Five of the best walks to hidden beaches on the South West Coast Path

One of the joys of walking the South West Coast Path is stumbling upon a secluded beach on a remote stretch of coast and discovering that you’ve got it all to yourself – and taking a bracing dip if you’re brave enough.

From Dorset through to Cornwall, the South West has a wealth of beautiful sandy bays and secret coves that can only be reached on foot. Here’s our selection of the best – and the wonderful walks along the Coast Path that lead down to them.

1. Hidden beach: Famous Five’s cove at Rickham Sands, Devon 
The walk East Portlemouth to Gara Rock
Distance: 3.3 miles
Step out along the Coast Path, from the Salcombe Estuary and out to meet the wide open sea. Exhilarating scenery, and a wonderful way to get the wind in your sails.

2. Hidden beach: Mouthmill, Devon
The walk: Brownsham and Clovelly
Distance: 4.6 miles
Be dazzled with colour as you walk through some of North Devon's finest landscapes, including National Trust land and the Clovelly Estate. The trail takes you through Culm grassland, woodland and heathland, all rich in plants and wildlife, with an opportunity to visit the village of Clovelly.

3. Hidden beach Chapman’s Pool, Dorset
The walk: Chapman’s Pool from Spyway car park
Distance: 7.3 miles
A breathtaking walk around a limestone coastline carved into dramatic caves and platforms by millions of years of erosion by the sea, and hundreds of years of human quarrying. From prehistoric times humans have lived here and exploited the cliffs and coves for a wide variety of purposes, ranging from prehistoric tools and burials through mediaeval farming to nineteenth century smuggling. Chapman's Pool itself is a wonderfully wild beach where the stream joins the sea from a plunging ravine carved through high cliffs.

4. Hidden beach: Housel  Bay, Cornwall
The walk: Three Sides of the Lizard
Distance: 3.9 miles
A walk around the rugged tip of The Lizard, passing the most southerly point on the mainland, following undulating high cliffs. The highlight for many will be a glimpse of a chough. After being absent from Cornwall and the rest of England for around 50 years a pair of this aerobatic red-legged crow has nested near Lizard Point since 2002, and their descendents are now spreading along to other parts of the coa

5. Hidden beach:
Portbeor, Cornwall
The walk St Anthony Head and Place
Distance: 6.3 miles
A circular walk of either 4.5 or 6 miles can be started from the ferry landing stage at Place. Alternatively you can start from the car park at St Anthony's Head. Whichever you take, there are magnificent views as well as plenty of historical and wildlife interest to enjoy along the way. 




Published on: May 29, 2014