Walk - Sidmouth: Coast & River

Walk information provided with help from Natural England. Map reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown copyright and database right 2020. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100022021.

Route Description

  1. From Mutter's Moor car park, cross the road and go through the gate onto the heathland beyond. Bearing right and downhill towards the woodland at the marker post to your right after a couple of hundred metres, pick up the Coast Path at Peak Hill.
  2. Follow the Coast Path along the coast to High Peak.

Remember to look back for superb views over Sidmouth and beyond to the white cliffs at Beer Head. As you descend steeply from Peak Hill take in the ruggedly beautiful Ladram stacks ahead of you. These pinnacles provide homes for cormorants, terns and various species of gull.

  1. From Ladram the route is more level but still offers superb views of the coast and inland. Pass beyond Brandy Head – its name hinting of previous smuggling activity - and Danger Point, before reaching the mouth of the Otter.

Before following the estuary inland, you’ll pass a Second World War Pill Box that has been converted to a bat hibernaculum. The estuary is good for bird watching, and as you carry on along the Coast Path, heading north above the river, there is a bird hide nestling in the woods to your left.

  1. A little way beyond South Farm, the Coast Path peels away to the left and crosses the river. Crossing with it, pick up the footpath to your right at the far end of the bridge and follow it to where it curves around beside the aqueduct and rejoins the river. Turn left here, still on the west bank of the river, and carry on upstream till you reach the road to the west of Otterton Mill.
  2. Cross the road and pick up the footpath heading northwards from here, towards Colaton Raleigh. Follow the Otter upstream through the open farmland here. Note the striking river cliffs to your right hand side, topped with natural woodland.
  3. Leave the river at a footbridge near the village of Colaton Raleigh, turning right to cross the river once more and join a narrow road at Burnthouse Farm. Follow the road for a few hundred yards northwards, to the footpath just beyond Passaford Farm.
  4. Turn right on to this footpath. This is Passaford Lane, an ancient sunken Devon track way, which climbs steeply into the woodland above. Turn left onto the track above, and then sharp right when it doubles back on itself a little while later.

This takes you up onto Mutters Moor, an area of ancient lowland heath. You may be lucky enough to spot a Dartford warbler here. The moor was named after Sam Mutter, a celebrated smuggler who sailed out of Sidmouth. He is reputed to have taken his contraband into Exeter by wagon hidden under turfs and faggots cut from the heath.

  1. Turn right onto the track as you come out onto the moor, and follow it around as it bears left, making for the trees at the far side of the open ground, where you turn right and follow this track along the boundary of the woods, which will return you to the car park.

Nearby refreshments

Ladram Bay and Otterton.

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