Oaklea's 3 Favourite Winter Walks

18 January 2024
Winter Walks Oaklea Dog Friendly Holidays Woolacombe

Winter is a great time of year to visit Woolacombe and Mortehoe if you enjoy getting out in the fresh air for a bracing walk!

Our friends at Oaklea, a lovely 4 bedroom, dog friendly holiday home in the heart of Woolacombe, have written about their 3 Favourite Winter Walks starting from their front door!

You can find about more about their property here ... https://www.woolacombetourism.co.uk/accommodation/self-catering/oaklea or read on for descriptions of the walks!

Woolacombe to Ilfracombe

The Woolacombe to Ilfracombe walks is a fantastic introduction of what North Devon has to offer – dramatic scenery, with tall cliffs along the coastline, wildflowers growing along narrow paths, waves violently crashing on to rocky, empty beaches.

It is not a difficult trail, but it isn’t easy either! The total distance is approximately 8 miles. The terrain is very rugged, with plenty of rocks and slippery areas. You will need to wear hiking shoes that have a good grip. Hiking poles are useful, but not necessary.

The first part of the walk is very easy. You can walk from Woolacombe Beach and walk along the Coast until you reach Barricane and Combesgate Beaches, then past the Watersmeet Hotel you follow the South West Coast Path. The path uphill is quite steep, but not very long.

The views over Woolacombe Beach from the top are breath-taking. Keep going until you get to Morte Point.

This section of the trail is fairly easy and pretty spectacular, and passes Rockham Beach, which is gorgeous and wild. From Rockham, the path continues inland away from the rocks. It’s a steep climb up, with plenty of steps.

Bull Point is another deadly part of the coast of North Devon. Over time, hundreds of vessels perished on the rocks beneath Bull Point. As a result of this, in 1879 Bull Point Lighthouse was built (and subsequently replaced in the 1970’s with you structure you see today). The next part of this is quite difficult, rising steeply up, then down the cliffs.

There is more climbing up steep steps to do, before finally starting the descent towards Lee Beach. This is the hardest part of the hike from Woolacombe to Ilfracombe. From Lee Beach, the path continues steadily uphill on a paved narrow road, shared with traffic. It’s a good mile of climbing, around 400 meters, without any places to stop and rest. At the top of the hill, once the trail gets back on the grass, crossing a field, there is a sign saying ‘Flat Point’. It doesn’t last that long though! The field is home to cows, so if you are hiking with a dog, make sure it’s on a lead. After another half a mile or so, you can finally see the rooftops of Ilfracombe. Another two hills and you will reach the town. Time to stop for some well-deserved food and drink, before catching a bus or taxi back to Woolacombe.

Woolacombe to Putsborough

After the walk to Ilfracombe you may want an easy day!
So take the path behind Oaklea – just cut through the alley and turn right past the school. On the right is a path, we call it the Fairy Tree Path, and it is signposted Gora Lane. Continue up the hill, through a couple of gates until you reach the beach car park. (You can start this walk from the car parks in Woolacombe if you aren’t staying at Oaklea! Just head for the Dunes and then continue to follow these directions). Then cut across the Dunes to get down to the beach. If you want to stop for a morning coffee and cake, keep walking through the car park until you get to The Porthole Café (open Friday – Monday during the winter) and then make your way down through the Dunes. It is a flat beach walk all the way to Putsborough (about 45 minutes). And then you can stop for your second coffee and choice of snack at the café (open daily all year). Walk back by climbing up past the car park above the beach, and turn left along the coastal path and you will have magnificent views from above the beach. We love this walk!

Woolacombe to Potter’s Hill

Scale North Devon’s mini-mountain, then walk along miles of golden sands at Woolacombe, one of Britain’s best beaches.

Starting from the village of Woolacombe, this National trust walk sets off around the ancient mound of Potter’s Hill. If you have the energy take a short detour and climb to the top of this gentle giant; for centuries walkers have enjoyed incredible views from the summit.

From Oaklea, turn right out of the alley through the footpath signed Gora Path, then just keep climbing! Then continue onto the green slope of Woolacombe Down, enjoying the views of the beautiful coastline in all directions. You return to Woolacombe along the South West Coast Path, passing through sand dunes that are a riot of colour and wildlife at all times of the year.

Working in partnership with the National Trust, the Woolacombe & Mortehoe Tourist Information Centre on Woolacombe’s Esplanade is packed with local info, treats and gifts. They also stock a wide range of useful walking maps and books!

For more information on local walks visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/devon/woolacombe


Winter Walks Oaklea Dog Friendly Holidays Woolacombe

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