Wembury Point: returning to nature

Some of you may remember a hugely successful public appeal back in 2005 to raise funds to buy Wembury Point and the island of the Great Mewstone.

by Richard Snow, South Devon Countryside Manager
Over £1.4million was donated by people who love the South Devon coast and who wanted to see this significant headland on the edge of Plymouth Sound restored and safeguarded for ever by the National Trust.

A brief history

During the 1920s and ‘30s, two holiday camps with 200 chalets were developed here, but later demolished. During the Second World War, the headland was requisitioned for the defence of Plymouth. From after the war until 2001 the site served as HMS Cambridge, the Royal Navy’s chief gunnery training school.
By the time that we were able to buy Wembury Point in 2006, most of the naval buildings had been demolished. But the area had suffered from the effect of decades of development and military use. People hadn’t been able to wander freely on Wembury Point for 60 years, with walkers confined to a narrow section of the South West Coast Path bordered by high chain-link fences.

What have we done since then?

Watching the waves at Wembury Point
A couple hand in hand looking out to sea
Watching the waves at Wembury Point

  • Demolished the last two buildings of HMS Cambridge, following public consultation
  • Removed security fences 
  • Improved the route of the Coast Path
  • Opened up the whole headland to visitors by creating a small car park and new signposted paths
  • Narrowed the military roads on site to turn them into all-weather footpaths
  • Cut back the invasive scrub, and introduced grazing animals to help restore the traditional grassland of these cliffs, for the benefit of wildflowers, birds and butterflies.
Wembury Point is transformed, thanks to all those people who gave to save it. The amazing views are restored, free from interference, and the natural beauty and health of this coast is gradually returning. Come and see.
We want the coast to be beautiful, so we’ll protect it and restore it.