Walk - Wembury to Mount Batten Point

5.8 miles (9.4 km)

Wembury Beach Car Park - PL9 0HP Mount Batten Point - PL9 9SL

Moderate - A fairly level walk, with some steep but short climbs

Park at Mount Batten Point and take a foot ferry across the Plymouth Sound to the Barbican, a short stroll from the bus station. From here you can catch the bus to Wembury and walk back along the Coast Path, where there are stunning views across the Plymouth Sound. The Great Mewstone, along the way, was the inspiration for Turner's famous 'Mewstone' watercolour and is now a bird sanctuary. Mount Batten Point and the headlands beyond it have been key sites for defending Plymouth throughout history, and there are fascinating glimpses of several of the 'Palmerston Follies', a ring of coastal forts built around Plymouth at the end of the nineteenth century.

The walk is part of our "Summer Strolls". Use the walk (or part of it) to visit the beach at Wembury, which is a Marine Conservation Area and a great spot for rock pooling.

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.

Wembury Bay Bed and Breakfast

10 minutes walk from Wembury Beach. Choice of 3 rooms, a twin en suite, a twin room or double. Rooms are fitted with TV's and Tea/coffee facilities. Wi Fi, washing/drying available, packed lunches on request. Pub close by.

Drakes View

Pop-up site close to Bovisand beach. No facilities.

Wembury Camping

Small site with hot shower and real loo. Near shop and pub with sea views. Just off the path and 15 minutes from the Yealm Ferry.

Edgcumbe Guesthouse

Just yards from the seafront this top quality guest house offers gorgeous en suite rooms, free wifi,hairdryers,generous beverage trays.

The Duke of Cornwall Hotel

A stunning hotel set in the heart of Britain's Ocean City with 72 individually styled bedrooms, a cosy Lounge and fine dining restaurant.

Leonardo Hotel

The Leonardo Hotel Plymouth is a modern city hotel, located a five-minute walk from Plymouth’s historic harbour and close to cafes and restaurants. Hotel bar with food menu available.

Maker Camp

Escape at Maker Heights. 'Wild' camping campsite, popular cafe and arts & crafts studios on site.10 mins walk from beach, village/pub. Part of Rame Conservation Trust.

Coombe House B&B

Beautifully renovated farmhouse, stunning sea views, ample carparking, 15 mins from the Path, 5 mins from Kingsand/Cawsand offering 4 pubs for dinner. Highly recommended on Trip Advisor.

Wringford Cottages

We are a family run, dog friendly, holiday cottage complex set it 3 acres with a heated indoor swimming pool, tennis court and 6 cottages.

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 Old Mill Cafe

Located right on Wembury beach. A National Trust building run by sisters Jemma and Jennifer. We provide light refreshments, locally roasted organic coffee, delicious pasties from local supplier and homemade sandwiches and soup to have in or takeaway.

Ocean Studios

Ocean Studios is Real Ideas’ hub of creative energy, with a stunning exhibition and café space, located in the stunning Royal William Yard, a stones' throw from the SWCP.

Domea FavourChocolate

Award winning bespoke handmade made chocolate, truffles & baked goods

The V.O.T

Just a stone’s throw from the Royal William Yard, The V.O.T perfectly combines old with new, fusing together historical structure and contemporary design. Serving tapas, snacks, drinks & Coffee. Holiday cottage accommodation next door.

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.

Mount Batten Watersports and Activities Centre

The Mount Batten Watersports and Activities Centre is located right on the South West Coast Path on the beautiful Mount Batten peninsula.

Hannah Wisdom Textiles

Textile artist creating original works by sewing on old sea charts of the South West Coast. Designs are also printed across a range of home and gift items.

Plymouth Tourist Information Centre

Drop in to find all the information you need to enjoy Plymouth's Ocean City experience, including where to visit, stay and eat and drink

Cremyll Ferry - Operated by Plymouth Boat Trips

Loved for centuries by all who have travelled on her, the historic Cremyll Ferry provides a gateway to discover this beautiful part of the South West.

River Yealm Electric Water Taxi

Community Electric Water Taxi (YCET) serving the River Yealm (Warren Point to Old Cellars) l

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. Coming out of the entrance to the car park at Wembury Beach turn left, towards the beach, and take the South West Coast Path on your right. The path passes a boat park and continues along a flat open area that was once the shoreline. Ignoring the smaller paths heading away inland, carry on around Wembury Point.

A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for both its geology features and the wildlife it supports, Wembury Point's rocky reefs are the perfect habitat for all kinds of rockpool creatures. Even at low tide, they provide shelter for a wide range of marine species, including the pipe fish (an armour-plated eel related to the sea horse) and the Cornish sucker fish, which looks like an oversized slug. Other unusual species to be found here are the sea scorpion and the spiny starfish, as well as shore crabs, spider crabs, edible crabs and lobsters. A rare type of herring known as the 'allis shad' is found here, as well as the unusual breed of dogfish known as a 'bull huss', which lays its eggs in a 'mermaid's purse'.

Geologically, Wembury is noted for its coastal sand and shingle, and its steep slopes of sea-cliff grassland and mixed shrub. Much of the shoreline is a wave-cut platform, a beach left high and dry when the sea level dropped after the last Ice Age, and the cliff-line features important areas of degraded fossils. One of Devon's largest populations of the rare plant Shore Dock grows here, and it is an important site for wintering and nesting birds. Listen out for cirl buntings in the bushes, and watch out for the swift and deadly dive of a peregrine falcon as it hunts its prey.

For almost a century the headland at Wembury Point was in military use. In 1956 it became HMS Cambridge, used by the Royal Navy for much of its gunnery training until 2001.

