The most scenic coastal walks in Devon holiday cottages

The most scenic coastal walks in Devon

Ed Roberts 14 February 2020

A walking holiday in Devon is a must for everybody. Simply because much of the coastline in North Devon and South Devon remains unspoiled with few developments or large towns on the waterfront. Follow the South West Coast Path at the edge of the land and discover with us some unrivalled scenic stretches of coastline that can only be reached on foot and other parts that are easily accessible to those in need of a less challenging outing.

Coastal Walks

Stay in a Devon cottage; we have self-catering accommodation on both coasts. Perfect for wayfarers, our holiday cottages in North Devon and South Devon offer comfortable living spaces to recharge after a long day of touring. Discover restful bedrooms, room for storing your outdoor clothing and in many cases a luxury hot tub and a wood burner. Bring your dog along, as we also have a high number of coastal properties in Devon that warmly welcome pets too.

North Devon’s most scenic walks

Mortehoe to Bull Point Lighthouse

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Distance: 3-4 miles


Mortehoe is a small coastal village close to a large rocky peninsula that juts out into the Bristol Channel and Bideford Bay, 1.5 miles from Woolacombe. As the path winds its way along the coast you will be able to enjoy views of Lundy, which is an island 10 miles out to sea. Secret beaches, coves and old groundworks for WW2 fortifications are beautiful points of interest along the way. Rockham Beach is featured in Henry Williamson’s adorable novel Tarka the Otter where it mentions the wreck of an old steamer and other ships, long buried by the sands over the decades. The lighthouse sits to the east, and after some steady climbs and descents, you can turn back inland to Mortehoe for a well-deserved pint in the pub.

Stay in: Oceans Away | Sleeps: 6 guests 

Croyde Bay and Baggy Point

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Distance: 3 miles


Croyde is one of the world’s most famous surfing beaches, and with lots of beautiful spots to stop and watch the waves roll in and the board riders perfect their majesty, we thoroughly recommend this section of the South West Coast Path. There are several routes over Baggy Point but we recommend the long way around the edge. There are wonderful views all across Bideford Bay to the lighthouse at Hartland Point. The path on the northside of Baggy Point offers even more grand views of the long wide stretch of Putsborough Beach that merges with Woolacombe Beach to the north. There’s a pleasant café at Putsborough where you could enjoy a light lunch after some time playing on the beach. Head back over the hill for pure Devonshire countryside and the centre of Croyde village with even more pubs and places to eat and drink with a really relaxed vibe.

Stay in: Lane Head | Sleeps: 6 guests 

Westward Ho! and Kipling Tors

Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: 4-mile circuit to Greenscliff and back via the South West Coast Path

Kipling Tors

It is a little-known fact that the famous author Rudyard Kipling went to boarding school in Westward Ho! The school has gone, having been turned into apartments, yet the hillsides that roll down to the sea just west of the village bear his name. It’s said that he used to spend his time walking the hills by himself. If you follow the South West Coast Path out of the village past the Pier House, you will see a path that rises up the side of the hill taking you up and over Kipling Tors. It’s quite a climb but the views are terrific. Eventually, the trail leads back down the hill to meet the South West Coast Path where new views of the lesser-populated end of Bideford Bay awaits. The only settlements before reaching the Cornish border are the tiny Buck’s Mills, Clovelly and Hartland Quay. Kipling Tors positions you at the eastern end of one of the longest unspoiled stretches of woodland cliffs in England.

Stay at: Nautilus Driftwood | Sleeps: 4 guests 

The Hobby Drive – Clovelly

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 4 miles (each way)


This woodland carriage driveway is especially scenic as it winds its way along the North Devon coast above the painterly village of Clovelly. No longer open to traffic, this private road is wide and level offering wayfarers excellent views through the trees of the coast. As you get down to Clovelly you will see the rooftops far below as they cascade down to the beautiful harbour. There are benches along the trail and lots of photo opportunities. If you have an active dog, this is a great prospect for a long yet unchallenging walk. The gradients are so gentle you won’t know how you got so high above Bideford Bay! This is a lesser-known spectacle enjoyed by locals and residents of Clovelly, but it’s open to everybody and is worth seeking out.

