Baggy Point easy access walk
An easy walk that's great for families, taking you along the west side of Baggy Point, with far-reaching coastal and sea views. This is an excellent route for bird-watching and if you have a keen eye you may see seals. Also, at certain times of the year you can watch rock climbers scaling the cliffs. The area is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its geological features.
Baggy Point car park, grid ref: SS432397
Go out of the 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 the gate posts to the fingerpost at the fork in the path, 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.
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.
Baggy Point is renowned for the wild flowers that carpet its cliff slopes and rock crevices. Its thin, acidic soils are battered by harsh, salt-laden Atlantic winds in the winter and are inhospitable to all but the hardiest of plants. Maritime plants such as sea campion, thrift, wild carrot and a variety of grasses thrive in this tough environment. You can also see rare rock sea lavender and spring and autumn squills - unusual members of the bluebell family. In autumn, bright yellow gorse fills the air with the smell of coconuts and a variety of fungi can be found in the fields. Please do not touch them as many varieties 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 has 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 your 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 (1895-1977), writer, English naturalist and farmer 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 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 renowned pub; please see www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lundy for details.
Bird life and seals
The west-facing cliffs of Baggy Point are a popular nesting place for a wide variety of sea birds including herring gull, fulmar, shag, cormorant and occasionally peregrine. Nesting season is usually from March to June, and during this time rock climbing on the cliffs is restricted. Grey seals can sometimes be seen offshore, usually visiting from the colonies at Lundy Island and Morte Point.
When you reach the headland do 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.
Baggy Point is designated a SSSI because of its geological formations, particularly the Devonian sandstone formed here between 417 to 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 not 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.
Retrace your steps back along the path to return to the car park. 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.
Baggy Point car park, grid ref: SS432397
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