Walk - Saunton Sands Hotel - Baggy Point
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.
From the Saunton Sands hotel take the Croyde Road into the village of Croyde. In the middle of the village as the main road forks to the right, take the left-hand fork along Jones’s Hill. Take the next road to the left and drive along Moor Lane past the large campsite. The National Trust Car Park is almost at the end of the road on your right. Non-National Trust members will need to pay the carpark fee.
You can combine this walk with the Croyde and Saunton Down walk for a challenging day of glorious North Devon scenery.
- From the National Trust Car Park follow the Coast Path westwards along a road towards Baggy Point.
As you pass the last houses on the side of the path are some preserved bones from a whale that got washed up on the beach many years ago.
- Continue onwards through the gate and past the memorial to Henry Williamson, the author of “Tarka the Otter”, and follow the lower path to the left.
This lower path is suitable for people with impaired mobility or with a pushchair and can be followed in reverse for the return journey. There are spectacular views over towards Bideford Bay and Hartland Point and the steep slopes are smothered in wildflowers, gorse, and heather in late spring and summer.
At the end of the headland, there is a level viewing area and this is a good spot to watch out for breeding seabirds, including both cormorants and shags. The cliffs here are also very popular with climbers and have been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest for their geological interest. Features including wave-cut platforms and raised beaches can be seen.
- From the viewpoint, take the path that leads steeply upwards for a short distance to a plateau where you will find a seat to catch your breath. At the top of the hill, take the path leading northwards towards a tall, white wooden post with steps on the side.
This is a particularly well-preserved example of a ‘wreck post’, left over from the days when lifesaving crews practiced rescues with a breeches buoy. This technique was used when the sea was too rough to launch a lifeboat and the lifesaving team had to stay on the beach or cliffs. Providing the shipwreck was near enough to shore the rescuers used a small cannon to fire a double line and pulley to the ship. The sailors on the ship tied their end of the line to the mast while the lifesavers attached the other end to a frame anchored in the ground and then sent the breeches buoy (a harness that could carry a person) along the rope to the ship. A sailor from the sinking ship climbed into the breeches buoy and could be pulled to shore. Then back the breeches buoy would go for the next rescue. The wreck post was used to represent the mast of a wrecked ship.
- Continuing on past the wreck post you reach the highest part of Baggy Point, and from where the view opens up across Morte Bay to Woolacombe and Morte Point. Retrace your steps back past the wreck post to the fingerpost on the corner of the wall, and then take the farm track leading off to the left back down to the car park.
As you look over the fields of Croyde Hoe Farm you can see WWII dummy pillboxes which were used by the American troops training for D-day.
To drive back to the Saunton Sands Hotel reverse the directions at the beginning of the walk.