Walk - Hurlstone Point Adventurous Walk
Walk information provided with help from Natural England. Map reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown copyright and database right 2019. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100022021.
A noticeboard on the path around Hurlstone Point warns against attempting this route in bad weather, and even on a good day it is not for those who dislike heights or are not sure-footed, as there are steep sections with loose stones and some exposure. For those ready to meet the challenge, however, this is an inspiring walk.
- From the car park cross the stream via the footbridge and turn left onto the path alongside it.
- After about three quarters of a mile you come to Hurlstone Combe. If the weather is bad, take the footpath uphill to the right to continue your walk, turning right at the top and then left onto the track leading to the Coast Path. (You might want to go ahead first, as far as the coastguard lookout point, and then retrace your steps to go up the combe). For the adventurous walk, however, do not go up Hurlstone Combe, but instead carry on to the left, and bear left again (but don't take the path down to the beach), heading for the lookout point.
The coastguard lookout tower was built in 1902, and remained in use until 1983. It was manned until after World War II, and housed a rocket warning system and rescue equipment. A tall semaphore system was also used at the end of the point.
There are caves between Hurlstone Point and Minehead, gouged out by sea erosion but reckoned in some cases to have been artificially enlarged in order to provide better facilities for the contraband trade which once flourished here. One such smugglers' cave is under the point itself. It has been muttered in nearby Selworthy that a passage leads down to the cave from the famous white Church of All Saints in the village, but whether it's true or not, no-one is telling!
The sheer cliffs on the northern face of the point also provide a large number of routes for climbers which are accessible even at high tide, although in places the vegetation makes the climbing a bit of a horticultural activity!
As it goes around the point beyond the lookout station, the path gets twisty and the wind roars in your face, and there is a sudden exhilarating sense of stepping into an unexpected wilderness. Take care along the first stretch, as it is narrow and exposed.
Around the corner, above the beach, the hillside thinks it's a mountain, complete with goat-tracks, scree and sheer rockfaces.
- Pick your way carefully up the steep, winding, stony path to the top. There will be plenty of opportunities to admire the view to the beach below and across the Bristol Channel to the Welsh coastline as you pause frequently to catch your breath!
- When you finally get to the top, bear left along the top of the hill, ignoring the various small paths leading off through the gorse. Ignore the bigger path to the left a little further on, too, staying with your path until it meets the Coast Path coming up from Porlock via Hurlstone Combe.
- Leave your path here, and turn left onto the main path running along the top of the hill, going straight ahead at the junction shortly afterwards and carrying on as another path joins from the left.
The rock on the point and around Culbone Cliffs, across Porlock Bay, is harder than that in the bay, which resulted in these two promontories towering above the mile-long shingle beach below once erosion had reduced the vale between them to the long flat valley so spectacularly displayed from here.
- After about half a mile a track joins from the right. Turn sharply right, onto it, and carry on down the side of Bossington Hill, dog-legging into Lynch Combe and ignoring the path leading steeply up the combe in the crook of the second sharp bend.
- Bear left through the woods and the path will return you to the stream at the start of the walk. Cross the footbridge to return to the car park.
Kitnors Tea Room, next to Bossington car park