Walk - Lee Bay Coastal Heathlands
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.
This rewarding walk combines some of the best of the South West Coast Path in North Devon with woodland and windswept farmland surrounding ancient farms. Of particular interest are the coastal heathlands, where hardy plants such as gorse and heather survive battering from Atlantic weather and centuries of use by man to create a unique landscape.
- Start at the car park at Lee near the sea–front. Take the footpath that runs inland and follow it to the far end of a meadow. Go over a stile on the right, cross the meadow and over another stile into Borough Woods. Go over a footbridge and turn left following the stream through the woods for about a mile. After the stile, take the right hand path signed to Damage.
- Climb steeply until you reach a stile leading into a field which you then cross to a stile leading into a lane. Go straight over this to the steps in the bank and another stile. Make for the footpath sign high up over the far side behind the hedge. Go over the stile in the right hand corner of the field.
- Bear right and head for a gate with a footpath sign. Follow the yellow way-marker arrows through a marshy area between gorse and rocky outcrops. Where another footpath is joined, bear left to a low stone wall. Go through the small gate to the ancient Damage Barton Farm, which stands on the old road between Lee and Mortehoe.
The present building probably dates from the 16th or 17th century but there is evidence of an earlier, medieval building. Its stout walled construction may suggest fortification against attack.
- From Damage Barton turn right along a lane for about 500 metres, bearing left where a footpath forks right and then turn left over a stile. Follow the path along the edge of a field with a standing stone in it, then drop down and cross a foot-bridge over a small stream. Climb steeply up the other side until you reach a road. When you come out on the road, turn right and go into the private lane leading, after about half a mile, to Bull Point Lighthouse.
The lighthouse was built in 1879 in response to complaints from “clergy, ship owners, merchants and landowners” to the Trinity House Brethren asking for a lighthouse and stating that the “barbarous conduct of lawless wreckers caused much loss of life and property”.
- From Bull Point Lighthouse return along the Coast Path over the splendid cliffs and back to Lee. When the footpath meets the road, turn left into the lane and continue downhill towards the cove car park.
Pubs in Lee Bay and there are also shops and pubs in Mortehoe.