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walks and beaches

Grunta Beach

View Walk to Grunta Beach from Mortehoe in a larger map This beach is great for rock-pooling, swimming, barbecuing, playing with sand, finding blennies in the rocks. Dogs allowed. Generally deserted.
From The Buttery go downhill towards the sea. After the former chapel turn right through a gate into National Trust fields, keeping the Grunta cliffs to the left. This can be jogged in 2 minutes: see Mortehoe to Grunta Challenge run. The ascent back to Mortehoe is moderately arduous due to height to be gained ... but these difficulties are a small price to pay for enjoying what is a very underused beach. Be aware of the tides. Low tide may be best ... and if very low tide you can walk on the sand to Combesgate, Barricane and Woolacombe beaches. If tide is not very low then use coastal path to get to other beaches, or up the hill from Mortehoe car park and down into Twitchen valley.

Woolacombe beach

No 1 in Sunday Times 'Best UK beaches for families' survey by Chris Haslam, June 2013. 
For surfing, this is a quite exposed beach and reef break that has pretty consistent surf and can work at any time of the year. Ideal winds are from the east. Windswells and groundswells in equal measure and the ideal swell direction is from the west northwest. The beach breaks offer lefts and rights and there is a right hand reef break as well.. Good surf at all stages of the tide. Sometimes crowded.
Beach huts can be rented from Parkin Estates who manage the beach. The huts are situated at the foot of the sand dunes. They are great for relaxing with family and friends and are a useful store for your beach towels and other beach kit.
The following map shows 3 of the possible routes for walking to Woolacombe from Mortehoe.

View Walking from Mortehoe (The Buttery / Cromlech House / The Crescent) to Woolacombe in a larger map

To Rockham Beach from The Buttery, Mortehoe

A walk through the village, past the anchor of the wrecked SS Collier outside the Ship Aground pub, through National Trust land to the large beach at Rockham where the remains of SS Collier's wreckage can still be seen at low tide. See here for more info on Rockham Beach, from Coastwise North Devon. SS Collier's anchor is in front of The Ship Aground pub in Mortehoe near the church. The sign next to the anchor states: 'This anchor is from SS Collier, 114 ton. One of the first steamships to carry mail to Australia, which ran aground in Rockham Bay on 29th January 1914. It was retrieved from the wreck by RAF Chivenor on 17th April 1980 , who have presented it to the village of Mortehoe for safe keeping and as a permanent record of this event.'

View walk to Rockham Beach from Mortehoe in a larger map

Circular walk to Morte Point and Bull Nose lighthouse from The Buttery, Mortehoe.

MortePoint YouTube photos by DevonFlyer

Mortehoe to Lee circular walk

See this map and guide from devon.gov.uk
In Lee there is the excellent Grampus pub for mid-walk refreshment.
"This walk starts at Mortehoe and cuts across country inland to the former smuggling village of Lee Bay, before returning along the Coast Path (here also the Tarka Trail) by way of Bull Point and Morte Point back to Mortehoe. This is not an easy stretch of coast, although the views are rewarding; the path here includes several climbs and you will need plenty of time (and energy) to complete the walk. However, there are a number of cut-out points which allow for short cuts back to the village. Walk Length:10km/6.25 miles; this can be shortened to 9km/5.5 miles by missing Lee Bay and Lee Village and to 7km/4.5 miles by missing Morte Point. Stiles: 8 (3 of which are adjacent to gates usually unlocked); 5 climbs of average 50m/160ft. Facilities: Mortehoe - pubs, refreshments, shops, toilets, buses, Heritage Centre; car park; Lee Bay - pub, shop,hotel/bar, toilets, buses; car park.' - devon.gov.uk

Mortehoe-Ilfracombe walk or cycle path along disused railway.

This is quite a long walk, but paved and fairly level. Trains on the former Ilfracombe-Mortehoe railway line (closed 1970) travelled along one of the UK's steepest stretches of track ... but the gradient isn't a big challenge for walking/cycling. The track is now a beautiful paved path away from all roads. Flanders and Swann 'Slow Train' song mentions Mortehoe Station, closed after Beeching cuts ... 'No more will I go to Blandford Forum and Mortehoe'.

rockpool life at Barricane beach