Walk - Putsborough Marine Drive

2.6 miles (4.2 km)

Marine Drive Car Park Marine Drive Car Park

Easy - The path along the South West Coast Path is wide except for one stretch above Putsborough Sands where the path (gradient - 1:7 uphill for about 10 metres) narrows to a width of just over a metre. A second gradient near Broadsands Bungalow rises for 100 metres at 1:12.

An easy level walk above Morte Bay with spectacular views from Baggy Point to Morte Point and out to Lundy. The beach stretches for over 2 miles. This is an easy access walk suitable for wheelchairs, pushchairs and trampers. Those of us with, at least, a moderate level of fitness will enjoy this walk.

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.

Sunnymead Farm Camping & Touring Site

Small friendly family run 4 AA Pennant Campsite, stunning views, dogs welcome FOC, hot showers, EHU's, large level pitches, play area

Pickwell Barton

Unique peaceful, stunning location, 4 star Gold award cottages with private access through fields to the Coast Path and fabulous beaches, 1 mile from villages of Georgeham & Croyde.

Marine House B&B

We are a small modern B&B in the center of Woolacombe, just 2 minutes walk from the beach and the South West Coast path.

Combas Farm

Combas Farm is a 17th century farmhouse, located in a wonderfully secluded valley, with a beautiful garden and unspoiled views.

Lundy House

Lundy House B&B sits between Mortehoe and Woolacombe on the North Devon coast. Surrounded by National Trust land. Great breakfasts. Dogs and dirty boots welcome.

The Whiteleaf

An AA award winning Four star Gold Guest House offering en-suite fully equiped rooms, some with balconies, close to the footpath.

Breakers B&B, Croyde

Beach-side B&B only 1 minute from the Coast Path, with stunning ocean views, comfortable en-suite rooms and a warm welcome after a long day's walk.

Lee Meadow Farm Camping

Traditional campsite set in lovely countryside beside the Coast Path. Visit the farm animals, free hot showers, farm shop & tea room on site. Ehup available.

Silver Cottage B&B

A charming two double bedroom B&B, private sitting room, kitchenette, terrace and shower room. A warm welcome for walkers. No extra charge for single night stays or single occupancy

The Laurels B&B

A warm welcome will greet you from this family owned B&B in the heart of Braunton within easy reach of village facilities and the magnificent local beaches.

North Cottage

Close to the Coast Path, village centre with restaurants & pubs, beach and golf course. Double, single & twin rooms, available Wifi.

Marsdens Devon Cottages

One of Devon’s leading agencies with over 450 cottages in popular locations including Croyde, Woolacombe, Braunton and Lynmouth. Book online today!

Trojen Bed & Breakfast

Relax in our B&B situated half a mile from Coast Path in a quiet cul de sac in Braunton. Private lounge/ diner and super King ensuite with views of estuary to Appledore.

Bennings B&B

Friendly, family run B&B. Double and twin rooms, both en suite. No charge for Wi-Fi. Great location and generous breakfast for your next day's walk!

Westwell Hall

Luxury, adults only, guest house with direct access to the Coast Path. Cordon Bleu evening meals available. Fabulous 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.

Lee Meadow Farm Shop

The home of Glampig home reared pork cuts,our own eggs, fresh baked bread and pastries, cream teas, lite bites, amazing cooked breakfast, bbq products, dog friendly,free parking.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

A walk above Morte Bay with spectacular views from Baggy Point to Morte Point and out to Lundy. The beach stretches for over 2 miles. Woolacombe Sands is over two miles (3km) long and was given to the National Trust in 1909 by Miss Rosalie Chichester of Arlington Court in memory of her parents. She was also largely responsible for the creation of the holiday village as we see it today.

  1. Park along Marine Drive (fee payable).

The path is wide except for one stretch above Putsborough Sands where the path (gradient - 1:7 uphill for about 10 metres) narrows to a width of just over a metre.

Below can be seen the dunes of Woolacombe Warren. Erosion is a major problem in these sand dunes. Prior to the Second World War they were used as a golf course and during the war they were devastated by defensive works and invasion training. Nowadays, constant use of the paths adds to erosion. In the 1970s, marram grass was planted to stabilise the sand - to great success and grazing by rabbits encourages the growth of plants such as thyme, eyebright and yellow stonecrop. Bee orchids and pyramidal orchids can also be seen, as well as mats of lichens. Rare plants such as Portland spurge, sea holly and sea spurge grow at the Woolacombe end of the sand dunes.

  1. A second gradient near Broadsands Bungalow rises for 100 metres at 1:12.

Whatever the season there is spectacular coastal scenery even if you have to turn back at either of the gradients. There are no steps or seats along the route. There are toilets halfway along the Marine Drive car park.

  1. At Putsborough Beach carpark there is a cafe. The cafe is open every day from April until the end of October and all weekends throughout the winter.

At the beginning of the Second World War these beaches were protected by barbed wire and guns, with large posts positioned across the beach to stop enemy boats and aircraft landing. In 1943 the beaches were put to a very important and secret purpose - as the training grounds for the US Assault Training Centre. American troops took over the coastline from Morte Point to Appledore in preparation for landing on the Normandy beaches on D-Day, 6 June 1944.

A fascinating account of local life during the Second World War can be found in the BBC archives. Written by "Woolacombe Girl" it vividly describes how life changed in the area. At one point she writes..." 'My Mother remembers the excitement of seeing the first troops of the London Yeomanary arrive who were sent to defend Woolacombe against invasion. Heading the regiment was Colonel Carr who already conveniently owned a house a Putsborough at the far end of Woolacombe beach. They requisitioned Putsborough Sands & the Woolacombe Bay Hotel for their Headquarters and many other houses and small hotels for the rest of the regiment , one of which was Heatherlea at Putsborough. Heatherlea was burnt to the ground in 1941 resulting in the death of one person , the cook who foolishly went back for her treasured possessions. Locals remember Lady Carr being chauffeur driven along the Marine Drive to do her shopping at Woolacombe.'

  1. There is an alternative route back along the sands (though NOT for wheelchairs, pushchairs or trampers) BUT there are dunes with a steep climb for 10 metres before finding a signposted path back to Marine Drive.

Parking

Marine Drive Car Park is run by Mortehoe Parish Council. Fee payable in summer. Open from 8.00am to 10.00pm.

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