Walk - Heddon's Mouth Cleave

2.8 miles (4.5 km)

Hunter's Inn - EX31 4PY Hunter's Inn

Challenging - Paths, tracks and lanes. Some very steep ascent on a rough path, and a high exposed path round the headland.

A short but challenging walk up into a wilderness full of wildlife, high above an inspirational landscape of sea and scree, with steep-sided valleys plunging to a stream flowing gently through peaceful woodland.

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.

Martinhoe Cleave Cottages

Three lovely cottages within Exmoor National Park close to the SW Coast Path and the dramatic moorland and coastal scenery of north Devon

Exmoor Coast Holidays

Campsite, accommodation, shop, off licence and bar

The Denes Guest House

The Denes offer locally sourced food and comfortable en-suite bedrooms, facilities to dry outdoor gear and a selection of maps. Books, DVDs and board games for relaxation.

Gable Lodge Guest House

Family run guest house offering family friendly bed and breakfast accommodation. Freshly prepared evening meals using local produce.

Pack O Cards

Grade2**listed ancient monument offering comfortable, modern accommodation. King size beds, enduite showers.. Varied menu.

South View Guest House

We look forward to welcoming you to our newly refurbished & upgraded Edwardian Guest House. Ideally located for pubs, restaurants, shops and the spectacular North Devon Coast Path.

Sea Vista

Detached Cottage just off the Path, 3 double bedrooms, 2.5 bath, 2 x lounges. Lots of parking, close to amenities yet in a quiet location

The Crown Hotel

A warm welcome awaits at the Crown Hotel, originally a coaching inn. Located in the heart of Lynton, a quiet base to explore N.Devon's rugged coastline. One night stays and dogs welcome.

St Vincent Guest House

Beautiful grade II Georgian B&B in the heart of Lynton, minutes from the coastal path. Packed lunch by arrangement & all diets catered for.

Sinai House

4 Star accommodation with incredible sea views, offering peace and tranquillity. "Where Exmoor meets the Sea". Ideally located for the South West Coast Path.

Blair Lodge

Quiet location overlooking the bay. 100m gentle walk from the Path, beach, pubs and shops. Evening meals available. Comfy Bar. Wifi. Parking. Tel: 01271 882294


Seaweed, a three-bedroom dog friendly holiday home in Combe Martin comfortably accommodates up to six guests, only a stone's throw from beach, and just a short walk from the South West Coast Path.

Combe Martin Beach Holiday Park

Combe Martin Beach Holiday Park offers a haven of peace in a picturesque valley, including a woodland walk and natural surroundings for children to roam free and the best sea views in North Devon. Clubhouse with restaurant and bar on-site.

The Poplars Guest House

A welcome break as the guest house is perfectly situated on the South West Coast Path

Lynmouth Holiday Retreats

Set in a truly picturesque part of the country; the Exmoor National Park has stunning views from almost every pitch on the park you can admire the view

Orchard House Hotel

Friendly, homely atmosphere. Full English breakfast, licensed bar, kit drying, luggage transfers,single occupancy reductions,walking parties welcome as well as pets & children

Sandaway Beach Holiday Park

Situated on a cliff's edge with breathtaking sea views. There's a stepped path to the private 'Mermaid's Cove' beach, perfect for fishing & dolphin spotting. Relax and eat at Smuggler's Bar and take in the incredible views. Just 1 mile from the Path.

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.

Visit Lynton and Lynmouth TIC

Information on where to stay, local food and drink, festivals and events and things to do in these picturesque twin villages on the edge of Exmoor.

Lynmouth National Park Visitor Centre

Discover walking routes and information on places to visit in the Exmoor area

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. Arriving at Hunter's Inn from the direction of the National Trust shop, take the road to your left and follow it around the edge of the woodland for a couple of hundred yards, until you come to the path on the far side of the river, just around the corner on your right-hand side.
  2. Follow the path alongside the river through the woodland for about half a mile, until you come to the path heading steeply uphill through the trees to your left.
  3. Climb the hill with the path. After a while you are joined by another path heading uphill from your right. The Coast Path runs along this path here; and the Tarka Trail does too.

The Tarka Trail is another long-distance footpath, with stretches of cycle path included along the way. It runs 180 miles in a figure of eight around northern Devon, and features locations mentioned in Henry Williamson's book Tarka the Otter. Williamson himself lived a little way down the coast, at Georgeham, and his eponymous otter is celebrated in numerous ways throughout the region.

Heddon's Mouth and neighbouring Woody Bay comprise the West Exmoor Coast and Woods Site of Special Scientific Interest, because of their areas of ancient sessile oak woodland, maritime plant communities and rich bird population. There are also important geological features within the site (see the Martinhoe Roman Fortlet Walk).

Only the sessile oaks and downy birch trees flourish high up on the scree-clad slopes here; but lower down, where the soil is richer, there are clumps of rowan, holly and hazel. Bracken, ferns, bilberry and lichen also flourish, and violets and primroses in the spring and summer; while a little further around the headland, the coastal heathland, featuring heather, bell heather and gorse, provides a useful habitat for many species of insect, including moths and butterflies, and a number of bird species, including winchat, stonechat and wheatear. Coastal plants abound, too, like the pink-headed thrift and the spotted white flowers of the sea campion.

Woodland birds, across the valley, include pied flycatchers, redstarts, wood warblers and woodpeckers; while this is the best place in North Devon for spotting nesting seabirds like guillemots and razorbills. Keep an eye open for peregrine falcons, too: their 120-mile-an-hour plunge after prey is a rare but spectacular sight.

    1. When you come to the fork high up on the hillside, take the right-hand path and follow it northwards around the hillside, past Peter Rock. Turn sharp left with the path around the cliffs, and stay with it to East Cleave.

    Exmoor has the highest coastline on the British mainland, as well as the most remote shoreline. Because of the height and steepness of the cliffs from here to Combe Martin, there is no landward access to the six-mile stretch of coast between the two places, and it has been estimated that if you were to wait for the right tides to walk the 34-mile Exmoor shoreline, it would take you five years. This is made all the more difficult by the fact that the Bristol Channel is subject to the greatest variation in tidal ranges anywhere in the world other than in the Bay of Fundy in Canada.

    1. The Coast Path turns sharply again in the cleave, this time to the right, uphill and southwards, and then it splits into two, at the top of the hill where it opens out into fields. The Coast Path continues to the right, on its way to Combe Martin via Trentishoe and Great Hangman; but it's the left-hand path that you want for this walk. Take the left-hand fork and follow it around the hill, ignoring the path plunging down to the river on your left about a quarter of a mile later.
    2. The path curves to your right and starts descending gently, flattening out and turning more sharply to the right before it comes to the lane. Take the track to the left, curving steeply downhill into Birchey Cleave Plantation, and follow it down to where it joins the lane, beside the stream.
    3. Continue with the lane back to 2, from where you carry on around to the right to return to the start of the walk.

      Public transport

      TW Coaches routes 309 and 310 travel several times a day on the A39 between Barnstaple and Lynmouth, but the nearest bus stop is at Woody Bay Station, some distance from this walk.

      For timetable information, zoom in on the interactive map and click on the bus stops, visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33.



      There is a car park (payment needed) at Hunter's Inn as well as limited on road parking.


      Walk Finder


      Postcode, placename or click the icon to use current location

      Click/hold and drag the map to set the centre point of your search location under the red crosshair

      from this location


      Length (miles)



      Find somewhere to Eat & Drink, Sleep or Do


      Postcode, placename or click the icon to use current location

      Click/hold and drag the map to set the centre point of your search location under the red crosshair

      from this location

      Interactive Map