Stay at: Highford Barn | Sleeps: 4 guests plus 1 dog 

Brownsham Woods

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Distance: 2.5 miles (each way)


Brownsham Woods is a National Trust-managed area next to the Clovelly estate where you can walk for miles along the North Devon coast unhindered by traffic or housing. This part of North Devon has remained virtually unchanged for years. Walk down to the sea through unspoiled woodland to Millsmouth where you’ll find the small remnants of a lime kiln and fisherman’s cottage at the wild and rocky beach. Take provisions and dress well as there are no facilities for miles and miles. Head to Hartland for a late lunch to refuel.

Stay at: Mettaford Farm - Cherry Cottage | Sleeps: 4 guests plus 2 dogs


Coastal walks in South Devon

River Exe Estuary

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 4 miles


The dramatic sight of the railway tracks running through the tunnels in the red sandstone cliffs along the scenic Dawlish coastline defines this beautiful area of South Devon. However, as most people encounter this stretch through a train window, the best experiences are reserved for those can take the sea views in at a more measured pace. The sandstone rock stacks in the sea and up and down the few miles of coast make this an eye-catching English setting. Further back east, by the River Exe Estuary, you become embedded in fantastic wild swathes where the lowlands meet the ramparts of the land now far inland. This is the domain of sea birds and sad boat wrecks out on the long mudflats and in the reeds. It’s a very atmospheric walk and a big hit with birdwatchers who can extend the walk to the reserves upstream.

Stay in: Warren Roost | Sleeps: 2 guests plus 1 dog 

Plymouth Sound

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 2.5 miles

Plymouth Hoe

This meandering trail beside the swell of Plymouth Sound is a wonderful pick for those planning a trip to the maritime city of Plymouth. Begin your walk from the National Aquarium and your steps will wend their way past the historic and culturally important Mayflower Steps, the architectural wonderments of Tinside Lido, Plymouth Hoe Lighthouse (aka Smeaton’s Tower), The Hoe, and the faded promenades below the boardwalk where you can watch the sea; a ringside seat to nature’s show. Stop for lunch at one of the eateries in the curious quarter of Plymouth called the Barbican, where many good pubs and restaurants have opened. The city is great for shopping too, so return home via Drake’s Circus and the city centre to pick up some fancy goods.

Stay in: Sea Captain’s Lodge | Sleeps: 5 guests

Slapton Sands to Torcross

Difficulty: Easy

Distance: 4 miles


The striking strip of land separating a freshwater lake from the saline sea makes this scenic coastal walk in South Devon one to treasure. Beginning at Torcross, fortify yourself with a coffee at one of the cafes along the shore, then head north along the beach to Slapton. With its enduring historical links to WW2, it was here that the allied forces staged drills for the D-Day landings.

The lake is called The Ley and is a nature reserve which is home to many interesting wild birds and animals. It’s a special place of note for its rare plants and unusual location. It’s a delightfully beautiful spot for an amble at any time of year. Part of this walk forms a section of the national trail, the South West Coast Path.

Stay at: No 8 Belle Vue | Sleeps: 5 guests

More coastal cottages in South Devon


Be sure to also check out our great range of self-catering cottages we have in coastal North Devon and South Devon. From large homes big enough for all your family and friends to cosy cottages perfect for a romantic trip away, we have the perfect accommodation at the coast for you.

Photo credits:
Main @ clairewhite348
Main2 @ toweronthehill
Bullpoint @  opiethecanuck
Baggy Point @ susiehillaimes
Kipling Tors @ kiplingcourtjester
Clovelly @ clovellyvillage
Brownsham @ northdevondogwalker
Plymouth @ needacabplymouth
River Exe @ homerbritta
Slapton @ spacebeck

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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