Walk - Hope's Nose

3.7 miles (6.0 km)

Kents Cavern car park - TQ1 2JF Kents Cavern car park

Moderate - The walk itself is on good paths and pavements which are mostly level, but the detours to look at the rocks and fossils on the beaches and on Hope's Nose itself are steep and stony, with some scrambling involved. Wear appropriate footwear and take especial care if it is wet.

A short but fascinating exploration of the geology and history around Hope's Nose. The limestone rocks, laid down in tropical seas, are full of fossils, and the route follows the Victorian Bishop's Walk through the woods between Anstey's Cove and Meadfoot Beach. Allow time to visit Kents Cavern, where evidence was found of the world's earliest humans, who lived here almost half a million years ago!

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.

Vane Tower Penthouse

Panoramic views of sea, shore & moor from this luxury 2 bed self-catering apartments in one of Torquay's most iconic buildings. Very close to the coast path. Free wifi.

The Imperial

Victorian four-star hotel overlooking Torquay and the beautiful South Devon coastline

Coastguard Cottage

Small, cosy cottage accommodatioon with all rooms en-suite and with wifi. Close to many amenities. A substantial breakfast is provided.

Aveland House

Situated in Babbacombe close to the South West Coast Path. All en-suite rooms,Free Wi Fi. See our website www.avelandhouse.co.uk for more details

Morley Guest House

The Morley offers a comfortable bed & good breakfast. Close to Torre Abbey. 10 minute walk to the Beach, Harbour and South West Coast Path.

Garway Lodge Guest House

Enjoy a 4 Star Award-Winning guest house bed & breakfast. Situated in Torquay. Early Breakfasts are available upon request.

The Headland Hotel & Spa

Sitting on the headland with stunning views, set in 2 acres of grounds within minutes of the Path. Facilities include Spa, restaurant, gallery lounge and sun terrace overlooking the bay.

Palace Hotel

Set in beautiful grounds on Paignton's Esplanade just a stone's throw from the seafront and the SW Coast Path. Treat yourself to lunch or a cream team on the sun lounge or pamper yourself in the health suite.

The Haldon Guest House

Situated 3 minutes walk from Paignton beach, pier and town centre, we are ideally located for exploring the beautiful English Riviera and beyond. Tasty breakfast and a sunny garden.

The Clifton at Paignton

Steve and Freda look forward to welcoming you to the Clifton, which is ideally located, just off the sea front. Around the corner from shops and stations. Within easy reach of Dartmoor.

Sea Tang Guest House

Friendly, family run guest house located a few steps form the sea with beautiful views across Torbay.

Beacon House B&B

Nestled in the harbour bowl, we command breathtaking views of harbour, marina and beyond the breakwater, 4 x en suite bedrooms, sumptuous breakfast. A warm welcome awaits.

Sea Salt

Luxury cottage stone's throw from the SW Coast Path, harbour and amenities. Super king & double, terrace, kitchen diner, wood burner. Private parking. 30 mins from Dartmoor.

Westbury Guest House

A 14th century Georgian Guest House with great charm and character. Short level walk from the harbour, pubs and restaurants.

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 Guardhouse Cafe

Home-made seasonal food, cream teas and delicious coffee, all served with a smile and stunning views from our cliff-top Napoleonic Fortress.
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.

Living Coasts

Playful Penguins, Otters, Octopus, Seals and much more. Cafe with panoramic sea views- free for non-visitors

Paignton Zoo

Over 2000 animals spread across 80 acres, you're in for a really wild time. Rain or shine, enjoy a fun-filled day out.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. Taking the steps from the Kents Caverns car park down to Ilsham Road, go into field opposite, walking around the playing field towards Anstey's Cove. Take a detour down the steep path to visit the tranquil cove, with its shingle beach and dramatic rocks.

The spectacular caves in Kents Cavern provided a home for some of the earliest humans, and flint axes have been found that were made by Heidelberg man almost 500,000 years ago, as well as more sophisticated tools made by succeeding generations of Stone Age people including Neanderthals. Details can be found at www.kents-cavern.co.uk

  1. From the corner of Anstey's Cove car park pick up the South West Coast Path SWCP and follow it through the trees and around Black Head.

This path is known as Bishop's Walk. Today's Palace Hotel was once Bishopstowe, the Victorian home of Henry Philpotts, Lord Bishop of Exeter. Built in 1841 in the exotic Italianate style, with the path laid out around Black Head for the bishop's contemplative strolls, the palace incorporated 9 main bedrooms as well as 11 servants' bedrooms and a large shed for washing carriages! The palace was later bought by a bicycle magnate, George Hands, who designed the Calthorpe, one of the earliest cars. In the First World War Hands manufactured as many as 35,000 grenades a week before retiring to Torquay and turning Bishopstowe into a hotel. In the Second World War, the palace was a military hospital for RAF officers and was twice bombed by the Germans, killing 64 people. After the war, the hotel was rebuilt in its present form.

  1. When the Coast Path comes to Ilsham Marine Drive cross the road and turn left, walking along the footpath on the grassy bank above the road.
  2. Rejoining Ilsham Marine Drive directly opposite Hope's Nose, detour briefly over the stile across the road to visit Hope's Nose. Returning to the stile afterwards, turn left to carry on along the road, picking up the Coast Path again to follow it around Thatcher Point at the northern end of Tor Bay.

Part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for both its rock formations and its coastal fauna and flora, Hope's Nose is named from the word 'hoop' because the space enclosed by its hooked shape provided a temporary anchorage for ships caught in rising south-westerly gales.

The limestone around Torbay is unique to the area, providing the perfect habitat for some unusual plants, which are themselves food for the rare small blue butterfly. Look out for the tiny clover-like bright yellow flowers of kidney vetch, the miniature pink sweet-pea flowers of restharrow and the autumn squill's pyramid clusters of delicate lilac stars. The more invasive species such as blackthorn, ash and sycamore are cut back where they pose a threat to these more fragile plants, but the scrub has been left elsewhere to provide a range of habitats for a variety of wildlife.

The limestone around the headland was extensively quarried in the past, with the rock being carried out by boat, and the cliffs in the quarry below provide dramatic evidence of Torbay's exotic history. Formed in the Devonian period, some 370 million years ago, Torbay's rocks were covered by shallow seas, where corals, sponges and shelled animals flourished in tropical reefs. In good light, it is possible to spot tiny coral fossils in the rocks, and curled shell fossils known as goniatites.

  1. Arriving on Ilsham Marine Drive once more, turn left to walk towards Meadfoot Beach, following the Coast Path down to the car park to visit the beach. Returning to the car park afterwards, cross Ilsham Road and go over the green to take the footpath through the woodland, walking up Ilsham Valley to return to the car park at Kent's Cavern where the walk began.

At the southern end of the beach, scramble over the rocks beyond the cafe to Triangle Point, where more fossils are spectacularly displayed. Check these out in the limestone blocks of the sea wall along Meadfoot Sea Road above the beach.


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