Orcombe Point circular walk
The most westerly point of the Jurassic Coast, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Orcombe Point offers spectacular views over the Exe estuary and out to sea. This walk follows part of the South West Coast Path before passing through meadows rich with wildflowers in the spring and summer. Keep an eye out for birds and butterflies as you walk and pause at the Geoneedle, a landmark representing 180 million years of the Earth’s history with Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous rock formations.
Foxholes Hill Road, EX8 2DQ
Facing the sea, walk across the grassy area towards the bottom left-hand corner. Follow the footpath through the wooded area and turn left onto the tarmacked footpath. Continue on this path until you come to the National Trust Omega sign.
Take the right hand fork and follow the path towards the trees. Continue on down towards the sea, following the path in an arc, back up towards the Geoneedle.
The Geoneedle at Orcombe Point represents the various rock types found along the World Heritage coastline. Commissioned from public artist, sculptor and designer Michael Fairfax to commemorate the opening of the World Heritage Site, it was unveiled by HRH the Prince of Wales in 2002. At the base are cross-bedded sandstones whilst towards the top, the rock types are those deposited by quieter, slower-flowing waters such as siltstones and mudstones. The sediments are distinctly red which is indicative of the ‘Aylesbeare Mudstone Group’ dating from the Triassic period 250 million years ago.
From the Geoneedle follow the South West Coast Path uphill, admiring views of the distinctive red Devon cliffs on your right. On the right you may spot the old look out used by the Exmouth Home Guard during WW2 to keep a watch for enemy invasion. As you reach the summit of the hill take the pathway on your left signposted ‘permissive path’
Running for 630 miles from Minehead in Somerset to Poole in Dorset the path is cared for by the South West Coast Path association who work with partners, including the National Trust to protect it. Find out more at https://www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/love-the-coast-path/about-us/our-partners/
After walking into the field continue until you see a 'permissive footpath' signpost directing you to the left. Follow the permissive path heading downhill. Continue on this path until you reach the wooden gate and re-join the path near the Geoneedle. – Keep your eyes peeled for Green Winged Orchids during May-June as well as knapweed, bird’s- foot trefoil and corky-fruited water dropwort. These and other important flowers and grasses, help attract wildlife including butterflies like meadow brown, marbled white, small tortoiseshell, peacock and gatekeeper.
In late summer these meadows will be cut and the hay used to feed animals over the winter. As most wildflowers favour impoverished soil this benefits them by removing nutrient from the soil. Over 97% of wildflower meadows have been lost since the 1930s . The National Trust is working to help restore meadows, with the goal that at least 50 per cent of its farmland will be nature-friendly by 2025. This includes work to restore meadows, hedgerows, field margins, ponds, woodland and other habitats. You can read more here https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/news/our-plan-to-restore-nature-at-our-places
Turn right and walk along the path, passing the omega sign and retracing your steps to Foxholes Hill road.
Keep your eyes (and ears) open for birds you could see a charm of Goldfinches or you may hear the call of the nuthatch ‘clack,clack’ like two stones being knocked together.
Foxholes Hill Road
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