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People walking down stairs on a cliff from Brean Down, Somerset.
Visitors at Brean Down | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

Brean Down coastal walk

Discover one of the great landmarks of the Somerset coastline on this scenic coastal walk across Brean Down. Standing over 300ft (92m) high and extending 1.5 miles (2.4km) into the Bristol Channel, the Down is steeped in intriguing stories, from prehistoric worship to Second World War weapon testing. It’s also renowned for its wildlife, so keep a look out for a great variety of birds, plants and butterflies whilst on this circular route.

Beware of cliffs and deep mud

If on Brean Beach (part owned by the National Trust) be aware of deep mud at low tide. Cliffs are dangerous (children should be supervised). Keep an eye out for changes in the weather as there is little shelter on top of the Down.

Total steps: 6

Total steps: 6

Start point

Cove Café, grid ref: ST296588

Step 1

There are two routes from the café towards the headland. At low tide head onto the beach and walk towards the headland until you reach the coast path to your right, continue on the path until you reach some fairly steep steps. These will lead you up onto the Down. For a more accessible route continue on the road and follow the route to the tarmac path on your right.

Step 2

Once on the Down, take the path to the left, along the southern slopes. Wildlife thrives here due to the rocky limestone grassland and warm south facing cliffs.

Step 3

Continue along the path until you come to the site of a Romano-Celtic temple. It was built in about AD 340, close to a Bronze Age burial mound. Rock from a quarry on the Down provided some of the stone for the building.

Close-up of a common blue butterfly perched on a flower stalk at Coombe Hill
Common blue butterfly | © National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole

Step 4

Further along the path you will come across the remains of a Celtic field system, a series of small rectangular fields.

Step 5

Continue up towards the fort, which is located on a small hill. Here you can take a closer look at the remains of the fortifications and enjoy spectacular views across the Bristol Channel.

Step 6

From the fort make your way back along the other side of the Down to the site of the Iron Age hillfort. Take a closer look at the banks and ditches before continuing along the path. Follow it round to the right. This will take you back to the steps and down to the café.

End point

Cove Café, grid ref: ST296588

Trail map

Map showing route of Brean Down coastal walk in Somerset
Brean Down coastal walk map | © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey

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