Woolacombe short circular walk via Combesgate

Walking trail

Starting on the sea front of this Victorian town, this easy walk passes along Woolacombe's beautiful sea front before turning off up a scenic grassy valley, or 'combe' where wild flowers abound in the spring and summer. Escape the crowds and enjoy shady woodland and spectacular panoramic views across the bay for a very different experience of Woolacombe.


Map route for Woolacombe short circular walk via Combesgate


Esplanade Car park, the Esplanade, Woolacombe, EX34 7BN. SS457254


Leave from Esplanade car park and turn onto the esplanade as it follows the curve of the beach around to the right. Keeping the sea to your left, walk on the pavement on the right hand side of the road. There are sweeping views out over Woolacombe Bay to Lundy Island and along the beach to Baggy Point.

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As you walk around the esplanade you will pass the small inlet known as Barricane Beach.

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Just before the road starts to bend to the left and rise up the hill to Mortehoe you will see some public toilets and a National Trust Sign for Combesgate Valley. Turn right here through two gates and follow the grassy path up the combe.

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Carry on walking up the valley as it gently rises, keeping an eye out for butterflies in the warmer months. Go through the gate and follow the path through the woodland that provides welcome shade.

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Where the path forks, go to the right across the spring and then to your left continuing up the valley through the woods.


Where the path meets the road in a caravan park turn right following the public footpath sign for about 30m to the next T junction. Follow the public footpath to your right along the tarmac track for about 10m until you reach a fork in the road. Go left here following the yellow public footpath sign on a post. Carry on walking through the caravan park. After about 50m you will come to a 3-finger signpost where you take the middle path, walking down to your right through a small parking area and into the woods.


Walk about 20m to the next small public footpath sign where you will turn sharp right down past some ponds to your left. This part of the path can be very muddy underfoot. At the next fingerpost signed 'Woolacombe Village 1' turn left following the path between two ponds and into the woods.


Carry on straight under the low-hanging bough of a tree. You will see a National Trust sign for 'Combesgate Valley'. You are now walking along the top of the valleyside back in the direction of Woolacombe. Pass out of the woods, through the gate and follow the path around the side of the valley.

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Follow the footpath signs to Woolacombe as you come down to the houses, through a gate and out onto a quiet road. The 3-finger signpost here is signed 'Woolacombe Village 1/2 mile.' Walk along this road being careful of traffic, to the T-junction at the end where you are now back on the esplanade. Turn left here and retrace your steps back to the car park.


Esplanade Car park, the Esplanade, Woolacombe, EX34 7BN. SS457254

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Woolacombe short circular walk via Combesgate


A varied walk along tarmac, grassy slopes and woodland paths that is suitable for all the family. Inclines and descents are gentle. Some parts of the trail can be muddy underfoot after rain, even in summer, so appropriate footwear is advised.

Woolacombe short circular walk via Combesgate

Contact us

Woolacombe short circular walk via Combesgate

How to get here

Woolacome, North Devon
By train

Barnstaple then 13 miles by road

By road

A361 - A399 - A3123 - B3343 then signposted to Woolacombe

By foot

Access from the South West Coast Path

By bus

No. 31 Barnstaple to Ilfracombe

By bicycle

National Cycle Network Route 278, see Sustrans for more information.

Woolacombe short circular walk via Combesgate

Facilities and access

  • Dogs welcome under close control, and on a lead through caravan site
  • Nearest toilets and refreshments in Woolacombe
  • Parking along Esplanade and in Woolacombe