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Things to do at Brownstone and Coleton Camp

Boy jumping the waves in spring at Wembury beach, Devon
Jumping the waves at Scabbacombe beach, Devon | © National Trust Images/Megan Taylor

Coleton Fishacre borders a stretch of rugged coastline, along which you'll find a couple of secluded coves reached by walks through quiet lanes, coast and countryside paths, so are perfect if you're looking for a dog-friendly beach on a sunny day. Spot a wide variety of wildlife including seals and swallows that flourish in the area.

Steep and uneven paths

Please be aware that access to some of these beaches involve steep, rugged and uneven coastal paths.

Beaches to explore

Scabbacombe Beach

Just down the road from Coleton Fishacre you'll find Scabbacombe Lane, with Scabbacombe car park (National Trust) tucked on the right a little way down it. From the car park a public footpath leads to Scabbacombe beach.

Walk across fields

The walk is about one mile through fields, steep in places but with great views over the sea. Once you reach the beach you can cool off with a swim, or even carry on walking along the South West Coast Path. This beach is very quiet, and popular with naturists.

Man Sands Beach

Further down Scabbacombe Lane you'll find Man Sands car park (National Trust). From here, a walk down the lane leads you past a bird hide and on to Man Sands beach. From the bird hide you can look out over Man Sands wetland and down to the beach.

A steep climb

It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to walk from the car park to the beach, but longer to walk back up as it's quite steep in places. The ground is uneven, so sturdy footwear is advised.

It's well worth the walk to reach the beach though, which is popular for swimming and surfing, as well as rock-pooling at low tide.

Children finding a crab whilst rock-pooling on the beach at Poldhu Cove on the Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall
Rock-pooling at Scabbacombe beach, Devon | © National Trust Images/John Millar

Family activities

There’s plenty of fun to be had at the beach all year round, so why not get closer to nature with some of the ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ activities?

No. 5 Skim a stone

It’s a tricky skill, but if you have a steady arm and keen eye, you’ll master it. Best done with a calm sea and flat pebble.

No. 20 Go paddling

There’s nothing quite like the tickle of water on your toes – have a go and see how it feels.

No. 37 Explore the wonders of a rock pool

What can you spot amongst the seaweed? Rock pools nearest the sea will be filled with fascinating creatures, as well as funky rocks and even fossils.

Barn Owl, Tyto alba, hunting over rough grass, Norfolk
Barn owl hunting over rough grass at Brownstone and Coleton Camp | © National Trust Images/Ian Ward

Wildlife highlights to spot

Seal gazing

The Mewstone, off Froward Point, is a great spot to see seals - as many as 10 or 11 can be seen on a good day at low tide. It can be seen from the coast path between Brownstone Battery and Coleton Fishacre.

Excellent views of the Mewstone can also be had at the National Coastwatch Institute's lookout at Froward Point – don't forget your binoculars though. And while you're there keep your eyes peeled for sunfish and harbour porpoise.

Peregrine falcons

Peregrines can be seen hunting all along the coast between Kingswear and Brixham, and they even breed in the area.

The viewing point for Pudcombe Cove, at the bottom of Coleton Fishacre garden, is a great place to observe peregrines hunting along the cliffs.


Both tawny and barn owls breed on the farms around Coleton Camp and Brownstone, and if you visit Froward Point at dusk you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of them feeding.

Cirl bunting

The farmland at Brownstone, Coleton Barton and Woodhuish are home to the rare cirl bunting, providing a stronghold in the area for this struggling farmland specialist.

Unfortunately changes in farming practices and the fact that they don’t move more than 1¼ miles from their breeding sites have led to cirl buntings declining massively in recent times.

Two children in the distance look out to the sea from the grounds of Coleton Fishacre, Devon

Discover more at Brownstone and Coleton Camp

Find out how to get to Brownstone and Coleton Camp, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

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View of the coastline from the viewpoint at Coleton Fishacre, Devon

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