Walk - Struddicks

2.7 miles (4.4 km)

Hessenford Road car park, PL11 3JL Hessenford Road car park

Easy - Quiet country roads, a green lane and the Coast Path, which is narrow and stony in places, with some steep ascent and descent including steps and stiles.

A short but fairly demanding route climbing high above the cliffs at Struddicks, giving spectacular views over land and sea. Thanks to the conservation strategies used by the National Trust and landowners the area is brimming with wildlife and bright with flowers and butterflies in the summer months.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. Coming out of the car park on Hessenford Road in Seaton, turn left on the road and then turn right a moment later to walk up Looe Hill, taking care as there is no pavement. Carry on up the hill to the steps in the hedge on the left, where the South West Coast Path leaves the road.

Before you start the walk, take time to visit the Seaton Valley Countryside Park beside the car park. Once a derelict caravan park, in 1995 its 53.8 hectares were turned into a Local Nature Reserve by Caradon Council, and there are cycleways and footpaths through the reserve and disabled access on the main footpath and into its sensory garden. In 2005 it was awarded a prestigious Green Flag, as one of the best green spaces in the country, and it is brimming with wildlife, including otters, kingfishers, dormice and fritillary butterflies.

  1. Turn left onto the Coast Path and walk along the edge of the woodland to the path leading around the side of the hill towards the coast. Running through a stretch of open land, crossing steps and stiles and a boardwalk, it drops gently down the steep hillside above Keveral Beach.

The thorn bushes along the edge of the woodland are festooned with lichen - a sign of pure air. Hawthorns provide shelter in a hostile environment often exposed to gale-force winds blowing in off the sea and as a result they are an important habitat for many species of bird and mammal. In the spring their tumbling white blossom is a source of nectar for insects and the larvae of many moths, while in the autumn the bright red berries, known as 'haws', are a major source of food for a number of different birds, including waxwings and thrushes.

  1. When you reach a small path climbing steeply to the right, turn onto it, climbing through fields and returning to Looe Hill opposite a small road running north past Penhale Farm.

The cliff-top fields at Struddicks, as at most other National Trust properties, have undergone a substantial change in land management. Before the Trust bought the land in 1998 its coastal fields were intensively farmed, while on the cliff slopes scrub was allowed to smother other, more vulnerable, plants. With help from the Trust its tenant farmer moved away from crop cultivation and back to permanent pasture, abandoning artificial fertilisers and sprays and instead using organic methods. The scrub on the cliffs was cut and then cattle and ponies were used to graze the area and keep the scrub at bay, allowing more delicate plants to proliferate, which in turn encourages insects, birds and small mammals.

  1. Crossing Looe Hill, continue straight ahead along the smaller road, passing Penhale Farm and Struddicks Cottage and continuing to the sharp left-hand bend beyond.

There are tremendous sea views from the top of the hill, looking across Whitsand Bay to Rame Head, in the east, and across Looe Bay in the west. The rocks on this part of the coastline, known as the Whitsand Bay Formation Slate, consist of siltstone and sandstone. They were formed some 400 to 417 million years ago, in the Devonian Period, when clays, silts, muds and sands were deposited on the floor of lakes and lagoons. The bay is also of geological importance for its marine fossils.

  1. Turn right onto the public bridleway and follow it along Keveral Lane, passing through the buildings at Keveral and descending gently around the back of the hill before turning into woodland to drop into Seaton. At the T-junction at Keveral Gardens turn left to return to Hessenford Road and the car park.

In 1973 Keveral Farm was set up as an organic farm community by a group of six people from Chiswick. With no experience of farming and no funds for machinery they read up on how to manage the manage the farm they went to market and bought a cow, a goat, a few hens, ducks and geese and a hive full of bees. Almost 40 years later, the farm is a thriving community with an emphasis on conservation and wholesome living.

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