Walk - Whalesborough Farm- The Kingfisher Walk

3.3 miles (5.2 km)

The Weir, Whalesborough Farm The Weir, Whalesborough Farm

Easy -

An easy walk which combines parts of the heritage feature of the Bude Canal, a secretive wooded valley, a coastal length with far-reaching views and a historic farmstead, all based on Whalesborough's cafe and wildlife centre. The canal and valley lengths are both home to kingfishers, a spectacular sight if you see one.

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.

Cerenety Eco Campsite, Bude

Old fashioned, peaceful, back to nature farm camping. Indulge in campfires and ball games while having a limited
impact on the environment.

North Shore Bude Backpackers

Comfortable self-catering with free wi-fi in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. Close to beaches,restaurants & bars with seaviews and large garden.

Breakwater House B&B, Bude

Breakwater House is a 5* B&B overlooking Bude's canal and sea. Off road parking, and breakfast are included. Close to Bude's best restaurants, pubs, town centre and all amenities.

Sea Jade, Bude

Sea Jade has 7 en-suite rooms and one other with a private bathroom. Come as a guest,leave as a friend.

The Grosvenor Guest House

Situated on the Path offering a variety of comfortable rooms, hearty breakfast, local produce, packed lunch, WI-FI, bar & drying facilities

Tee Side Guest House, Bude

Lovely B&B accommodation centrally located minutes from the Path, town & restaurants. Free WiFi. Visit England 4 Star Award Winning Full English Breakfast, vegetarian options available.

Wyvern Guest House,Bude

Only a few hundred metres from Crooklets beach and the beautiful rugged Cornish coastline. For the past 25 years, Wyvern has been offering very comfortable B&B to all its guests.

Pencarrol Guest House, Bude

Family run guest house in lovely Victorian building. En-suite facilities. Ideally located for the South West Coast Path.

Penhalt Farm Holiday Park, Bude

Our aim is that you should enjoy a happy carefree holiday using Penhalt Farm as a base to explore this beautiful corner of the South West

Higher Tresmorn Farm

A perfect place to stay, offering quiet or relaxing B&B accomodation in a friendly & cosy medieval farmhouse. Breathtaking views over the coastline-ideally located for the Coast Path.

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.

Brendon Arms

Bude's best known inn, owned and run by the Brendon family since 1872.Overlooking Bude's inner harbour and 200 yards from the unique sea-lock and Summerleazes Beach.

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.

Bayside Taxis, Bude

Locally based family-run taxi service. Ideally situated to transport walkers along the South West Coast Path.

Trev's Taxi, Bude

A local taxi service based in Bude in the beautiful county of Cornwall. Providing an efficient service around Bude and surrounding areas. Particularly convenient for visitors walking the Coast Path.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

Keep an eye open for the occasional blue kingfisher waymarks on this walk.

  1. From the cafe and wildlife centre at The Weir walk down the lane towards the A39 road. Just beyond the fishing lake turn left through the parking area and along the path to reach the Bude Canal.

The canal was opened in 1823. It was primarily constructed to carry sea sand from Bude to help fertilise the acidic soils inland. It also served to bring in coal and timber and take out agricultural goods. It ceased operating as a means of transport in 1900, its trade largely destroyed by the railway. However, it retains a number of important historic features and is regarded as being of considerable heritage importance. Look out for the plaque next to the canal which commemorates the improvement works carried out here in 2008 under the auspices of the Bude Canal Partnership, a group of local bodies and councils, with EU financial help.
The waterway on the right is the River Neet, while the canal itself, supplemented here by another river, the Strat, comes under the road bridge. The two rivers helped provide the canal's water supply.

  1. Continue along the towpath ahead.

The path passes a piece of public art, depicting giant chain links. The inscription “Skathow Kibel” means “tub boats” in the Celtic Cornish language. Tub boats, small vessels shaped a little like a bath tub, were the means of transporting goods on the canal.
A little further on the path passes a weir which marks the exit of the River Neet from the canal. Note the fish pass alongside the weir.
Keep on along the towpath.
This is ideal kingfisher territory. If you are lucky, you may see one sitting on a branch, intent on the water below. From here it will dart into the canal, a flash of blue and gold, to pluck a fish from the water. It then returns to its branch, often stunning the fish by beating it on the branch before swallowing it.
A little further on, the towpath reaches Whalesborough Lock.
The lock was renovated in 2008. It raised and lowered the water level by 5'6” (1.6m). It is one of the few locks on the canal, the boats mostly being raised and lowered on inclined planes.

  1. Walk a short way beyond the lock then, just before the next piece of canal-side public art, leave the towpath and follow the path on the left through reeds and rushes.

The inscription on the artwork reads “Gwydhyel”, Cornish for “wooded”, descriptive of the local scene.
A boardwalk crosses a marshy area of reeds and rushes and then on to a path along the bottom of a shallow valley alongside relatively recently planted trees.
The combination of wetland and woodland makes a good wildlife habitat and is the home of a variety of birds, including warblers and barn owls, as well as butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies. The trees were planted as part of a large-scale habitat improvement scheme by the Whalesborough landowners in 2001.

  1. Keep to the valley bottom until the path meets a hedge running into the valley next to a tributary stream. Follow the hedge left for a short distance then quickly turn right through a gap and across the tributary stream. On the far side bear left then right, to continue parallel to the main valley.

This quiet and remote valley flows into the valley of the River Neet to the east. Evidence of otters has been recorded here. Otters were close to extinction in England comparatively recently, though they never completely left areas such as North Cornwall. Quiet locations such as this are ideal for these shy creatures.
After descending back to the valley bottom the path climbs again then turns right through a gap in the hedge and on to arrive at the coast road (Marine Drive) next to a house. Cross the road to arrive at the South West Coast Path.
The house just behind is called Trevose View and if it is very clear it may be possible to see Trevose Head and its lighthouse many miles away to the south-west. More likely to be visible is the distinctive triangular shape of Cambeak, a headland near Crackington Haven, and beyond that the flat-topped Tintagel Island, home of its famous castle.

  1. Turn left along the Coast Path. It crosses a little valley then, with Widemouth Bay now visible ahead, reaches the top of a descent.

Widemouth Bay (pronounced “widmouth”) is very popular with surfers. It has a range of facilities including a shop, pub and seasonal toilets and refreshments.

  1. Do not descend towards Widemouth Bay but leave the Coast Path here, turning left to reach the coast road. Cross the road and walk along the track opposite.

This is a superb length of easy walking with extensive views stretching from Widemouth Bay to the village of Marhamchurch ahead, its church tower acting as a historic landmark for sailors.
Follow the track as it swings left then right then continues ahead, finally descending towards Whalesborough Farm.

  1. Approaching the farm, bear right along a gravel path. Follow this around the outside of the farm complex, descending to its main access track.

The farmhouse of Whalesborough can be seen to the left. Most of the outbuildings have been converted to high quality holiday accommodation. This is an ancient location, being mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as “Walesbrau”. It may well date from times when this area was a border between Saxon England and Celtic Cornwall, as the name seems to be Old English for “foreign (ie Cornish) hill”.

  1. Turn right along the main access track to return to The Weir.
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