Take a stroll around Wembury Point
This walk will blow the cobwebs away. Views across the bay to the mysterious Great Mewstone. Discover the headland's past, still evident if you look closely, and a wide variety of wildlife, on land, sea and water.
A linear (1.2 mile) and circular (1.9 mile) trail around Wembury Point. The trail takes in the views of Wembury Bay, Plymouth Sound and the impressive Great Mewstone.
Wembury Point car park, grid ref: SX503487
Go through the gate from the car park and follow the tarmac Marine Drive (The old access road to HMS Cambridge). The Radar station is still functioning and is located on the hill to your right. There is a picnic area located just off the path, a few yards from the gate with views of the Mewstone and the Bay, as well as a number of benches dotted along this route.
The Great Mewstone
The striking wedge-shaped island has an interesting past, serving as a private home, a prison and a refuge for smugglers. During the 18th and 19th centuries the Mewstone was inhabited. The last of its residents, Samuel Wakeham, moved to the island with his family in the early 19th century. From the path, with binoculars, you can see Sam’s ruined cottage on the lower eastern slopes of the Mewstone. Today, the island is home only to many nesting seabirds who are attracted to the island’s rare isolation.
You will reach a second five-bar gate. Turn sharp left and follow the path downhill. Continue straight at the next gate. After this gate, the road widens. Turn right, following the grass path to the gated entrance and steps down to the slipway. Here you can access a small beach and visit the old boathouse.
An important defence site, Wembury Point has had a colourful military past, with the headland in continuous military use since 1911. In 1956, Wembury Point was home to HMS Cambridge, the Royal Navy’s chief gunnery training school. We bought the land in 2006, and have worked to reinstate a natural landscape with uninterrupted coastal views. All disused buildings were demolished by 2008, the roads were landscaped and fences were removed.
For the shorter (1.2 mile/1.9km) linear trail, stop at the entrance to the slipway and return to the car park. Retrace your steps, following the tarmac road back up the hill.
This stretch of coast is designated an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and as such, it requires very particular management to maintain and enhance its conservation value. Dartmoor ponies have been used to graze the site: maintaining the grassland, encouraging diversity of flowers, and ensuring that the coarse scrub is kept under control. If you see the ponies, please do not feed them as they can become a nuisance.
The old boathouse and lido: Before the gate to the slipway (the boathouse is located next to the bottom of the slipway), turn right and follow the coast path heading west. There is access to the beach again just after a small gate where the old lido was located. Continue along the path, going through a second gate where you will then approach a steeper section of path. After a third small gate you will pass an old military marker stone on your left, marked ‘No.10’ with a picture of an anchor on its rear face.
Lido and Boathouse
The rocky foreshore is a Special Area of Conservation, with a range of marine, bird, insect and plant life. Still visible is a tidal swimming pool, all that remains of the 1920s Heybrook Bay Lido, when 200 concrete and wooden holiday chalets were sprawled across the Point.
The path then approaches the houses of Heybrook Bay. At the first white house turn sharp right at the coast path way marker and follow the path uphill. You will pass a National Trust omega marked 'Wembury Point & Mewstone'. Go through the gate, and follow the tarmac road until you reach the five-bar gate. Follow the path up the tarmac drive which leads to the car park.
Wildlife at the Point
This stretch of coast is home to a rich variety of wildlife. You might see lizards, adders, speckled wood and comma butterflies, as well as flowers such as speedwell, valerian and weld. The striking Cirl Bunting is confined to a small section of the South West. Wembury Point is one of very few sites to witness this rare and beautiful bird. To learn more about the wildlife in the area, visit the Marine Centre at Wembury Beach.
Wembury Point car park, grid ref: SX503487
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