Wembury Beach and the River Yealm

The valley of the Yealm, with a return along the cliffs to the Marine Conservation Area




4 miles (6.4kms)

164ft (50m)

About the walk

The parish of Wembury has an excellent network of well-maintained rights of way, giving all sorts of circular walk options. This route affords fantastic views over South Devon’s most beautiful estuary – the River Yealm, with views up Newton Creek, both popular with sailors – with a return along the Coast Path. Long distance routes feature here too: the Devon Coast to Coast route – a combination of the Two Moors Way (102 miles/164km) and the Erme–Plym Trail (14 miles/22.5km) – meets the south coast at Wembury beach.

The beach here is a great place for rock-pooling and spotting all manner of marine life. Information is available at the Marine Centre by the car park (open from Easter to the end of September, closed Mondays and Tuesday until May, then open from Tuesday–Sunday); entry is free, but donations are welcomed, and a variety of seasonal events take place, such as beach cleans and rockshore rambles. The foreshore at Wembury Point was formed over 400 million years ago, and is part of a European Special Area of Conservation for its flora and fauna. Several unusual species of fish, molluscs, worms and seaweeds have been recorded on the rocky reefs and wave-cut platforms.

The church is situated in magical position above Blackstone Rocks, and it’s hardly surprising to learn that the 15th-century tower has been used by sailors as navigation landmark for hundreds of years. It’s thought that the present church stands on the site of a Saxon oratory, dating possibly from the 9th century and replaced by a Norman church in the 12th century.

Walk directions

Ascend steps near the car park entrance, and at the second Coast Path post, turn left through a kissing gate. Follow the left edge of a meadow (for St Werburgh’s Church, turn left through a hedge gap), and go through a kissing gate onto a track.

Meet a lane, and turn left and almost immediately right through a kissing gate into a field. Keep ahead and through a kissing gate. Follow the left edge of two fields, then go through a kissing gate onto a fenced path. The next gate meets a footpath T-junction on a green lane (Brownhill Lane).

Go straight ahead through a gate. The right of way heads straight across the field, towards the right end of a very high wall (just to left of Wembury House, a late Georgian manor). Turn right alongside the wall, and pass through a kissing gate onto the lane.

Turn right along the lane. Where it bears right towards New Barton Farm, keep straight on through a gate onto National Trust land at Warren Point. Follow a stony track, Warren Lane.

At a footpath sign turn left through a gate and walk along the top edge of the field. Turn right at the end, then left along a fenced section, and along the top edge of the next field to a footpath post. Turn right downhill towards the River Yealm. Pass through two gates and descend to a footpath junction.

Turn right to walk through Clitters Wood (bluebells), eventually passing above the Old Coastguard Station. A few paces on, pass through a gate and turn right up steps. At the next signpost turn right, signed ‘Wembury village’ (note the Warren Point/ferry is down to the left). This path reaches the Coast Path at a junction by Rocket Cottage.

Follow the Coast Path ahead, soon passing through two kissing gates, and later a third (Dartmoor ponies are used to preserve the clifftop maritime grassland here). At a fork keep left, with views to Cellar Beach. Drop across a stream, and views open up to Wembury Point and Rame Head in Cornwall beyond. Pass through another kissing gate. Eventually the path descends through another kissing gate to leave National Trust land.

Pass a footpath on the right. Where the track bears right inland, keep ahead on the Coast Path. At the next fork (the path ahead runs into the field by the church) bear left and follow the Coast Path to return to the starting point.

Additional information

Fields, tracks and woodland paths

Farmland, estuary, coast

On lead around livestock

OS Explorer OL20 South Devon

National Trust car park, Wembury

Wembury beach

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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.

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