Around Hartland Point

NEAREST LOCATION

Hartland

RECOMMENDED BY
DISTANCE

10 miles (16.1kms)

ASCENT
328ft (100m)
TIME
6hrs
GRADIENT
DIFFICULTY
Hard
STARTING POINT
SS259245

About the walk

Although this walk is a little longer – and more difficult – than a lot of others in Devon, it's a must for anyone who wants to explore all of Devon properly. The section to the east of the A39 Bude to Bideford road is often ignored by tourist guides, and little explored – and that's exactly why it is so wonderful. The village of Hartland was described by a traveller in the 1790s as having 'an air of poverty that depresses it to a level with a Cornish borough' and you do get the impression that life here has been hard.

Hartland Point and Lundy Island

Devon's north west tip is characterised by an extraordinary change in the nature of the coast. The cliffs along the coast from Clovelly, to the east, although high, are relatively calm and flat-topped, yet turn the corner at Hartland lighthouse and you enter a different world, where the craggy rocks on the seabed run in jagged parallel lines towards the unforgiving cliffs. You can understand why this area is peppered with shipwrecks. The coast path to the south of the point traverses over what is, in effect, a mass of vertical tiltings and contortions, caused by lateral pressure on the earth's crust around 300 million years ago. Hartland means 'stag island', although the area is a peninsula, and the feeling of space and remoteness is made even stronger by the fact that on a clear day there are inviting views of Lundy island, rising majestically out of the sea 10 miles (16.1km) offshore. On stormy days, when the wind is so strong you can barely stand, Lundy mysteriously disappears into a blanket of mist and spray. Lundy island is basically a great lump of flat-topped granite, 52 million years old, 450ft (137m) high, 3 miles (4.8km) long and only 0.5 miles (800m) wide.

Extraordinary Hartland Quay dates back to 1586, when its building was authorised by Act of Parliament. Cargoes of coal, lime and timber were landed here, and in 1616 lead was brought in for repairs to the roof of St Nectan's Church at Stoke. The quay was active until 1893, and once abandoned was soon destroyed by the ravages of the sea. The buildings, including stables for the donkeys that carried goods up the cliff, have now been converted into the Hartland Quay Hotel, museum and shop.

Walk directions

Leave the car park past The Hart Inn and turn right down North Street. Turn left down a narrow lane signposted 'Hartland Point'. Cross Pattard Bridge then bear right. Just past a lane to the right, take the footpath right up steps and through a gate/stile. Walk to the top right corner of the field and over the bank to rejoin the lane.

Turn right and right again at Youltree Cross. After a few steps turn left at Moor Cross, signposted 'Exmansworthy'. The lane bears right; take the next lane left ('No Through Road'). Pass Exmansworthy Farm; turn right through the car park on to a grassy path, and cross a stile to a green lane. This ends at a stile into open fields. Follow the sign left, then go straight ahead to the coast path.

Go left over a stile, soon crossing another, then a footbridge. A run of fields with stiles/ gates follows; pass a junction (Exmansworthy left). Continue past Eldern Point and Shipload Bay.

Pass a sign to East Titchberry. Follow the coast path on, passing the radar tower at Barley Bay.

Follow the coast path through the car park (helicopter flights to Lundy) to pass the gates to the lighthouse (closed). Take the steep, narrow, concrete path left, then left again onto Blagdon Cliff, then Upright Cliff. Descend steeply into a combe then cross the stream via a footbridge/gate. Steep steps lead up the other side to a path junction. Follow the coast path right, soon descending into the Smoothlands Valley.

Climb steeply on to Blegberry Cliff. Descend carefully into the next combe and cross the stream via a gate, then up the other side and over a stile. Keep uphill through a gate, then descend to the combe at Blackpool Mill.

Pass behind the cottage, and cross the stream. (For Hartland Quay Hotel stay on the coast path, then follow the road back to Stoke and Hartland.) To complete the walk turn left, signed 'Stoke', through woodland. Follow the left edge of the field, climbing to a gate. The footpath ahead leads over a stile into St Nectan's churchyard. Leave via the lychgate.

Follow the road ahead. Before Hartland Mill turn left on a footpath. At the track turn right; keep ahead, then turn right as signed to cross the river and ascend through woodland. Follow a fenced path to a road. Turn right, then left into Hartland.

Additional information

Coast path through fields; country lanes, many stiles

Rugged coastline, farmland and quiet lanes

Keep on lead near livestock and unfenced cliffs

OS Explorer 126 Clovelly & Hartland

Car park in centre of Hartland village

Near car park and in Stoke village

Been on this walk?

Send us photos or a comment about this route.

Know a good walk?

Share your route with us.

Walking in safety

Read our tips to look after yourself and the environment when following this walk.

Find out more

About the area

Discover Devon

With magnificent coastlines, two historic cities and the world-famous Dartmoor National Park, Devon sums up all that is best about the British landscape. For centuries it has been a fashionable and much loved holiday destination – especially south Devon’s glorious English Riviera.

Close to the English Riviera lies Dartmoor, one of the south-west’s most spectacular landscapes. The National Park, which contains Dartmoor, covers 365 square miles and includes many fascinating geological features – isolated granite tors and two summits exceeding 2,000 feet among them. 

Not surprisingly, in Dartmoor the walking opportunities are enormous. Cycling in the two National Parks is also extremely popular and there is a good choice of off-road routes taking you to the heart of Dartmoor and Exmoor. Devon’s towns and cities offer stimulating alternatives to the rigours of the countryside.