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Combesgate beach with Woolacombe beach in the distance seen from Mortehoe, Devon
Views of Combesgate and Woolacombe beach seen from Mortehoe, Devon | © National Trust/Hannah Burton

A short circular walk at Woolacombe via Combesgate

Explore the seafront and natural valley at Woolacombe on this easy 3-mile circular walk. Starting at the sea front of this Victorian town, you'll take in Woolacombe's expansive sea front before turning off up a scenic grassy valley, or 'combe' where wildflowers abound in the spring and summer. Escape the crowds and enjoy shady woodland and panoramic views across the bay for a very different experience of Woolacombe.

Total steps: 9

Total steps: 9

Start point

Esplanade Car park, the Esplanade, Woolacombe, EX34 7BN. Grid reference: SS457254

Step 1

Leave from Esplanade car park and turn onto the esplanade road 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.

Step 2

As you walk around the esplanade you will pass a small inlet known as Barricane Beach on your left.

Step 3

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 path up the combe.

The flowers of the Hottentot fig plant, an invasive non-native species at The Lizard, Cornwall
The flowers of the Hottentot Fig plant at Woolacombe, Devon. | © National Trust Images/Ross Hoddinott

Step 4

Carry on walking up the valley as it gently rises. Go through the gate and follow the path through the woodland that provides welcome shade in summer.

Bumblebee in flight pollinating foxgloves at Sheringham Park, Norfolk
Bumblebee in flight pollinating foxgloves at Woolacombe, Devon | © National Trust Images/Rob Coleman

Step 5

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

Step 6

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.

Step 7

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.

Step 8

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.

Step 9

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 ½ 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.

End point

Esplanade Car park, the Esplanade, Woolacombe, EX34 7BN. Grid reference: SS457254

Trail map

Map route for Woolacombe short circular walk via , Devon
Map route for Woolacombe short circular walk via Combesgate, Devon | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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Get in touch

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