Walk the Ilfracombe Torrs

Ilfracombe, North Devon

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Dramatic cliffs hide a dramatic past of ship wrecks and smuggling © Fay Langston

Dramatic cliffs hide a dramatic past of ship wrecks and smuggling

Limekilns were used to produce lime for spreading on acid soils © National Trust / Jonathan Fairhurst

Limekilns were used to produce lime for spreading on acid soils

Sea Campion grows close to the ground to reduce damage from coastal winds © David Wood

Sea Campion grows close to the ground to reduce damage from coastal winds

The zigzag walk to the Torrs was carved into the cliff face by Victorians © Fay Langston

The zigzag walk to the Torrs was carved into the cliff face by Victorians

Once the main route Ilfracombe to Lee, Langleigh Lane is a walkers delight © Fay Langston

Once the main route Ilfracombe to Lee, Langleigh Lane is a walkers delight

Route overview

The twisting and turning zig-zag walk to the top of the Ilfracombe Torrs was carved into the cliff face by the Victorians.  Follow in their footsteps and be rewarded with fantastic views of the coastline and Ilfracombe.

Route details

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

Map of the circular walk of the Ilfracombe Torrs
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: National Trust Torrs car park, grid ref: SS512474

  1. From the National Trust car park follow the footpath at the bottom of the car park and turn left after 110yd (100m) onto the Coast Path.

    Show/HideView, views and more views

    From the top you get fantastic views both east and west along the coast. To the West you can see as far as Bull Point and to the East down into Ilfracombe and beyond, onto Exmoor.

    Dramatic cliffs hide a dramatic past of ship wrecks and smuggling © Fay Langston
  2. Follow the Coast Path as it winds all the way up the hill until you reach a bridle gate.

    Show/HideLimekiln

    Take a short detour to see an old limekiln. Limekilns were used to burn limestone and coal brough over by boats from South Wales to produce lime for spreading on the acid soils to improve fertility and lime mortar for building.

    Limekilns were used to produce lime for spreading on acid soils © National Trust / Jonathan Fairhurst
  3. Go through the bridle gate and turn right for a short distance to the top of the hill next to the toposcope.

    Show/HidePlants and birds

    Look out for fulmars as they glide below you and ravens or peregrines flying high above the cliffs. Spring is a great time for wild flowers with lovely displays of lesser celadines, stitchwort and sea campion.

    Sea Campion grows close to the ground to reduce damage from coastal winds © David Wood
  4. If taking the shorter walk, head downhill towards the finger post next to the wall and go left signed National Trust car park. When you reach the road go left and the car park is a short walk down the hill. If taking the longer walk go right and follow the Coast Path signs.

    The zigzag walk to the Torrs was carved into the cliff face by Victorians © Fay Langston
  5. When you reach the second stile climb over this and bear left, following the track until you come to a bridle gate and field gate together at the top of Langleigh Lane. This is a fabulous sunken Devonshire lane with hedgrows full of birdlife and wild flowers. This used to be the main route from Ilfracombe to Lee.

    Once the main route Ilfracombe to Lee, Langleigh Lane is a walkers delight © Fay Langston
  6. Go through the bridle gate and follow the lane downhill until it turns into a tarmaced road.

  7. At the tarmaced road, Upper Torrs Road, go left and follow the road until you reach the National Trust car park.

End: National Trust Torrs car park

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 1 mile (1.6km) or 2 miles (3.2km)
  • Time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
  • OS Map: Explorer 139
  • Terrain:

    Defined trail, which is a short but, in places, strenuous climb up a steep slope. Dogs on leads welcome.

  • How to get here:

    By foot & by bike: From Ilfracombe sea front follow South West Coast Path westwards through town and uphill onto the Torrs (or to the car park if coming by bike), 1095yd (1km) from Landmark Theatre

    By car:  Car park access through housing area. From Barnstaple direction, take A361 (St Brannocks Road) and turn left onto Church Hill (last road on left before roundabout.), which turns into Langleigh Road. Follow to end, then turn right onto Torrs Road, round a right-hand bend and uphill, then bear left onto Upper Torrs Road. Car park (National Trust) is 219yd (200m) ahead on right

     

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