Baggy Point circular walk via Bloodhills Cliff
Baggy Point, Moor Lane, Croyde, North DevonRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
A longer, circular walk along both sides of Baggy Point then over the top of the headland, with breathtaking coastal, sea and farmland views. This is an excellent route for wild flowers, bird-watching and, at certain times of the year, you can also watch rock climbers scaling the cliffs. The area is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its geological features.
- Bus stop
Start: Baggy Point car park, grid ref: SS432397
Go out of car park by the kiosk and turn right up the asphalted lane, signed Baggy Point 1 mile. Be careful as there can be traffic on this section. Go through gate posts to the fingerpost at the fork in the path and go left here. On your left at this point is the only dog waste bin in this area. Follow the asphalted track past the houses. Watch out for peregrines flying overhead.
Baggy Point is designated a SSSI because of its geological formations, particularly the Devonian sandstone, formed here between 417-354 million years ago. Overlying the Devonian rocks are raised beach and periglacial deposits from the Quaternary period. North Devon is famous for a number of large glacial erratics (boulders made from rock that aren't found in the area). One of the most well-known is nearby on Saunton Beach - a pink granite boulder that weighs 12 tons; the nearest outcrop of similar rocks occurs in western Scotland.
Follow the track, keeping to your left at the next fork to your right here is a driveway to a modern house. About 28yd (25m) along here stop and look at the whale bones on the right side of the path. These bones are all that remains of a large whale that was washed up on Croyde Beach in 1915. They were preserved here for the benefit of visitors by the Hyde family who gave Baggy Point to us in 1939.
Follow this mostly level, graded track along to the end of the headland. Look out to your left across the bays to Hartland in the far distance. We also have downloadable trails for this area - please look on our website for details. As you're walking along the paths on Baggy Point, look for wild flowers in the spring and summer, bright yellow gorse and a variety of fungi in the autumn, and lichens and moss all year round. Be careful not to touch any of the fungi as many of them are poisonous.
As the path curves slightly to your left, look for three steps up to your right where you'll find a pond that's been restored to create a valuable wildlife habitat. It was built by the Hyde family who were keen conservationists and protectors of Baggy Point. The water here is deep so please keep children and dogs under close supervision. Return to the path, passing through the gorse to the gate. Stop a while here and look at the memorial stone, set into the dry stone wall, to Henry Williamson (1985 1977), an English naturalist, farmer and prolific author known for his natural and social history novels. He won the Hawthornden Prize for literature in 1928 for his book, Tarka the Otter.
33yd (30m) past the gate you'll come to a fingerpost. Carry on straight here, signposted Baggy Point ½ mile. On the day this trail was walked there was a rare bird visitor to Baggy an Iceland gull that had brought a number of birders to have a look. There's a detour off this path that leads down to the rock pools if you do decide to take a look please be careful as the path and the rocks can be slippery. Look out for grey seals along the shoreline, especially in the summer. On a clear day you can see Lundy Island, 20 miles due west across the Atlantic Ocean. The island is owned by us and managed by the Landmark Trust and can be reached by boat in season and by helicopter all year. The waters around the Lundy are world famous for scuba diving and, unusually, it has licence to issue its own postage stamps. There are a number of holiday cottages and a reknowned pub; please see our website for details.
When you reach the headland take time to stop and absorb the view it's magnificent at any time of year and in any weather. On clear days, and when the sea birds aren't nesting, you may also have the chance to watch the many rock climbers that come to Baggy Point to take advantage of the variety of routes it offers. You can also see the headland at Morte Point from here, also owned by us. Please see our website for walks from Mortehoe and Woolacombe.
At the headland, the path makes a sharp hairpin turn up to your right to a gate. Go through the gate and take the grassy path immediately to your left, following it along the fence line. It widens out into a grassy track that goes across a field at the top of the cliff, past an old coastguard wreck post, once used for training, and the only one surviving in North Devon. Please do not go to the edge of the cliff and ensure you keep your dogs on a lead. As you walk across this field look to you right at Hoe Wall - a traditional North Devon dry stone wall that straddles the spine of the promontory. In the past it marked the limit of cultivation. How many types of lichen and moss can you see? There are many, testament to the wonderful air quality we have in this part of the country.
Follow the grassy track as it passes out onto the eastern side of Baggy Point where the panoramic vista across Woolacombe Bay comes into view. Stay on the path along the cliff top. In the spring and the summer listen out for the characteristic song of stone chats, usually found sitting on the tops of gorse and bramble bushes; in winter you might hear robins. Go through the next gate and at the finger post follow the grassy path to your left. As you walk along this section look up to your right at the concrete bunker - this is one of several dummy pillboxes on Baggy Point that were built in the Second World War and used as part of the D-Day Normandy landings training.
