Morwenstow to South Hole

One last walk before our week in the Lake District and we thought that a coastal walk would help get some ascent and descent into our legs. The various books on the coastal path seem to suggest that the hardest section of the whole path is that from Bude heading north around to Clovelly. Well this is part of it and I can see why they say that, there are lots of drops steeply down followed by steep climbs, perfect for some Lake District practice. The other main part of this walk is that it crosses from Cornwall to Devon and then back again, as you can see from the dotted black line on the map below. We had decided on a later start to firstly avoid the morning rain and allow for the cloud to clear. On arrival it had stopped raining and the cloud was up enough not to be misty, I’d decided to walk inland first to give us some views as we walked back, which was a big mistake as on arrival at the coastal path we could hardly see each other, so thick was the fog. The unfortunate part was the cloud lifted at the end and we sat on Henna Cliff looking back along the coast, a bit like the losers in the gameshow Bullseye, “look at what you could have won”! I’m already looking forward to the next section up towards Hartland Quay so we can see the views, however as we finished our thoughts had shifted to a week in Cumbria, tackling to high fells around Wasdale.

Start – Morwenstow

Route – Gooseham – Gooseham Mill – Darracott – Welcombe – South Hole – South West Coastal Path – Embury Beacon – Knap Head – The Hermitage – Welcombe Mouth – Marsland Mouth – Marsland Cliff – Cornakey Cliff – Henna Cliff – Morwenstow

Distance – 9 miles    Start time – 11.45am   Time taken – 6hrs 10mins Highest Point – Embury Beacon 157 metres

Weather – Cloudy, lowered as we reached the coastal path

© Crown copyright 2023 Ordnance Survey FL 2023 SF
As we have parked right next to it we start with the Church of St Morwenna and St John the Baptist. The church is Grade 1 listed and parts of it were created in the 11th and 12th centuries (Norman style)
Inside the church, there was believed to have been an older church of Saxon times on this spot prior to the current imcumbant
Probably the most amazing part of this old building was this, a Saxon styled font from 950AD, still used today using water drawn from the nearby well to do baptisms
After leaving the church we walked the lanes towards Gooseham
Plenty of these bluebells in the hedgerows as we walked towards the Devon border
Crossing into Devon we hit a little oasis of nature
The village of Darracott
A roadside well linked to the nearby church
This church in Welcombe, St Nectan’s, was likely a chapel of the St Nectan’s church in Stoke (Hartland) to the north of here, it is pre the Norman Conquest of 1066 and parts inside are very old indeed.
Here’s the list of dates
And the inside of the church, I was obviously standing on a tilt taking this!
Early purple orchid as we walk towards South Hole
At South Hole we turned towards the coastal path and cloud, which immediately began to swallow us
Spooky stuff, that’s either Linda or an extra from the ‘Last of Us’ TV programme
I’m looking down from near to Embury Beacon towards the beach area, but to be honest we could be anywhere
You know there are steep cliffs here but the dramatic views are lost
Looking down from The Hermitage cliff towards Welcombe Mouth and the waterfall down on to the beach
Sea pinks or thrift is all out now
The waterfall at Welcombe Mouth
Ronald Duncan’s writing hut, at least on a day like today he wouldn’t have been distracted by the views. Inside however there are benches, a table and some drawing items. A lovely spot on this path
Marsland Mouth this time, the low cloud still clinging to the cliffs
Linda has traveled abroad back into Cornwall, hope she has her passport!!
Steep steps down again this time with Cornakey Cliffs ahead of us
We had a stop here before the last climb up to Henna Cliff
Some sunny spots out to sea! It looks like it is clearing a little
Well, as we finish the cloud starts to lift and the cliffs we have walked start to appear to the north
Higher Sharpnose Point is the obvious headland to the south
And again as we negotiated one last climb before heading back into Morwenstow
The church were we started, a bit of a frustrating walk, but at least we can say we have added plenty of descent and re ascent into our legs ready for our trip north. Looking forward to carrying on north from South Hole and seeing the views we missed from up there.

2 thoughts on “Morwenstow to South Hole

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