The ups and downs of Brean

Brean Down, Somerset TA8 2RS

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Take a look at fascinating historic remains from a bygone age © Jim Elliott

Take a look at fascinating historic remains from a bygone age

Pointing you in the right direction © Rob Stephenson

Pointing you in the right direction

Harry Cox's house © Rob Stephens

Harry Cox's house

Route overview

A walk to the quiet side of the Down. Jutting into the Bristol Channel Brean Down is a natural rocky pier with stunning views over the Somerset Levels to the south, the Victorian seaside resort of Weston-super-Mare to the north and over the Bristol Channel to Wales.

  • Grade of walk: Trainer (all rounder)
  • Type of walk: 'Waterside Walks', 'Beautiful Views', 'Historical Footsteps', 'Flora and Fauna'

Route details

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

Route map of the Brean Down walk in Somerset
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Brean Down car park, grid ref: ST290590

  1. From the car park, turn left and follow the road, keeping to the left and heading for the steps. There are plenty of resting places and viewing platforms, so take your time and enjoy the stunning views behind you. On a clear day you may see as far as Brent Knoll, Glastonbury Tor and Dunkery Beacon on Exmoor - all cared for by us.

  2. As you walk up the steps, the sand cliffs to your left are the result of thousands of years of sand being blown from the beach. Remains of bison and mammoth have been found here; just think what you could be walking over.

    Show/HideAn archaeological gold mine

    As you climb the steps, you're walking over an archaeological gold mine. The sand cliff is the result of sand being blown from the beach over millions of years. The remains of prehistoric animals, like the bison and woolly mammoth, have been found here and still appear after high tides and heavy rain. Take the opportunity to stop and look behind you at the views over the Somerset levels - you'll see Brent Knoll and Glastonbury Tor in the far distance and on a clear day Dunkery Beacon on Exmoor. All these places are cared for by us.

    Take a look at fascinating historic remains from a bygone age © Jim Elliott
  3. At the top, take a deep breath and enjoy the view and blast of fresh sea air. Now head to your right (most will go left and head for the Fort). On your way to the road you'll walk past, or over, a large concrete arrow which was a target for Second World War bomber crews practicing over Bridgwater Bay. When you hit the road you'll walk past an old, flat-roofed building, where Harry Cox lived, warden for Brean Down. Keep going and at the sharp right-hand bend, take the National Trust footpath to your left.

    Show/HidePointing the way

    Once at the top of the steps, breathe in the air and the view before heading to your right. You'll see a large concrete arrow in the grass. This would have been painted, and was used for directing Second World War Lancaster bombers over the Down, for target practice in Bridgwater Bay.

    Pointing you in the right direction © Rob Stephenson
  4. In places the narrow path becomes very steep and will be muddy and slippery in wet weather. In the summer, you'll discover all sorts of plants which thrive on the thin limestone soils.

    Show/HideHarry Cox's house

    As you headed for the old military road you'll have seen Harry Cox's house and the Second World War gun emplacements. Harry was the warden for the Down until 1949, and this was his modern house. The tin shack he originally lived in is long gone. The gun emplacements were used for training purposes only, and targets in Weston bay were regularly fired at by the six Lewis guns that were based here.

    Harry Cox's house © Rob Stephens
  5. Half way along the path you'll have to negotiate a stile then carry on down the path until you reach the road at the bottom.

  6. At the road, turn right and head back to the car park and Cove Café for a refreshing cup of tea.

  7. 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: Brean Down car park, grid ref: ST290590

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 1 mile (1.6km)
  • Time: 30 minutes to 40 minutes
  • OS Map: Landranger 182
  • Terrain:

    A circular walk from the car park and up an initial steep climb up a flight of steps. When wet, the ground can be muddy and slippery in places on the way down, but you should be fine in trainers. Dogs are welcome, but please keep them away from steep cliffs.

  • How to get here:

    • By bus: First 112, Highbridge to Weston-super-Mare
    • By train: Weston-super-Mare and Highbridge, then bus to Brean Down
    • By car: From A370, between Weston-super-Mare and Burnham-on-Sea, follow signs for Brean. 8 miles (13km) from M5, Junction 22

  • Contact us