Walk - Devon Cliffs - Exmouth

3.7 miles (6.0 km)

Devon Cliffs - EX8 5BT Devon Cliffs

Easy - Easy strolling (after a steep start) along the mostly level South West Coast Path to Exmouth.

Easy strolling (after a steep start) along the mostly level South West Coast Path to Exmouth, with fantastic views over the  cliffs and beaches at the start of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site coastline. There are also vistas across the Exe Estuary, a place of international importance for wildlife, especially birds. Return by the same route, or catch the bus back.

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.

The Croft Guest House

The Croft Guest House is ideally set in an acre of secluded gardens overlooking Cockwood Harbour. A 5 minute walk to local pubs, offering a 10% discount for our guests. Well behaved pets welcome.

Quentance Farm, West Down Beacon, Exmouth

Halfway between Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton, our comfortable farmhouse offers local food,log fire and free wi-fi in the cosy guest lounge. Well behaved dogs welcome.

The Blenheim

The Blenheim is an 18th century building sitated on the seafront in Dawlish with 11 ensuite rooms enjoying sea views.

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.

Sea Light

Relax in a oasis of calm with organic drinks, delicious health-giving food, cream teas & licensed bar with original oil paintings

Salty Dog Kiosk, Holcombe

Relax in the sun where smugglers ran contraband off the beach into the night. Great coffee, proper scones & ice creams. 10am-4pm every day.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. From the South Beach Café in Devon Cliffs, with your back to the beach, turn left onto the South West Coast Path as it heads towards Exmouth and follow it through the holiday park.
  2. Go through the gate out of the park, up the hill, to carry on along the Coast path through the High Land of Orcombe, ignoring the footpath to your right, until you come to Orcombe Point.
  3. Here the path splits. Carry on along the Coast Path to the left, or take the higher path to the right: they join up again a little way ahead. The lower path has an optional detour down a rough path to an astonishing sandstone plateau. This forms the beach at Rodney Point when the tide is out.

The Geoneedle is constructed of the various rock types found along the Jurassic Coast World Heritage coastline and represents the sequence of rocks deposited along it. Celebrating 95 miles of internationally important rocks displaying 185 million years of the Earth's history, the Jurassic Coast is a geological walk through time. It spans the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. The rocks used in the Geoneedle include sandstone and the several different kinds of limestone that make this part of England a famous source of building stone. The stone has been used over many centuries for the construction of some of England's most famous buildings, including St Paul's Cathedral in London, as well as parts of Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, Hampton Court and Windsor Castle
The beach at Rodney Point is a part of the Exmouth Sandstone Formation, laid down during the Triassic period, about 250-200 million years ago, when Devon and Dorset were south of the equator in a hot, dry desert. The vivid colour of this striking platform of red rock is due to the presence of iron oxides, which tell geologists that there was no life in the desert at the time.
The platform some distance above the beach is a marine abrasion platform, or a raised beach, formed by wave action on the rocks after the last Ice Age, around 10,000 years ago. Sea levels were 8 -10 metres higher then with the weight of the ice sheets. As the ice melted the land mass of Great Britain rose.

  1. Where the two paths meet above the start of the seafront, there is again a choice of route: along the high path above the cliff or along Queen's Drive. If you take the top path, turn left onto Foxholes Hill and then left again at the roundabout, turning right at the bottom to continue as below.

There are tremendous views from the seafront across the Exe Estuary, which is an important place for wildlife. The vast mudflats are home to many invertebrate species such as clams, worms and snails, which feed on the wealth of miscroscopic algae and bacteria living in the mud. Each cubic metre of estuary mud is said to have the same number of calories as 14 Mars bars!
These invertebrates are a valuable food source for the thousands of wading birds which flock here in the winter. Bird species feeding and roosting on the mudflats include avocets, with their blue legs and curved bills, as well as large flocks of dunlins, which can be seen flying in formation to protect themselves from predators such as peregrine falcons.
Another important food source for the estuary's birds are the beds of eel grass. This is Britain's only flowering plant capable of growing in saltwater. 1% of the world's population of Dark-bellied Brent Geese and large flocks of Wigeons feed on the eel grass and the wetland areas around the Exe Estuary through the winter.

  1. Carry on along Queen's Drive, continuing ahead along the seafront when it turns into the Esplanade. Keep going across the roundabout, still on the Esplanade, to pass the clock tower and then the phone box on your right.

The Diamond Jubilee Memorial Clock Tower was built in 1897 for Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee. When it was first erected it was wound by hand by a Council employee. This original mechanism has since been replaced, and can now be seen working in the Exmouth Museum.
Exmouth has been a popular tourist resort since the eighteenth century. Then its Assembly rooms and seafront houses with stables and views attracted some illustrious members of fashionable Georgian society. They included Lady Byron and Lady Nelson (who is buried in the churchyard at Littleham - see the West Down Beacon Walk). In 1861, the arrival of the railway, linking the town with Exeter, brought with it a dramatic population explosion. Many of the buildings in Exmouth date from this time. In the first five days after the railway opened 10,000 people travelled on it, and by the 1880s there was a substantial volume of commuter traffic between here and Exeter. In 1903 the line was extended eastwards to Budleigh Salterton, where it joined the main London and South Western Railway Line.

  1. Take the next right, up Alexandra Terrace, bearing left onto Beacon Hill and then turning left onto Chapel Hill at the roundabout, with the Pilot Inn on your right.
  2. Bear left at the traffic island, keeping Lloyds Bank on your left as you reach The Strand. The bus stop back to Devon Cliffs Holiday Park is on the other side of the open area by the Savoy Cinema. Take the Stagecoach Devon bus 95 to Sandy Bay. The journey takes about 20 minutes.

Public transport

Buses run regularly between Littleham and Exmouth. Stagecoach Devon bus 95 runs from The Savoy cinema by The Strand in Exmouth to Sandy Bay with a journey time of about 20 minutes.

For further details visit www.travelinesw.com  or phone 0871 200 22 33.

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