Duckpool and steeples walk

Duckpool, Cornwall EX23 9JN

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Discover the secrets of the South West with our series of one mile walks © John Millar

Discover the secrets of the South West with our series of one mile walks

Communications antennae, high on the cliff, can be seen for miles © National Trust

Communications antennae, high on the cliff, can be seen for miles

Looking out over Duckpool beach, Cornwall © National Trust

Looking out over Duckpool beach, Cornwall

Route overview

This challenging cliff top walk encompasses some of the most breath-taking views of North Cornwall's coastline. You will find a great deal of interesting local wildlife.  If you are afraid of heights, this is probably not the walk for you.

  • Grade of walk: Walking Boot (steep and rocky)
  • Type of walk: 'Hidden Places', Beautiful Views'

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Route map of the Duckpool and Steeples walk at Duckpool, Cornwall
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Duckpool car park, grid ref: SS202117

  1. Start at Duckpool car park.

  2. Walk back up the road, passing Duckpool Cottage on your right.

  3. Shortly after this, you'll see a gate on your left signposted 'To the Coast Path'.

  4. Go through the gate and follow the track along the hedgerow, which goes up a gentle incline and round a series of bends.

    Show/HideKing William's bridge

    In this sequestered valley, the little stream was once crossed by a ford, but when the water level rose after heavy rain, landowners would often complain that their sheep or cattle were sometimes swept away. A scheme to replace the ford was launched and the subscription list was headed by King William IV and local landowners and farmers. A tablet on the bridge records its erection in 1836 and the Kings gift of £20 and the encomium 'Fear God! Honour the King'.

    Discover the secrets of the South West with our series of one mile walks © John Millar
  5. When you reach the top of the field, cross a stile and turn left onto the coast path.

  6. Follow the path along the cliff edge, which should veer to the right before it begins to descend.

    Show/HideGovernment secrets

    High on the cliffs and visible for miles around, are the white dishes of the secret Government communications establishment, which collects and sends messages for H.M. Government. Built on the former Cleave Farm, which was once owned by the Duchy of Cornwall in the 19th century, there are now 21 satellite antennae where information is received from satellites over the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, together with news from Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

    Communications antennae, high on the cliff, can be seen for miles © National Trust
  7. Keep following the path round a sharp bend and down the descent until you get back to the car park.

    Show/HideA Romano-British port

    A Romano-British forge and the medieval port for Kilkhampton were discovered on the beach at Duckpool in the 1980s. Following erosion by the sea and by vehicles driving over the site, it was partly excavated. The remains of the buildings were recorded, along with pottery and brass, dating to the medieval period. During the Romano-British period boats were pulled up on the beach, so its likely that the area functioned as a port associated with the tin trade.

    Looking out over Duckpool beach, Cornwall © National Trust
  8. We hope that you really enjoyed this one-mile walk. The National Trust looks after some of the most spectacular areas of countryside for the enjoyment of all. We need your support to help us continue our work to cherish the countryside and provide access to our beautiful and refreshing landscapes. To find out more about how you too can help our work as a volunteer, member or donor please go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk

End: Duckpool car park, grid ref: SS202117

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 1 mile (1.6km)
  • Time: 30 minutes to 40 minutes
  • OS Map: Landranger 190
  • Terrain:

    A circular walk along Duckpool's coast path. Some sections of the walk are quite steep and the ground can be muddy, especially after wet weather. Decent walking boots are a good idea. Dogs are welcome under close control, but please keep them on leads near livestock.

  • How to get here:

    By bus: Western Greyhound 530 from Bude, call 01637 871871 for details

    By car: At Stratton (Bude) on A39, turn left heading 2.5 miles (4km) north to Stibb. Pass Stowe Barton farm on right, and drive downhill through some woodland. Turn left, following signs for Duckpool

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