb through historic woodland rich in wildlife up to open heathland, with magnificent views across the Bristol Channel and over to Exmoor, and an optional detour to a splendid example of Hangman Sandstone.
2. Best for adventure seekers
Hurlstone Point adventurous walk taking in Bossington Beach.
Bossington car park - TA24 8HF.
FINISH: Bossington car park.
LENGTH: 3.2 miles (5.1 km).
SUMMARY: A breathtaking route for the walker who is stout of heart and limb, exploring the remote and rocky realms tucked away behind the old coastguard lookout on Hurlstone Point.
TERRAIN: Footpaths, one challenging, some steep ascent, some descent. Do not attempt in bad weather, especially if it’s windy.
3. Best for a picnic on the beach
Glenthorne walk to Glenthorne beach (border of Somerset and Devon).
County Gate - EX35 6NQ.
FINISH: County Gate.
LENGTH: 5.6 miles (9km).
SUMMARY: Romans, railways, rhododendrons, romantic poets, women’s Suffrage, Sherlock Holmes, boar’s heads and Latin inscriptions... All this, and stunning coastal scenery too, with the chance of spotting peregrines and kestrels hovering above the cliffs.
TERRAIN: Footpaths, tracks, plenty of ascent and descent, some of it steep.
4. Woody Bay beach
Lee Abbey Car Park (above Lee Bay) - EX35 6JN.
FINISH: Lee Abbey Car Park (above Lee Bay).
LENGTH: 2.2 miles (3.5 km).
SUMMARY: A short walk around Crock Point, with views across the tiny cove below to Duty Point Tower, above Lee Abbey, returning through peaceful woodland past gently flowing streams with splashing waterfalls.
A lovely area in spring, when the woods are carpeted with bluebells and stitchwort and full of birdsong.
This part of the coastline is a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of its trees and lichens and its bird population.
TERRAIN: Footpaths, tracks, quiet lanes.