As many of you will be trip planning for a visit to the Coast Path later in the year, we didn't want you to forget about the beautiful woodlands that exist along and near the Path. We know that the diversity of the different landscapes that you pass through is part of the reason that the South West Coast Path is so well loved.
On the north coast, these ‘Atlantic’ woodlands are one of Britain and Ireland’s most important habitats; home to a vast diversity of plant life. As well as being places of recreation these woods have inspired generations of writers, poets and painters including Wordsworth and Coleridge.
On the south coast, many woodlands fold more gently into the side of combes, riverbanks and estuaries. In some places, especially on the more exposed Cornish stretches, some trees battle the elements and the wind sculpts them into bent shapes over the decades.
Here are a few ideas for woodland walks – for when spring has sprung and early leaves come into view:
Clovelly and Mouth Hill
5.0 miles (8.0 km) Start and finish at: Brownsham National Trust Car Park - EX39 6AN Level: Moderate - Coastal and inland footpaths and tracks, which are rocky in places and may be muddy, a quiet road, a green lane. Plenty of ascent and descent, some of it steep.
A walk in the woods, also passing through the Brownsham Moors and the Culm Grasslands, an unusual habitat with a rich diversity of wildlife. There is an optional detour into the famous thatched-and-cobbled village of Clovelly, where donkeys are still the main form of transport up the steep village street and residents carry their shopping on sleds. A great walk in spring.
Noss Mayo Revelstoke Drive
4.2 miles (6.7 km) Start and Finish at: Warren Car Park - PL8 1EW
Level: Easy - Wide and even Coast Path; surfaced roads; tracks; optional woodland footpaths.
The many faces of maritime South Devon in one walk; the wild open sea and rugged coast, a sheltered estuary, wooded riverbanks, and the waterfront villages of Noss Mayo and Newton Ferrers with their chocolate box charm. This is a dog-friendly walk. In the woods along the river estuary, younger trees are thinned out to allow more light in. This encourages wildflowers such as Primroses and Violets. It also provides habitat for butterflies such as the brown and cream Speckled Wood.
5.0 miles (8.0 km) Start and Finish at: Millook Beach - EX23 0DQ
Level: Moderate - Inland paths that may be wet and muddy, with streams to cross, and the Coast Path travels along the top of cliffs that may be unstable. There are some stretches of ascent and descent.
An inspirational walk through some of Britain's oldest woodland, dating back to prehistoric times at Dizzard Point. Rare lichens thrive in the pure air and the hay meadows alongside Millook Water are full of wildflowers and butterflies. On the shoreline, the cliffs are dramatically folded in chevrons, the remnants of an ancient mountain range. Look out for otters in the stream.
For other spring walks around the Path have a look HERE
Published on: March 1, 2018