Heddon Valley to Woody Bay Walk

Walking trail

A varied walk that follows an historic 19th century carriageway and a section of the South West Coast Path along some of the highest and most dramatic cliffs in England. The views along the coast and across to Wales are breathtaking. Along the way you will pass a Roman Fortlet and walk through ancient sessile oak woodlands. In the spring and summer the cliffs are alive with a variety of sea birds.

The sun shines over the ocean in the Heddon Valley


Map route for Heddon Valley to Woody Bay Walk


National Trust gift shop, grid ref SS655480


With the National Trust shop on your right, walk down the road towards the Hunter's Inn public house. At the junction turn right, and then left along the bridleway by the side of the inn. At the fork take the footpath to your right signposted Woody Bay 2 ¾ miles. You are now walking through Road Wood along a wide track known as 'The Carriageway' that you are going to follow along its length up and along the cliffs to Woody Bay. This first section along Hill Brook Combe is home to bilberry, common cow-wheat, wild strawberry and wood avens. In early summer this section is full of foxgloves as a result of the work we have done in recent years in cutting back encroaching sycamores.

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Carry on straight up and along the Carriageway as it climbs around the headland above Heddon's Mouth and Highveer Rocks. On a clear day there are far-reaching views over the Bristol Channel to Wales, down to the lime kiln at Heddon's Mouth, up the Heddon Valley and to the northwest to Lundy island.


As you follow the track you can see Woody Bay, Valley of the Rocks, Lynmouth Bay and Foreland Point stretching out before you. Look for the signpost on your right that leads up to Martinhoe Roman Fortlet.

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Returning to the main track, continue towards Woody Bay. Above Hollow Brook Combe the path is flanked by sessile oaks and rare whitebeams. This is an excellent place to look out for the peregrines and buzzards that breed in this area.


Pass through the gate, closing it behind you. You are now walking through West Woody Bay Wood, home to ash, larch and birch, as well as more oaks. Keep an eye out for red deer and woodpeckers.


Stay straight on the Carriageway to where it meets the road on sharp hairpin bend. Turn left and follow road down the hill, past a small National Trust car park an alternative starting point for this walk. Just past the car park turn left down a road shown as a dead end that leads to Woody Bay. The woods you are walking through are under constant threat from Rhododendron ponticum and Himalayan Knotweed and since 1987 we have been carrying out a continual eradication programme.


On a very sharp right-hand bend in the road look for the South West Coast Path on your left, signposted 'Coastpath Hunters Inn'. Turn onto this path which you are going to stay on all the way back to your start point. Follow the steep incline up the side of the cliff and pass through the gate into a woodland of sessile oaks, sheared by the wind over decades into a myriad of twisted shapes. In the late spring the floor of this woodland is carpeted with bluebells. Hollow Brook Combe waterfall drops in a series of cascades 219 yards (200m) to the sea.


Carry on up the side of the combe to Great Burland Rocks. This is an excellent vantage point from which to look for the guillemots, razorbills and other seabirds in the bird colony down below you to the east at Wringapeak.

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Carry on along the footpath to where it turns back up the Heddon Valley along the side of the combe. This is a good position from which to look down onto the beach and the lime kiln, and across the valley to where the coast path makes its away precipitously around the headland and on to Combe Martin. In autumn the gorse on this section scents the air with the smell of coconuts. You might also see cormorants and ravens here.


Carry on down the hill, across some scree, where you will meet a footpath signposted to the right to the beach. Unless you wish to make a short detour to the pebble beach and lime kiln at Heddon's Mouth, turn left along South West Coast Path signposted ½ mile to Hunters Inn, follow the signposts back to the pub and the Trust gift shop and ice cream parlour. 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.


National Trust gift shop, grid ref SS655480

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Heddon Valley to Woody Bay Walk


This circular walk has a long incline at the beginning before undulating along the cliffs in both directions with some steep sections in places. Some parts of the path are very muddy in winter; very wet all year at Hollow Brook waterfall. Although coastal paths are well maintained they are very exposed in poor weather. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear for your walk, and remember the climate may be very different on the cliffs to that at your starting point. Dogs welcome. No litter bins along the trail, please take back to the bin the car park.

Heddon Valley to Woody Bay Walk

Contact us

Heddon Valley to Woody Bay Walk

How to get here

Heddon Valley, North Devon
By train

Barnstaple, 16.5 miles (26.5kms) from Heddon Valley

By road

Halfway along A39 between Combe Martin and Lynmouth, turn off for Hunter's Inn. Postcode for Sat Nav: EX31 4PY.

By foot

Access via the South West Coast Path

By bicycle

National Cycle Network Regional Route 51 passes near the property. See Sustrans website.

Heddon Valley to Woody Bay Walk

Facilities and access

  • Dogs welcome