Brean Down coastal walk

Walking trail

Discover one of the great landmarks of the Somerset coastline on this scenic coastal walk across Brean Down. Standing over 300ft (92m) high and extending 1.5 miles (2.4km) into the Bristol Channel, the Down is steeped in intriguing stories, from prehistoric worship to Second World War weapon testing. It’s also renowned for its wildlife, so keep a look out for a great variety of birds, plants and butterflies whilst on route.

The footpath to Brean Down fort


Map route for Brean Down coastal walk


Cove Café, grid ref: ST296588


There are two routes from the café towards the headland. At low tide head onto the beach and walk towards the headland until you reach the coast path to your right, continue on the path until you reach some fairly steep steps. These will lead you up onto the Down. For a more accessible route continue on the road and follow the route to the tarmac path on your right.

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Once on the Down, take the path to the left, along the southern slopes. Wildlife thrives here due to the rocky limestone grassland and warm south facing cliffs. In early summer look out for the white flowers of the rare white rock rose, which grows in abundance in the thin limestone soils. Listen out for the loud, sharp call of the stonechat. You may also be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of skylark, meadow pipit, linnet, raven and peregrine falcon.


Continue along the path until you come to the site of a Romano-Celtic temple. It was built in about AD 340, close to a Bronze Age burial mound. Rock from a quarry on the Down provided some of the stone for the building.

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Further along the path you will come across the remains of a Celtic field system, a series of small rectangular fields.

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Continue up towards the fort, which is located on a small hill. Here you can take a closer look at the remains of the fortifications and enjoy spectacular views across the Bristol Channel. In 1862 four acres were requisitioned at the tip of Brean Down to build up fortifications to protect access to Bristol and Cardiff in fear of the growing strength of France under Napoleon III. No shots were ever fired in action, but regular drill and gunnery practice was part of the routine. The fort was re-armed at the start of the Second World War.


From the fort make your way back along the other side of the Down to the site of the Iron Age hill-fort. Take a closer look at the banks and ditches before continuing along the path. Follow it round to the right. This will take you back to the steps and down to the café.


Cove Café, grid ref: ST296588

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Brean Down coastal walk


Steep at first, some steps. Paths are grassy and rocky in places. Good footwear is advised. Height gain of 320ft (97m) over the walk. If on Brean beach (not National Trust) be aware of deep mud at low tide. Cliffs are dangerous (children should be supervised). Keep an eye out for changes in the weather as there is little shelter on top of the Down. Dogs should be kept under close control at all times.

Brean Down coastal walk

Contact us

Brean Down coastal walk

How to get here

Brean, North Somerset
By train
Highbridge station is 8.5 miles (13.7km) away. From here, take the 112 bus.
By road
Signposted from A370 from Weston-super-Mare to Highbridge, follow the Burnham and Berrow coast road. 8 miles (12.8km) from M5 junction 22.
By foot

A short walk along Berrow beach (not National Trust).

By bus

First (Avon) Service 102 and 112, Burnham – Brean – Weston-super-Mare.

Brean Down coastal walk

Facilities and access

  • Park in the village