The cliffs of east Devon




7.75 miles (12.5kms)

492ft (150m)
3hrs 30min

About the walk

Picturesque Branscombe, where three deep, wooded valleys converge, is one of the most secluded villages in this unspoiled corner within the East Devon National Landscapes (AONB). Pretty flower-decked cottages sit either side of a long narrow lane that runs gradually down the valley from Street, giving rise to the claim that Branscombe is one of the longest villages in the county.

This walk takes you to the village along the coast path from Weston. There are extensive views all along the path, and on a clear day Portland Bill can be seen to the east. The sloping grassy area on the cliff above Littlecombe Shoot is a popular spot for paragliders, and if the weather conditions are favourable you can spend hours sitting on the cliff top watching them. At the footpath marker post here, a sign leading right appears to direct you straight over the edge of the cliff. This steep, narrow, zig-zag path will take you on to the pebbly beach below.

St Winifred’s Church nestles halfway down the valley from Street, and is one of Branscombe’s treasures. Dedicated to an obscure Welsh saint, it dates from the 11th century and is significant in Devon in that it reveals evidence of continuous development up to the 16th century. The squat tower dates from Norman times. Inside, there are remnants of medieval paintings that once adorned the walls, an Elizabethan gallery and an unusual 18th-century three-decker pulpit. Near the village ‘centre’, by the village hall, many buildings are owned by the National Trust: The Old Bakery (the last traditional working bakery in Devon until 1987) is now a tea room, Manor Mill (a restored water-powered mill), and The Forge, complete with a working blacksmith. Branscombe Mouth beach is busy in summer, although it is pebbly and the seabed shelves away quickly. This is the halfway point of the walk and you can always wander a little way to east or west to escape the crowds.

Branscombe hit the national headlines in January 2007 when modern-day ‘wreckers’ invaded the beach in search of cargo washed up from the MSC Napoli which had foundered offshore.

Walk directions

From the car park take the flinty track through the gate and onto the footpath signposted ‘Weston Mouth’. As the track descends and the sea comes into view bear left on a permissive path under trees, and follow this to meet the coast path on Weston Cliff.

Turn left on the coast path. Pass Point 8 and go through two kissing gates on Coxe’s Cliff; after the second kissing gate the path runs inland via a deep combe towards a kissing gate in the top left corner of the field. Keep round the right edge of the next field and through a kissing gate on to grassland above Littlecombe Shoot.

At the footpath turn half left to Berry Barton. Aim for a broad gap in the bank ahead, keep ahead to a gate and kissing gate in the top corner of the next field, then turn left down the track to join the lane at Berry Barton.

Turn right down the lane to The Fountain Head pub. Turn right again down the valley, passing groups of thatched cottages and St Winifred’s Church (right). Continue downhill past The Forge to the village hall and St Branoc’s Well on the left.

Turn right opposite Bucknall Close down the lane signposted ‘Branscombe Mouth’. After 200yds (183m) at a path junction keep ahead through a small gate and follow the path to a footbridge (go left here for The Masons Arms). Follow the fenced path down the valley to reach the beach at Branscombe Mouth, with the Sea Shanty Beach Café on your left.

Turn immediately right through a kissing gate to join coast path signs uphill beneath the coastguard cottages (now a private house). Go through an open gateway and left uphill to a kissing gate. Keep left up steps, then ignore all paths to left and right until, after two kissing gates and 0.5 miles (800m), a signpost points left between old quarry workings towards the cliffs.

Follow the coastal footpath signs to rejoin the cliff edge via a gate, going through two more gates to reach Littlecombe Shoot. Retrace your steps through fields and kissing gates to regain Weston Cliff via another kissing gate.

Turn immediately right through a kissing gate into a wildflower meadow. Pass the cottage and outbuildings (on the right) over two stiles and on to a track leading to a tarmac lane. Go left and in a short while you’ll reach Weston and the car park.

Additional information

Coast path (one steep ascent), country lanes, several stiles

Exposed cliffs, farmland and woodland

Keep on lead around livestock and near unfenced cliffs

OS Explorer 115 Exmouth & Sidmouth

Grammar Lane car park, Weston

Behind Branscombe village hall, also in car park at Branscombe Mouth

Been on this walk?

Send us photos or a comment about this route.

Know a good walk?

Share your route with us.


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.

Why choose Rated Trips?

Your trusted guide to rated places across the UK
icon example
The best coverage

Discover more than 15,000 professionally rated places to stay, eat and visit from across the UK and Ireland.

icon example
Quality assured

Choose a place to stay safe in the knowledge that it has been expertly assessed by trained assessors.

icon example
Plan your next trip

Search by location or the type of place you're visiting to find your next ideal holiday experience.

icon example
Travel inspiration

Read our articles, city guides and recommended things to do for inspiration. We're here to help you explore the UK.