Walk - Ilfracombe and the Torrs from Bay Dilkhusa Grand Hotel
Walk information provided with help from Natural England. Map reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown copyright and database right 2021. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100022021.
- From the hotel entrance, turn left, cross Wilder Road, and walk up Runnacleave Road. When the road turns left, take the path straight ahead up beside the small church.
- When you reach Granville Road, turn right and follow the road along the coast for about 400 yards to reach Torr Walk Avenue.
On your right as you walk along Granville Road, the Tunnels beaches are reached through tunnels cut by Welsh miners in the 1820s. Immediately below you is the gentlemen’s beach, with the ladies beach to the right, beside the tidal pool which was the town swimming’s pool until the new pool was built at Hillsborough.
- When Granville Road drops to the left, a rougher lane continues ahead. Carry on along the latter (Torrs Walk Avenue). When the lane turns left at the top, bear right onto the concrete path, following the Coast Path to a National Trust sign saying 'Torrs Walk'. Leave the Coast Path to continue ahead up the path, climbing along the edge of woodland to arrive at a surfaced lane. Keep going ahead, forking right at the junction to Upper Torrs, still climbing. Ignore the various paths leading up to the Torrs.
Torrs Park was laid out in the 1880s, with cliff walks and large detached villas. Ilfracombe's imposing many-storeyed terraces were built around this time, their bow windows providing well-heeled gentlefolk with magnificent sea views. Every year the town celebrates its nineteenth-century splendour with its 'Victorian Week', held at the beginning of June. Visitors flock here from all over Britain, many of them in period costume for the week, to participate in numerous events recreating the festive atmosphere of the seaside resort in its heyday.
The long, low building in the centre of the view below as you walk along Upper Torrs is on the site of Ilfracombe's old railway station. The railway line is now a footpath and cycleway and continues up the valley at the foot of the woodland on the far side.
- Stay on the heavily wooded lane at Upper Torrs. It drops and then climbs again, past an 'Unsuitable for Vehicles' sign and onwards, eventually reaching a National Trust sign to the Langleigh Valley.
- Go through the gate beside the sign. Ignore the track to the left, instead staying beside the wall on the right, going over a stile to rejoin the Coast Path. Stay on the main path, generally parallel to the coast, ignoring all the smaller paths running away from it at you rise and fall over The Torrs - also known as 'The Seven Hills', and you understand why as you walk back above towering cliffs to the town.
- Descending from the hilltop, turn left through a gate to follow the Coast Path steeply down the cliff face in a series of zig zag bends. Carry on at the steps as the Coast Path turns inland, returning to Torrs Walk at 3. From here retrace your steps along the concrete path to the left, and on to the lane at the right, turning left into Torrs Walk Avenue. Carry on back down Granville Road, going through the metal gate at the hairpin bend.
- In the ornamental gardens take the path to the left, descending behind the Landmark and down the steps to the seafront.
The Landmark Theatre was built to replace the Pavilion, which once stood at the base of Capstone Hill. In finest Victorian tradition, the old venue ran a programme of music-hall style entertainment throughout the summer season until, already semi-derelict, it was partially burnt down in the 1980s and subsequently demolished.
The mosaic set in the ground on the seafront celebrates Jonathan Edwards's astonishing men's world triple jump record of 18.29m, set in 1995 and still in place 18 years later in 2013. Edwards lived in Ilfracombe as a teenager, when his father was vicar at 'Pip and Jim's' Church.
- On the seafront, turn right to join Wilder Road and then right again to return to the hotel.
Ilfracombe has all facilities; there are none on the walk outside the town, unless you continue through to Lee Bay (about 3½ miles each way)