Potters Hill and Woolacombe Down walk
Woolacombe, North DevonRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
A walk up Potters Hill and beyond will reward you with stunning views across the bay towards Baggy Point and Morte Point. It's just a stone's throw from the beach, but you'll feel like a million miles away from the crowds.
If you feel like a short burst of activity, take the shorter hike up to Potters Hill (climb a mini mountain activity as part of the 'Downloadable Family Days Out' at Woolacombe), or take a longer hike from Potters Hill across Woolacombe Down, returning through the dunes to the start.
- Bus stop
Start: Marine Drive car park hut, grid ref: SS458433
From the beginning of Marine Drive car park, walk up the grassy bank and through a field gate and follow the footpath up hill, signed by a finger post saying Public Footpath.
Flowering plants to look out for include dog-violet, bluebell, lesser stitchwort and wood sage. Linnet, stonchat and meadow pipit breed in the long grass and scrub and kestrels can be seen hunting over the slopes.
Continue up the hill as the path winds its way around Potters Hill. Bear left at the first waymark you reach. When you reach the second waymark, either follow the route to the left onto Potters Hill or, if continuing on up to Woolacombe Down, head straight on.
Savour the fantastic view from the top of Potters Hill over towards Woolacombe and Morte Point. You can see how the village has grown from just one farmstead in 1878 to the bustling village you see today, surrounded by the countryside that we care for.
At the top of Potters Hill retrace your steps back to Marine Drive for the shorter walk or, if continuing on to Woolacombe Down, go to point 4.
From the top of Woolacombe Down you will feel like you are on top of the world - for peace and quiet this is the place to be. Look out for the Exmoor Ponies, which are playing a vital part in the conservation grazing of the heathland and grassland.
Go through the bridlegate and follow the track up and over Woolacombe Down, passing a bench with fantastic views over to Baggy Point and Hartland. Continue along this track until you reach another field gate. Go through the gate and head down hill.
This 1.8 mile (3km) stretch of sand dunes, sandwiched between the beach and Woolacombe Down, is a haven for wildlife, with an abundance of wild flowers and breeding birds. During the Second World War it was used as a training area for the Allied Army in preperation for the D-Day Landings in 1944, with concrete pillboxs, tanks and live firing.
Take the footpath to the right, waymarked to Marine Drive. When you reach Marine Drive go left for 20 metres then take the footpath down into the dunes on your right.
When you reach the dunes follow the South West Coast Path signs to the right. Where the path forks, take the right hand fork which will take you through the dunes and back to your starting point at the beginning of Marine Drive.
End: Marine Drive car park, Woolacombe
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Moderate
- Distance: 0.75 miles (1.2 km) or 3 miles (4.8km)
- Time: 45 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes
- OS Map: Explorer 139
Allow 45 minutes for the ¾ mile (1.2km) short linear walk to the top of Potters Hill and 2 hours for the 3 mile (4.8km) longer circular walk across Woolacombe Down. Most of the walk is on unsurfaced footpaths or tracks and at times is very steep. Dogs welcome under close control, but please do not allow your dog to foul on paths.
- How to get here:
By foot: Access from Woolacombe Village along footpath, past main beach entrance and up along Challacombe Hill
By bike: National Cycle Network route 27 (Devon Coast to Coast) passes start of walk. See sustrans
By bus: Service 303, Barnstaple to Woolacombe. For further details contact Devon Traveline: 0871 2002233 or traveline
By car: A361 from Barnstaple, then B3343 signed to Woolacombe at Mullacott Cross Roundabout. Drive through Woolacombe on B3343, follow road past main beach entrance (alternative parking available). Marine Drive car park is last car park on right as you start to drive up Challacombe Hill
- Telephone: 01271 870555
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/woolacombe-mortehoe-ilfracombe/