During the Second World War, much of the North Devon coast was used for military training in preparation for the D-Day landings as its similarity to the Normandy coast made it an ideal location. The entire coastal area, from Braunton Burrows to Morte Point, was assigned to the US Army as an assault training centre. The exercises that took place on the plateau fields of Baggy Point were intended to stimulate assaults on enemy beaches, and dummy pillboxes were built to represent enemy gun emplacements. We have a Second World War themed walk through Woolacombe Warren. Please check our website for details.
Go over the stile and stay on the grassy track along the top of the cliffs that give this walk its name Bloodhills Cliff. Cross over the next stile, turning around as you do to have a look at the view back down Baggy Point; you'll see how different the landscape is on this side of the headland. Carrying on, the path winds its way through shoulder-high gorse bushes, which in late summer and autumn will be ablaze with bright yellow flowers.
We've no idea why Bloodhills Cliff carries this somewhat gory name, but it's possibly connected to the smuggling that was once rife along the coast, and the fights and bloodshed often attached to this illicit trade. The area is home to many other atmospheric place names including Brandy Cove Point, most likely named after the liquor that was landed there, and Ramsons Cliff (which you'll have traversed on this walk); ramsons are wild garlic plants with a strong smell. Near the tip of Morte Point is Commandment Gut, where somebody supposedly carved the Ten Commandments onto the rock face, although there's no sign of this now.
At the fingerpost, carry on walking ahead of you, signed Woolacombe 3 miles. Go over the next stile and follow the path down between the dry stone wall and the gorse. At the next fingerpost, follow the coast path sign along the grassy track off to your right across the field - do not follow the path down into the private campsite. Walk over the field to the fingerpost by the hedgerow; the South West Coast Path goes to your left. In season, you can make a short detour here down to your left to the café located at the Putsborough Campsite (non-National Trust, please check opening times). You can also access the beach here.
Turn right and follow the footpath, keeping the fence and hedgebank to your left. Where the fence turns to your left, follow the yellow footpath arrow diagonally across the field to the hedgerow to the far left corner. There's a sweeping view across Croyde village and its world-famous surf beach and to your right there's a standing stone. This is one of three found on this part of the north coast that are thought to be of prehistoric origin. The use and significance of these stones is unknown but they are likely to be of ritual significance. Nowadays they serve as ideal rubbing stones for livestock.
Go through the gate through the dry stone wall and follow the narrow path between the hedgerows. You can see the remains of the stepping stones set into the dry stone wall that, until recently, you had to climb over. When you reach the end of the path take the route signed straight ahead of you along the farm track.
Follow the track to the end, where you follow the fingerpost down to your left, signed Public Footpath. Go straight ahead of you, over the stile and down the hill, along the narrow path sandwiched between the hedgerows. These hedge banks are filled with wild flowers in the spring and summer. Follow the yellow arrow down the farm track, past the farm on your right and down to the public road.
Turn right, cross the road and follow the path back to the car park. Please be aware of traffic and ensure dogs are on leads. You'll pass the Sandleigh Tea-room and Garden, a collaborative partnership between ourselves and our tenants, (seasonal opening, please call the tea-rooms for opening times or check our website for details). We hope that you enjoyed this walk. The National Trust looks after some of the most spectacular areas of coastline 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 landscapes. To find out more about how you can help our work as a volunteer, member or donor please go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk/northdevon
End: Baggy Point car park, grid ref: SS432397
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Hard
- Distance: 4.5 miles (7.2km)
- Time: 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours
- OS Map: Landranger 180; Explorer 139
An undulating walk with sections that can be slippery when wet. Dogs welcome please keep on a lead due to proximity of the path to the cliff top and livestock in surrounding fields. No litter bins. Suitable clothing and footwear advised.
- How to get here:
By foot: Access via South West Coast Path or along Moor Lane, Croyde
By bike: National Cycle Network Route 27 (Devon Coast to Coast) passes near Baggy Point. See sustrans
By bus: 308, Barnstaple to Croyde. Contact Devon Traveline 0871 2002233 or see traveline for more information
By train: Barnstaple, 7 miles from Croyde
By car: Take A361 from Barnstaple to Braunton. At Braunton take B3231 to Croyde, then follow National Trust brown signs to Baggy Point. For Sa tNav use postcode EX33 1PA
- Telephone: 01271 870555
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/baggy-point-croyde-croyde/