In 1744 the tiny wedge-shaped island of the Mewstone was the home to a local man 'deported' there after some petty crime. When his seven-year sentence expired he returned to the mainland, but his daughter elected to stay on the island, raising her three children there until her husband fell off a rock and drowned.

Subsequently, several other people lived on the Mewstone. The last was nineteenth-century warrener Sam Wakeham, who lived with his wife, Ann, in a turreted little house (still visible using binoculars on Wembury cliffs). He created a garden that he fertilised with sand and seaweed, and kept poultry and a couple of pigs. He also ran a ferry service 'to the Moonstone, for anyone on the mainland who holds up their white pockethanchecuffs for a signal'. 

  1. At the far side of Wembury Point, the Coast Path merges with Marine Drive, the old access road around HMS Cambridge. Carry on ahead, bearing left with the road and then forking left onto Beach Road. At the end of this road continue ahead along the Coast Path, around Heybrook Bay and then Westlake Bay.
  2. Passing the lighthouse at Andurn Point the Coast Path heads takes a ninety-degree turn above the southern edge of Crownhill Bay and joins Bovisand Lane, making another sharp turn as it carries on in front of the rows of chalets and on above the beach below Bovisand Park.
  3. At the far end of Crownhill Bay, Bovisand Lane turns abruptly right around the chalets. Carry on ahead along the Coast Path as it rounds the sandy beach at Bovisand Bay and rejoins Bovisand Lane just beyond. Turn left to walk through the car park, taking the higher road beyond the terrace of elegant cottages to continue along the Coast Path.

Detour left here for a fascinating glimpse of Bovisand Fort, one of a ring of forts built around Plymouth in the nineteenth century to protect the naval base from anticipated French invasions (see the Tregantle Walk). In 1860, Prime Minister Lord Palmerston established a Royal Commission to produce a plan for the defence of Plymouth and other Royal Dockyards. Bovisand was one of two coastal batteries intended to cover the entrances to Plymouth Breakwater, with this fort covering the east entrance while Picklecombe Fort in Cornwall covered the west.

Bovisand's oldest structure is the harbour. This dates back to Napoleonic times and was built in conjunction with the breakwater so that ships at anchor could send longboats to collect water. An underground pipe still leads to the jetty from a large reservoir.

Bovisand itself was basically two forts. The earlier part, the Upper Fort, (Staddon Point Battery), was built in 1847 and consisted of a three-storey structure with four gun emplacements in front and a dry moat behind. The Palmerston commission strengthened it with a heavy casemated battery below it to the south, with space for 23 heavy guns. Lookout towers and further gun positions on the roof were added during the Second World War. The Lower Fort was finished in 1868 and consisted of 23 casemates with a magazine beneath. It was occupied by H.M. forces until after the Second World War when it was abandoned. It became a diving school in 1970.

On Shovel Rock, 35 yards inside the Breakwater, work started in 1861 on the oval masonry of the associated Breakwater Fort. The main structure was completed in 1865. In 1879 the fort was armed with fourteen 12.5-inch and four 10-inch rifled muzzle-loading guns. It was disarmed before the First World War but continued to serve as a signal station. From 1937 it was an anti-aircraft training school. It was finally released by the military in 1976.

  1. Beyond the fort, you cross a large footbridge over a cutting.

The cutting was excavated to enable munitions and supplies to be transported to Brownhill Battery, on the hillside above as you continue towards the partner fort at Staddon Heights, ahead.

  1. At Staddon the Coast Path carries on below Staddon Lane, travelling through the woodland that skirts Staddon Heights golf course.
  2. At Jennycliff the path passes the cafe with the knitted 'breakfast' sign and carries on above Rum Bay and behind the rocky arm of Dunstone Point and Batten Bay, beyond it.

From Jennycliff there are tremendous Views across the Plymouth Sound. From the Breakwater and Penlee Point on the left, via Kingsand, Cawsand and Mount Edgcumbe immediately ahead, the vista passes Drake's Island to the Tamar Estuary and Plymouth itself, leading on to the Hoe in the foreground.

  1. Reaching Lawrence Road at Mount Batten, turn left onto it to walk to Mount Batten Point.

From as long ago as the Bronze Age, 4000 years ago, Mount Batten was a major port and commercial trading centre. A number of archaeological excavations discovered evidence of very early Mediterranean trade links, Celtic coins from the first century BC and traces of Roman occupation until the third century AD. More recently, the defensive tower on the summit dates from the 1650s, when the Anglo-Dutch Wars were fought at sea.

In 1917 it became a Royal Navy Air Service seaplane station. This became RAF Cattewater the following year, and in 1928 it was renamed RAF Mount Batten. Its purpose was to provide a base for flying boats to defend south-west England, but it was also a base for high-speed air-sea rescue launches. In the 1930s, it employed Aircraftman Shaw, better known as T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia), who was the person to suggest its change of name.

There was an increase in operational flying from Mount Batten during the Second World War, and it was the target for a number of German air raids. At the end of the war, it became a Maintenance Unit and later the Marine Craft Training School.

Public transport

You can leave your car in the free car park at Mount Batten Point where you will end the walk. Take a foot ferry across to the Barbican, a short stroll from the bus station, and catch the bus to Wembury from the road above it.

For timetable information, zoom in on the interactive map and click on the bus stops, visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33


Wembury Beach Car Park (Postcode for Sat Navs: PL9 0HP), Mount Batten Point (Postcode for Sat Navs: PL9 9SL.)


Walk Finder


Postcode, placename or click the icon to use current location

Click/hold and drag the map to set the centre point of your search location under the red crosshair

from this location


Length (miles)



Find somewhere to Eat & Drink, Sleep or Do


Postcode, placename or click the icon to use current location

Click/hold and drag the map to set the centre point of your search location under the red crosshair

from this location

Interactive Map


Latest news