Bigbury to Mothercombe

Well a bit of freedom, but only a bit. No sooner than lockdown was lifted and we were allowed to go as far as we wished as long as we returned home at the end of the day (in England anyway), than the National Parks and everywhere that people would visit, claimed they were still shut. Cornwall was first, then the Lake District. All the time those in Wales, N Ireland and Scotland wondered what was going on as they kept things as they were. Dartmoor had a more open approach, with words that said not to visit during busy times, social distance and that a few car parks would be open, just not all of them. I decided that the first weekend after the lift of the regulations was not the time to be heading that way and instead chose to stay coastal, but just a bit further a field. About 20 minutes from home is this brilliant walk, one that I know will be in my favourite walks of the year already. It starts in the cracking village of Ringmore and it is about 10 miles in total, about 5 1/2 hours to get around. It involves some serious up and down along the coastal path parts, hitting one of the high points of the South Devon coast in Hoist Point.

There isn’t really any poor parts to this walk, certainly not in this weather anyway. It was the first time this year that the cap and suncream got an outing, and it was needed, although there was a decent breeze keeping the real heat away. The highlights of the walk are the views to Burgh Island, Ayrmer Cove, the Erme Estuary/Wonwell Beach and the walk from Kingston to Ringmore, so pretty much all of it!! Its another part of the South West Coastal Path ticked off, but next it has to be back to the moors, and I’ve got some time off coming up so I can make some midweek outings if the weather is good.

Start – Ringmore
Route – Bigbury Golf Course – Cockleridge – Bigbury – Ayrmer Cove – Westcombe Beach – Hoist Point – Beacon Point – Wonwell Beach – Kingston – Ringmore
Distance – 10 miles    Start time – 10.30am    Time taken – 5hr 30mins    Highest Point – Hoist Point 100metres ish
Weather – Blue skies and white clouds. Lovely

© Crown copyright 2020 Ordnance Survey FL 2020 SF

The National Trust car park at Ringmore was open again and this sign shows the fine out and back walk to Ayrmer Cove, there are also some circuit walks on this map if you want to go further. For my walk it was much further

Ringmore, glorious Devon village

Walking across the fields towards Bigbury golf course, that’s Challacombe down there, I’ll be walking past that in a hour or so

Bigbury golf course, down this path to the River Avon estuary

Bigbury beach and Burgh Island. For those who have been watching the James Martin programme (Highlands to Islands), they will recognise the hotel on the island

This is as far as the coastal path goes this way, a boat is needed to get across the Avon to the Bantham side to carry on. The boat only runs for short periods of the day in the morning, 9-10am and late afternoon according to the board

The Avon estuary and Burgh Island

Bunny rabbit

After a climb I looked back down at the Avon estuary, Bantham beach is on the right and the river separates it from Bigbury beach

A fine bench and view to go with it. The weather is superb and the air clarity is as good as it gets

Burgh Island and its hotel. Churchill has stayed there as has Noel Coward. Classic 1920s art deco styling. The bar of sand will be gone in about an hour or two as the tide is on its way in

South Devon coastline, Stoke Point is the far, far headland

Ayrmer Cove below. Considering this was a Sunday the beaches were reasonably quiet as was the path. Showing that people are still staying in when they can.

That is Hoist Point up there, unfortunately there is Westcombe Beach between me and it, which means a drop to sea level and then a 100 metre climb back up. But then again the whole 630 mile coastal path involves climbing the equivalent of 4 Mount Everests

Hoist Point and a superb view back

One of the downs between the ups. Burgh Island in the distance with Bolt Tail the headland furthest right

Clear sea and views

All along this part there are little hidden beaches below in coves, smugglers must have loved this part

Moo. With Dartmoor behind in the far distance

Now I’m round to the Erme estuary and I turn the corner and head towards Wonwell beach. Again that is Stoke Point on the far left. And the sharp eyed will see St Anchorites Rock in the centre of the photo

Mothercombe beach and the start of the River Erme

Now I know this is a butterfly but what type I’m not sure. One wing orange and the other white. it has the markings of a Small Copper and was pretty small for a butterfly. Anyone know?

The Erme estuary

Wonwell beach, I had a wade in to cool off a bit

And this is as far as you can go this way unless you ford the river. It can be done and hour either side of low tide and you walk slipway to slipway

Not today though

After Wonwell there was a steep climb up through some lovely woodlands, the only issue was the lack of a breeze in here which meant the sweat was dripping off my nose by the time I reached the top

At least there was a bit of shade

Out of the woodland and across some fields to Kingston. The views to the southern part of Dartmoor here were very good. Brent Hill is far right, then Western Beacon, then Wetherdon Hill and Three Barrows. There is then a dip (where the River Erme starts), then it is Stalldown Barrow and Lee Moor on the edge of photo left

Kingston church ahead

Not sure what the car is but it was pretty to look at

More glorious woodland as I head to Ringmore

This was a lovely part of the walk, perfect in the shade under the trees

Finally Ringmore church to finish with. The only downside was the pubs still being shut meant I couldn’t have a pint in the brilliant Journey’s End. Next time

13 thoughts on “Bigbury to Mothercombe

  1. Wow.
    Stunning scenery to have just about on your doorway. What a terrific walk. Shame about the libation (or lack of it) at the end.


    • Its as good a walk along the coast that I have had. As for the butterfly I haven’t a clue what has gone on, it has the marking and one wing of a small copper. I’ve heard of some butterflies having half male, half female sides as well. Haven’t a clue on this one though


  2. Well that’s not far off perfect! Stunning section of coastline, woodland, classic village under clear blue skies. As you say not quite perfection with the missing pint at the end! Those river crossings must make the coast path there rather a challenge of timing to cross them if on a longer stretch.


    • I guess many will have fallen a cropper with those crossings. The diversion would be 8 miles upstream on each them. I reckon many will be camping and waiting for the boat or on the Erme waiting for the tide to go out and wading. There are a few spots along the south coast which require a boat. Salcombe and Dartmouth are two others that spring to mind. This is a walk that I’ll remember for a while. Might look for another coastal walk for later this week

      Liked by 1 person

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