Walk - Bolberry Down

Walk information provided with help from Natural England. Map reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown copyright and database right 2018. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100022021.

Route Description

The area around Bolberry Down is looked after by the National Trust and you are free to wander the network of paths at will. The paths highlighted on the map are all fairly flat (generally a maximum gradient of 1:10, with a minimal cross-slope), and have been levelled and compacted to make access easier for people in wheelchairs or with buggies.

The National Trust manage the rare and vulnerable coastal grassland found here as a habitat for a variety of species. The area is grazed by sheep to keep the turf short and prevent scrub from taking over. Gorse is also cut back so that there is a mixture of old and young shrubs, which provide food and shelter for a wealth of wildlife. Some of the wildlife you are likely to see include skylarks (listen out for them singing as they fly high above), ravens (with their croaking call and acrobatic flight) and the rare Dartford warbler and cirl buntings hiding in the scrub. Either side of the path there's a wealth of wild flowers, which in summer attract many butterflies.

  1. To follow the loop path leave the car park and head along the sealed path towards the Port Light Hotel. At the entrance to the hotel (cattle grid across road, with pedestrian gate beside it), turn left and take the track towards the sea. After about 100 yards take the left hand path again, which leads to the viewpoint and resting area at Saltern Pike.
  2. From here continue along the coast for about ½ mile and you will reach the viewpoint and bench at Fernyhole Point.

Here you can look down over Bolt Tail (with its Iron Age fort), along the coast as far as Rame Head in Cornwall, and on a clear day you should be able to see the Eddystone Lighthouse guarding a dangerous reef 8 miles out from Rame Head.

  1. From here the Coast Path continues through a gate down to Bolt Tail and Hope Cove. To return back to the car park take the path across the field and past the Ocean Restaurant Bolberry Down.
  2. The other path starts at the bottom of the car park and runs along a rougher stone track and descends gently (maximum 1:10) for about a third of a mile.

Look for the rows of upright local stone (called mica schist) in the ‘hedge’ on the left - these are Bronze Age field boundary stones.

  1. The path then rises over a small stone outcrop, (1:8 ascent for 10 yds, 1:6 descent for 10 yds, with 1:10 camber) and whilst easy to walk over, could be difficult for a wheelchair user.

About 100 yds past this, is the bench and viewpoint at Cathole Point.

  1. From here the Coast Path descends steeply down to the lovely beach at Soar Mill Cove, known locally as ‘Dartmoor by the Sea’ due to the tor-like rock outcrops that surround the cove.
  2. If you decide to go down to the beach, you can avoid retracing your steps by taking the alternative path back that goes up the valley and rejoins the Coast Path at West Cliff.

Nearby refreshments

Ocean Restaurant Bolberry Down - 01548 562467 (refreshments and adapted toilets). Hope Cove has shops, cafe and pubs.

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