Bucks Woods to Bideford

24/6/14 No free weekends, so we thought that we should do a midweek walk while the weather was good. Drove to Bideford for the first bus to Bucks Cross. It was £1 for an all-day park and £1.50 on the bus. Through the holiday park to the path where we continued through the woods. A mile or so later we came out into Bucks Mill, a quiet little place.

It was soon back into the woods. More than the first hour of this walk was in the woods and would have been twice as long had we started at Clovelly. With only the occasional glimpse of the outside world, it started to get a little claustrophobic.

After Peppercombe, it started to open out. Unusually, we found ourselves on a deserted beach for a short stretch only to be greeted by man-made debris.

They were a few rolling hills then to take us on towards Westward Ho. We managed to lose the path there, but eventually came back out on the promenade.

The Surf on Inn looked a bit garish, but was pleasant enough for two pints of Tribute (4.2%) at £6.90. Then it was on to Northam Burrows. This was an interesting, unsegregated area of beach car park, golf  course, sheep and horse grazing and low-lying sand dunes.

After rounding that, Appledore came into view. The Royal George was shut and so the Beaver Inn was our first stop.

Pints of Otter Ale (4.5%) and Tribute (4.2%) for £6.70 with a game of pool here. Further along the quaint narrow streets, we came to the Seagate Inn on the quay.

We had pints of Smiler (3.7%) and Tribute (4.2%) for £6.70 in this 'poshified' establishment. The path then skirts inland around the shipyard, before continuing up the river, under the A39 bridge and into Bideford.

Hartland Quay to Bucks Woods

14/6/14 Another sunny day and we drove to Bideford Bay Holiday Park. The car park next to the shop looked to be close to the path and so we parked there and walked back to the main road for the bus to Hartland. A pasty later, we were walking along the shady road back to the quay. We'd already done the hill up to the toll booth and so we started along the cliff top.

St Nectans had been visible for the last few miles of the previous walk and was still there for the start of this one. The open countryside and cliff tops continued with the ups and downs as we headed towards Hartland Point.

There is no access to the Point and lighthouse itself and the area is a jumble of ancient and modern Coastguard and MoD structures. There is a refreshments cabin in the car park though which we made use of as it is the only one on this leg.

As soon as you round the point the character of the path changes for the first time in days and you find yourself walking through undergrowth and cultivated fields. There are still some ups and downs though as you approach Blackchurch Rock.

After that you find yourself on tracks in woodland heading towards Clovelly. It seems strange that the coastpath doesn't go through Clovelly itself, it just skirts around the hills above with glimpses of it through the trees.

There are possible routes through it which would surely benefit SWCP and the village owners. We did decide to deviate to the New Inn at the top of the village for some local ale. The path continues along a wide track for a few miles before emerging out into some fields. Soon an unsigned path branched off to the right and within a couple of hundred yards, we were back at the car.

Bude to Hartland Quay

31/5/14 I'm afraid that I forgot my camera for this trip. We parked in St Nectans car park in Stoke and then walked back to Hartland for the bus to Bude. After the previous week's exertions, I decided to bring a rucksack this time. I found a site saying that we had ascended over 5000 feet on that trip. A mere 4500 to go this time.

The walk out of Bude is easy enough, even if the lack of signs continued.

But it wasn't long before the ups and downs started. They kept coming.

I was waiting for the Devon border to appear and when we came across the Devon Wildlife Trust site at Marsland, I thought that we were there. But no. Fortunately we soon were though and Sid replenished himself with water from a hut.

There were various animals grazing the cliffs from here.

Embury Beacon marked the high point and we were lucky that the walk after that was mainly a gradual downhill one to Speke's Mill.

The signs there were confusing again, but we soon stumbled into the Wreckers Retreat at Hartland Quay.

Pints of Hartland Quay Bitter and Healey's Cider for £6.80 didn't touch the sides before walking up the hill and back to Stoke.