Wembury Bay and the River Yealm walk

Walking trail

An ideal walk for any day, with fine views of the Mewstone, Wembury Bay and, most impressively, the Yealm estuary. In summer, you can extend the route by taking the foot ferry over to Noss Mayo.

Suddenly you arrive at the River Yealm with views across the water


Map route for Wembury Bay & River Yealm walk


National Trust car park, grid ref: SX515485


Walk to the far end of the car park and take the steep zig-zag path leading up through the gorse on your left. As you climb between low banks of gorse and blackthorn, pause to look back over the beach, out to the Great Mewstone and Wembury Point. The Blackstone Rocks below were, in November 1824, the setting for an heroic rescue when the brig 'John' from Bideford ran into the reef. Continue up the path (in spring flanked by three cornered leek, alexanders and honesty) to pass between two houses. Another house stood on the right but was bombed during the Second World War; its ruins lie buried beneath the cliff top scrub.

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Go through the gate and continue up the slope. The wall to your left enclosed a 19th-century warren where rabbits were farmed. Follow the path to the summit, passing on your right the quarry which provided the shale stone for the warren wall. Head down through the gate and bear left along the top path, away from the worn path leading towards Season Point.

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Follow the path eastwards and soon youll see the grey stone farm buildings of New Barton on your left. Go over a footbridge, and before passing through the gate, look for a small pond below on the right. On summer days this pond is often busy with dragonflies, damselflies, frogs and newts. Go through the gate and along the path, through further gates, with views of the River Yealm through the bushes. Keep an eye out for ravens and peregrine falcons which nest in the cliffs. Between monterey pines, half-hidden by scrub, you may spot a Plymouth tramways electric supply box.

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A further gate brings you to Rocket Cottage, which once stored the Yealm Coastguard horse-drawn lifesaving apparatus. Continue past the cottage (turn right to Warren Point and the seasonal ferry to Gara Point, or turn left for a short cut to Wembury village). Follow the waymarked Thorn Path into Clitters Wood. When the path forks, take the upper route which soon leads out of the trees. Follow the path uphill towards a fence and hedge boundary and into a field. Head across the field towards the stone wall, then turn sharp left and follow the field edge and wall to reach the gates of a stock-handling area. Go through this, turn right and follow the track uphill, then round to the left and out onto Warren Lane. Turn right towards Wembury village.

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Follow the lane, past a barn and some cottages, and where the lane curves to the right to pass the walls of Monckswood, take the unpaved track to the left. The track veers to the right and narrows to a shady path, in spring lined with celandines and the vanilla-scented winter heliotrope. Across the field to your right is Monckswood, built on the site of the stable block of Wembury House, which stands just behind it. Take the path to the left (signposted to church and beach), which skirts the village, running along the backs of houses and through a gate. Turn right through a second gate to cross a field and emerge onto a lane. Turn left, then right onto a track which soon descends through a field towards St Werburgh Church. A gate leads onto the coast path and down to the car park.

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National Trust car park, grid ref: SX515485

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Wembury Bay and the River Yealm walk


Fairly level after an initial climb. Rough coast path, but well worn by walkers. Please keep your dog on a lead as Dartmoor ponies graze on the cliffs. Dogs not allowed on the beach from 1 May to 30 September.

Wembury Bay and the River Yealm walk

Contact us

Telephone: 01752 346585
Wembury Bay and the River Yealm walk

How to get here

Wembury beach, South Devon
By train

Plymouth station, 7 miles (11km).

By road

3.5 miles (5.5km)  from A379 at Elburton, follow signs for Wembury.

By foot

Join the walk from the South West Coast Path at Heybrook Bay or Bovisand.

By bus

City Bus 49, Plymouth to Heybrook Bay (limited service).

By bicycle

Undulating cycle ride from Plymouth to Wembury along fairly busy A roads and quieter rural roads. National Cycle Network Route 2 and Route 27 pass through Plymouth. See Sustrans website for more information.

Wembury Bay and the River Yealm walk

Facilities and access

  • National Trust car park
  • Toilets at the car park