Morte Point and Bull Point walk
Mortehoe near Woolacombe, North DevonRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Once notorious for smugglers and wreckers, this stretch of coastline is now a great place to get away from the crowds and enjoy the dramatic scenery of cliffs, rocky headlands and sandy bays. Look out for seals as you walk from Morte Point towards Bull Point and enjoy the coastal heathland and maritime grasslands, which are great habitats for birds and other wildlife. The secluded coves of Rockham Bay and Bennett's Mouth are worth a peak too.
- Bus stop
Start: Mortehoe village car park, grid ref: SS458453
From Mortehoe Village car park turn left past the village shop. Take the lane on the right between the Church and the The Ship Aground pub, signposted Coast Path. Continue onto the National Trust path to Morte Point, keeping to the right of the cemetary and entering through the official gates onto Morte Point itself.
In 2009 we celebrated an amazing 100 years of stewardship of Morte Point, originally owned by the Chichester family. Sir Bruce Chichester would sail his yacht into the Bay and land shooting parties onto the Point. In 1908, Miss Chichester gave the tip of Morte Point to us in memory of her mother and father. In 1949, the rest of Morte Point, land around Woolacombe and the family home at Arlington Court were also given to us. A small circular stone seat, situated just up from the gate posts, was made by Ranger Rob Linskill for the 2009 centenary celebrations.
Continue straight on, taking the broad grass track downhill. Turn left after 220yd (200m) to join a footpath which links to the coast path. The path will now take you around Morte Point.
The distinctive rock formations of Morte Point, and the treacherous waters surrounding it, are sometimes referred to by the locals 'as the place God made last and the devil will take first.' There's a rich history of smuggling and wrecking and the Morte Men were greatly feared by sailors. The Bull Point lighthouse was built in 1879 in response to the conduct of the 'lawless' wreckers. To find out more visit the Mortehoe Musuem when you return from your walk.
Follow the coast path through to Bull Point and the lighthouse, passing Rockham Bay and its sandy beach. Take the gravel path on the left round the back of the lighthouse and rejoin the coast path.
Continue uphill until the path starts to descend steeply down the steps to the secluded rocky bay of Bennett's Mouth. Before the bridle gate, turn a sharp right onto the path signposted Mortehoe. Follow the path, keeping the stream on your left.
If you manage to time your walk for low tide, take some time out to rest at Bennett's Mouth and explore the amazing rock pools for all kinds of life such as limpets, sea anemones, and star fish. Look out for wading birds, such as oyster catchers, and sea birds such as gannets on the rocky outcrops.
Pass through a bridle gate and continue to a signpost. Keep to the lower footpath until you come to a bridge on your left. Don't cross the bridge, but follow the path uphill until you reach the tarmac path at the top. Turn left to head back towards Mortehoe.
In spring and summer wild flowers grow on the cliffs and close to the shore.If you're lucky enough to be here for bluebell season (around May), this short, uphill climb is brightened up by hundreds of bluebells and the fresh green scenery of spring.
Follow the lane to a metal gate, pass through the gate and continue on the road back to Mortehoe village car park.
End: Mortehoe village car park
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Hard
- Distance: 6 miles (9.4km)
- Time: 2 hours 30 minutes to 3 hours
- OS Map: Explorer 139
Strenuous circular walk along high cliffs and steep valleys. Beware of high winds on the coast path. Paths can be muddy and slippery in wet weather. Children should be supervised at all times. Dogs welcome under close control
- How to get here:
By foot: South West Coast Path runs through this area from Croyde to Ilfracombe
By bike: National Cycle Network route 27 runs from Ilfracombe to Barnstaple, above Woolacombe Bay, passing close to Mortehoe
By bus: Stagecoach Devon 21A, Barnstaple to Mortehoe Hail & Ride, then 10 minute walk to Mortehoe Musuem
By car: A361 Barnstaple to Ilfracombe, then onto B3343 to Woolacombe and Mortehoe. Follow signposted road to Mortehoe. Car park at Mortehoe Museum (not National Trust, parking fee applies). Use postcode EX34 7DT
- Telephone: 01271 870555
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/woolacombe-mortehoe-ilfracombe/