Walk - To the Otter's Mouth

0.6 miles (0.9 km)

Lime Kiln Car Park, Budleigh Salterton -EX9 6JD Lime Kiln Car Park, Budleigh Salterton

Easy - A pleasant, mostly level walk along the shingle ridge to the mouth of the River Otter.

A pleasant, mostly level walk along the shingle ridge to the mouth of the River Otter. On a windy day it will be bracing as the sea crashes loudly onto the shingle shore. Compare the powerful roughness of the waves with the tranquility of the meandering river behind the shingle barrier.

For a longer walk why not combine this with either the walk along Budleigh Salterton's seafront or along the river to White Bridge.

To check that this walk is suitable for you click here where you can find additional mapping and photographs showing gradients, path surfaces, and other detailed information.

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.

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.

Southcombe Guest House, Sidmouth

Only 10 minutes from the South West Coast Path with easy transport links. Garden & terrace, baggage transfer available.Dog friendly.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. From the car park head for the promenade. The information board next to the coast path signpost is the start of our walk.

The car park is named after the old lime kiln by the entrance. Coal and limestone were brought in (usually from Brixham) on special flat-bottomed boats, which were beached here at high tide and then unloaded at low tide. The limestone was burnt in the kiln to make lime, which was used for fertiliser, and for plastering the walls of the cob cottages.

  1. Facing the sea turn left heading away from Budleigh Salterton and follow the rolled stone path towards the river mouth.

Budleigh Salterton's name comes from the 33 salters who made a living out of salt panning for the Abbot of Otterton Priory. Salt panning here goes back at least as far as Roman times, and possibly further.

Budleigh Salterton beach was formed almost entirely of cobbles and pebbles which the sea has eroded from the cliffs to the west of the beach. These were formed during the Triassic period, about 240 million years ago, when giant rivers flowed through a desert landscape, depositing these pebbles and sand, which subsequently dried out and were compressed into the red cliffs like those beyond the beach.

The pebbles are formed of a hard quartzite which has been found to be identical to one formed in Brittany some 450 million years ago. Budleigh Salterton pebbles have been found as far away as Hastings in Kent, having been swept along the coast by the sea.

  1. At the end of the rolled stone path there is a seat. From here you can enjoy the sea view. Venturing onto the shingle you can walk down to the river mouth.

From the time the Saxons first arrived here, in the eighth century, until Tudor times, the harbour was at Otterton, which was known then as Oterey Haven. Over time, however, shingle and pebbles were washed into the mouth of the river, and a massive storm in the sixteenth century blocked the mouth of it altogether. Plans to blast a new channel in it to restore shipping to Otterton were scuppered by the arrival of the railway in the nineteenth century, and the land was reclaimed for agricultural use, with labour provided by French prisoners of war following the Napoleonic Wars.

  1. Follow the lower path alongside the river estuary back to the information board and then on to the car park.

The Otter Estuary is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Consisting of salt marsh, reed beds, low-lying meadows and pastureland, it is very fertile, providing habitats for a rich diversity of wildlife. The salt marsh provides invaluable invertebrate life, which attracts many summer breeding and over-wintering birds. Cormorants and osytercatchers can be seen, as well as Brent Geese, wigeon, teal, and other migratory ducks.

Songbirds abound too: blackbirds and thrushes, as well as finches, warblers, wagtails and pipits. Rushes, reeds, flowering grasses and abundant wildflowers attract insects, including colourful dragonflies and damsel flies, as well as butterflies like the clouded yellow and the painted lady. Swallows, swifts and house and sand martins can be seen pursuing these, while kingfishers hover over the river in pursuit of the trout and salmon in its waters.

Public transport

Budleigh Salterton is accessible by bus from Exmouth and Sidmouth. Journey time 15 minutes from Exmouth, 25 minutes from Sidmouth. For timetable information, zoom in on the interactive map and click on the bus stops, visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33.

Parking

Lime Kiln car park (fee payable)

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