Walk - River Yealm to Bigbury on Sea

10.3 miles (16.6 km)

Wembury Beach Car Park - PL9 0HP Bigbury on Sea

Challenging - Easy to strenuous

After the ferry crossing over the Yealm, the Path passes out of Noss Mayo the ancient oaks of the Brakehill Plantation and along the wide, sweeping track known as Lord Revelstoke’s Drive, built in the 1880s to provide an impressive carriageway for his visitors. On clear days you can see the Eddystone Lighthouse which is 14 miles away.

This undeveloped stretch of coast is recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is part of the South Devon Heritage Coast. The path provides a mixture of easy, high open walking and some fairly strenuous climbs up and down steep slopes and steps to reach beautiful coves.

The difficult walking is certainly worth the effort as the views are truly spectacular, and thought to be some of the best on the entire Coast Path. You need to plan this day in advance as you have two river crossings; the River Yealm crossed by a seasonal ferry and the River Erme which normally can be easily forded one hour either side of low tide.

There are a range of wonderful places to lay your head near the Coast Path for a well-earned sleep. From large and luxurious hotels, to small and personable B&B's, as well as self-catering options and campsites. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Carswell Cottages

8 unique holiday homes dotted around our organic dairy farm, just a short walk from the South West Coast Path. Suitable for couples, families & groups.

The Ivy Barn B&B

The Ivy Barn, 6 ensuite letting Rooms, in quintessential English village, situated between Church and Village Pub, opposite village shop & post office

Parkdean Resorts Challaborough Bay Holiday Park

Set right in the the bay with unrivalled views of nearby Burgh Island and Bigbury beach, this park is the ideal located close to the Path.

Wembury Camping

Small site with hot shower and real loo. Near shop and pub with sea views. Just off the path and 15 minutes from the Yealm Ferry.

You'll be spoilt for choice for where to eat and drink along the Path. With lots of local seasonal food on offer, fresh from the farm, field and waters. Try our local ales, ciders, wines and spirits, increasing in variety by the year, as you sit in a cosy pub, fine dining restaurant or chilled café on the beach. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

The Venus Cafe, Bigbury

Take away, with inside seating available

What is on your list of things to do when you visit the Path? From walking companies, to help you tailor your visit, with itineraries and experts to enhance your visit, to baggage transfer companies and visitor attractions there are lots to people and places to help you decide what you'd like to do. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

River Yealm Electric Water Taxi

Community Electric Water Taxi (YCET) serving the River Yealm (Warren Point to Old Cellars) l

Modbury Private Hire Taxi

Private hire taxi (4 seater) serving Bigbury/Mothecombe/Wembury area of the Path

Interactive Elevation


  • Using the little ferry to cross the River Yealm (seasonal service -please click here for the latest ferry times).
  • Views of the nesting seabirds on the Great Mew Stone: dramatically illustrated by J.M.W. Turner in 1816, this island of jagged rocks is named after the many gulls (or mews) who nest here. 
  • Wildlife of The Warren: home to many rare plants such as rock sea lavender, shore dock and penny royal, you may also catch glimpses of dolphins, seals and occasional whales from here.
  • The ruined church of St Peter the Poor Fisherman, dramatically positioned above Stoke Bay.
  • Enjoying the steep open drop-down to Blackaterry Point, with its rugged beach below.
  • Views on the approach to St Anchorite’s Rock, a spot favoured by birds of prey.
  • The Erme Estuary: even when watching the occasional groups of horse-riders crashing through the water, there is a strong feeling of peace and tranquillity here. There is no ferry service from Mothecombe to Wonwell, so you will need to either wade across within 1 hour of low tide or walk or arrange for a taxi to follow the diversion inland through the lanes to the A379. Please check times of low water in advance. Our Complete Guide to the south West Coast Path book includes tide times for the whole year and can be found on our shop here.
  • Having a picnic near Muxham Point with wonderful views up the Erme and out to sea.
  • Views from Beacon Point out to sea, inland to Dartmoor and to the undulating Path ahead.
  • The dramatic cliffs around Westcombe Beach. This beach is usually fairly quiet as the limited parking is some way away.
  • Ayrmer Cove: breeding pairs of cirl buntings have been sighted here, no doubt due to the careful farming practised here ensuring a safe habitat and winter food supply for these rare birds.
  • Views of Burgh Island: the hotel, which holds many events throughout the year including black-tie dinner dances and a 'round the island' race, is a unique example of English seaside art deco, and has provided the setting for some of the novels of Agatha Christie.

Shorter option

Due to lack of accommodation it is not easy to shorten this section.

Longer option

Continue to Hope Cove (an additional 4.9 miles, 7.9 km).

Public transport

Plymouth has a mainline train station and a large bus station serving much of Devon and Cornwall including Noss Mayo at the start of the walk.  Buses to and from Bigbury-on-Sea run very infrequently (in Winter only on Fridays). For timetable information, zoom in on the interactive map and click on the bus stops, visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33.

On this section, you have 3 rivers to cross; the River Yealm (ferry), River Erme (ford at low tide) and River Avon (ferry). You can find details of these on our estuaries and ferries page, and timetable information is also posted at Wembury Beach car park, and at each river crossing.



Wembury (Postcode for Sat Navs: PL9 0HP), above Blackstone Point and Stoke Point, above Stoke Beach, Mothecombe, Ringmore, Challaborough and Bigbury-on-Sea.


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