Baggy Point circular walk via Middleborough Hill
A circular, undulating walk along both sides of Baggy Point then over the top of the headland with spectacular, far-reaching 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.
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.
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 Quarternary 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.
Go through 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 are 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 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), 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.
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 be able to watch the 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 lookout post. 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.
Coastguard wreck post
In times gone by this sturdy wreck post with climbing steps to the top, erected to represent the mast of a ship, was used by the coastguard for training. A rocket would have been fired at the post from about 200yds (183m) away, a rope made fast to the top of the pole and the breeches buoy brought into play. There were several on the North Devon coast but this is the only one that survives.
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 the stone chats, usually found sitting on the tops of the gorse and bramble bushes; in the winter you might hear robins. Go through the next gate and at the finger post follow the grassy path to your right, signed NT Car Park ¾ mile.
Go over the first stile - look immediately to your left here at the remains of a dummy pillbox used in the Second World War for D-Day landing training; there are several of these on Baggy Point. Walk through a field, keeping the dry stone wall to the left. Go over the next stile and cross the field, still keeping the dry stone wall to your left. This is a good place to look at the sweeping views over Croyde and Bideford Bays all the way to Hartland Point in the far distance. Over to your right is Croyde Hoe Farm, owned by us and leased to a tenant farmer.
In the left corner of the field, go over the stile and walk to your left, following the dry stone wall round the field to the gate in the corner of the field. You can now see Middleborough Hill rising up in front of you. Go through the gate and follow the finger post, signed NT car park ½ mile up the hill. As you walk up through the field have a look at the dry stone wall to your left. Close to the crest of the hill you'll come to another fingerpost pointing up and over the top. Follow this until you come to the bench - this is a wonderful place to stop and take in views across Croyde village and its world-famous surf beach.
Dry stone walls
The dry stone wall, like most of walls on Baggy Point, covered with a wide variety of mosses and lichens. About halfway up you'll see a section of wall that's recently been rebuilt by pupils of Georgeham C of E Primary School as part of our Guardianship Scheme.
Walk round to your left, along the grassy track through the gorse and then, at the fingerpost, go right down between the gorse, signed NT car park. The gorse here, and at other places on the headland, is maintained by our tenant farmer, not only to keep the footpaths clear but also to create a mix of gorse of varying ages, providing a richer and more diverse wildlife habitat. This section of the walk can be muddy and slippery in wet weather.
Go through the next gate and down through the field to the gate in between the buildings ahead of you. The set of buildings to the left at the bottom of this field is a sewage works designed, at our request, to resemble the farm buildings found in the area. If you look to your right you can see another example of the work we do in the countryside - a telegraph pole that does not have any wires attached to it. In order to improve the views at Baggy Point we obtained a grant that, together with contributions from local residents, enabled us to bury the telephone wires from here to the end of the Point.
Go over the stile between the buildings to the road. Be careful of traffic here as you are now on a public road. Turn right, past the Sandleigh Tea Rooms and Garden, back 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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