Historic Branscombe

Branscombe, Seaton, Devon EX12 3DB

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Apple trees at Branscombe © Mike Townsend

Apple trees at Branscombe

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

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

St Werburgh’s church is believed to date back to the ninth century © Jeremy Grimoldby

St Werburgh’s church is believed to date back to the ninth century

Route overview

A short circular walk around the historic, beautiful village of Branscombe.

  • Type of walk: 'Beautiful Views', 'Historical Footsteps'
  • Grade of walk: Walking Boot (steep/rocky)

Route details

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

Route map of the Historic Branscombe walk in Devon
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Branscombe National Trust car park, grid refer: SY197886

  1. From the car park carefully cross the road and go through the gate opposite, passing the information point and some toilets. Follow the path through the orchard and past the Old Bakery Tea Rooms. Cross over two fields and along the millstream, known locally as a leat, through the Millenium Orchard.

    Show/HideThe Branscombe orchards

    Branscombe, in the heart of East Devon, lies nestled within a secluded valley of wooded hillsides, small fields and abundant hedgerows. There have been orchards in the valley for generations. As you walk down to the beach from the Old Bakery Tea Rooms, you'll pass through two orchards which have been restored and replanted over the last 20 years. Pears, plums and apples are picked and made into jam, juice and cider by the local villagers. Events are held in the orchards celebrating the seasons with blossom and abundant harvests.

    Apple trees at Branscombe © Mike Townsend
  2. At the far side of the orchard you'll find the National Trust's Manor Mill, a working watermill. Manor Mill is open on Sunday afternoons from April to October, and Wednesday afternoons in July and August. Turn right after Manor Mill and head up the hill, along a farm track and then through the fields. Be careful here, its very steep and can get slippery in wet or cold weather. Go up the flight of steps until you reach a bridle path.

    Show/HideThe lace trade

    From the 17th to the 19th centuries, Branscombe was a source of hand-made lace, and Branscombe Point is a style that's still practised by lace makers worldwide. To encourage the trade, Queen Victoria commissioned a large amount of lace for her wedding in 1840, which was largely made at Branscombe or Beer.

    Discover the secrets of the South West with our series of one mile walks © National Trust
  3. Turn right and follow the bridle path through the woods. If you want a longer walk, you can turn left here to go to the coast and beach.

  4. Turn down the hill and proceed carefully down another steep slope until your reach the church.

  5. Branscombe church is a fine example of 14th-century architecture. After the church walk down the road past a picturesque row of thatched cottages and the local post office. When you get to the end of the cottages turn left and walk up the small lane until you reach Branscombe school. We built a new path from the school back to the car park in 2009, so that young children didnt have to walk up the road. Follow the path back to the car park to complete your walk.

    Show/HideBranscombe church

    The church is dedicated to a little known Welsh saint, St Winifred, who died in 650AD. There was already a church in existence back then and certainly by the Middle Ages, when the church was noted to belong to Exeter Cathedral. There are possible remains of early 11th-century walls within the lower tower, which itself dates back to Norman times. Look for fragments of late 15th-century wall paintings, 17th-century wooden screen and altar rails and a rare 18th-century three decker pulpit.

    St Werburgh’s church is believed to date back to the ninth century © Jeremy Grimoldby
  6. 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: Branscombe National Trust car park, grid ref: SY197886

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 1 mile (1.6km)
  • Time: 30 minutes to 40 minutes
  • OS Map: Landranger 192
  • Terrain:

    This walk is quite rocky, with two very steep slopes en route. Dogs are welcome except at the tea-rooms, forge and mill.

  • How to get here:

    • By bus: Axe Vale 188 to Branscombe stops less than 27yd (25m) from start point
    • By train: Axminster, 8 miles (12.8km) away
    • By car: Off A3052, signposted Branscombe village. National Trust car parking at start point, free but donations welcome. Car parking also available at village hall next door

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