Things to see and do at Bideford Bay and Hartland
The miles of unspoilt coastline at Bideford Bay and Hartland play host to waterfalls, secret beaches, secluded woodland valleys and grassland carpeted by wild flowers. Along the way, there are unspoilt villages to visit, historical landmarks to explore, numerous wildlife watching opportunities and lush orchards that can be enjoyed at any time of year.
Along the coast
Burrough Farm, Northam
Burrough Farm, on the edge of Northam, consists of several fields which slope down to the low wooded cliffs of the Torridge estuary, with a small cove and an area of ancient tidal marshland. If you visit at low tide, you may be able to spot some shipwrecks.
Kipling Tors, Westward Ho!
Kipling Tors is the gorse covered hill which sits above Westward Ho! The hill was dedicated to Rudyard Kipling and was given to the Trust by the Kipling Memorial Fund in 1938. Discover the old lookout on the Tors, a stunning viewpoint which was recently bought to life by local school children.
Bucks Mills is a fishing village which winds its way down to a pebbly beach with a waterfall, the remains of lime kilns, and numerous rock pools. Here you’ll also find The Cabin, an artistic retreat for Mary Stella Edwards and Judith Ackland, which sits on the slipway down to the beach and has remained trapped in time for over 40 years.
Brownsham Moors is a Site of Special Scientific Interest with a mixture of different habitats including wet and dry grassland. It’s home to rare plant species like the yellow bartsia – which is only found very locally – and the equally rare Cornish moneywort. Head to the National Trust car park to find the starting point for quiet walking routes.
Windbury Head Camp is an Iron Age enclosure on the summit of the Beckland Cliffs and sits at 142m above sea level. Unfortunately, its precarious position means that part of the site has been lost to cliff erosion.
Far-reaching views of Bideford Bay and across to Lundy make this an ideal spot for a picnic. Keep your eyes on the ocean in the summer months, you may spot dolphins or sun fish basking on the surface of the sea. To reach Windbury Head you can walk from Brownsham or access it via the South West Coast Path.
Peace Park, Clovelly
Mount Pleasant is a small park surrounded by trees with views of Bideford Bay. It was passed to the Trust in 1921 by Mrs Christine Hamlyn, in memory of people connected to the First World War.
Tip: pair your visit to the park with a walk around Clovelly's enchanting car-free village.
East Titchberry and Shipload Bay
East Titchberry Farm lies immediately east of Hartland Point and was given to the Trust by Miss Abraham in 1943. It includes farmland and buildings, as well as a stretch of coast. A short walk from the car park you’ll also find Shipload Bay, where you may be able to spot some visiting seals resting on the rocks.
Eldern Point, Hartland
Close to Hartland Point, this is a good place to unfurl a picnic blanket. Take your binoculars and look out for seals, peregrine falcons or porpoise.
Welcombe Mouth and South Hole
Welcombe Mouth is a secluded beach, reached by rough unmade road. With fine sand from mid-tide and many rock pools to explore, it makes for a simple pleasures-style escape from modern life.
It’s a great place to stop on the South West Coast Path for a packed lunch, with views to Hartland Point and beyond to Cornwall.
Follow a visit to the beach with a short walk to Embury Beacon and South Hole.
The Peppercombe Valley
Only accessible by foot, Peppercombe Valley is a secluded woodland valley that runs down to a quiet beach, backed by striking red cliffs. These rocks are made up of 280-million-year-old mud and sandstone, a spectacle that cannot be found anywhere else locally.
Purchased in 1988 from the Pine-Coffin family, who had owned it since the time of Henry II (1154–1189), the valley is a mixture of woodland, marsh and grassland, and is rich in wildlife.
A peaceful beach
Peppercombe Valley beach’s pebbly foreshore is littered with rock pools and a sandy strip appears at low tide. Take a picnic and make this your lunchtime stop along the South West Coast Path.
Pop into the Coach House
The Coach House is a peaceful spot to shelter, picnic or relax in, and open to anyone who may be passing through the valley.
A beautiful mural depicting the wide variety of species graces one of the walls of the Coach House, created in summer 2019 by a volunteer. How many different plants and animals can you spot on it?
Afterwards, let everyone know what wildlife you have spotted during your walk on the blackboard. From dolphins, porpoises and ospreys to butterflies, beetles and wildflowers, Peppercombe is a haven for many different species.
Explore North Devon’s orchards
From old tithe maps of the area, we know there has been an orchard at Brownsham since at least 1900; today it’s filled with apples, pears and plums. Join us on a juicing day to taste some of the varieties.
Even in winter the Brownsham Orchard is an enchanting space for a walk. The best time to see the blossoms is in the spring, but a visit in mid-summer will reveal an orchard heavy with fruit and full of tranquillity. You might even spot a silver-washed fritillary butterfly or a marsh fritillary butterfly dancing about.
You can park in the Brownsham car park, a National Trust car park with an honesty box. While the orchard is suitable for pushchairs, unfortunately it’s not accessible for wheelchairs.
Peppercombe Orchard is now fully accessible, so anyone can sit and enjoy the views across Bideford Bay from this serene and secluded coombe.
Take time to sit and listen to the sea, the bird song and the buzz of wildlife around you. It’s a particularly good spot for watching the blossoms in spring.
There’s no parking at Peppercombe but you can park in Horn's Cross.
The orchard at Dunsland is fringed by woodland and wildlife hedges, so not only does it provide fruit for making apple juice and cider, it also provides a valuable refuge for wild animals too.
As if trapped in time, the coastal summer studio of artists Judith Ackland and Mary Stella Edwards stands just as it did more than 40 years ago.
Discover the 780 miles of beautiful coastline in our care. Plan your next coastal adventure, whether you want to explore soft, sandy beaches or rugged, windswept cliffs.
Try out the ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ activities children can enjoy by the sea, from paddling or swimming, to catching crabs and skimming stones.
While canoeing and kayaking are great ways to experience nature and keep fit, they can be dangerous if you don't follow the guidelines. Learn how to stay safe with our advice and guidance.