Welcome to the final installment of my trip to North Devon. For those who missed the first part you can catch up on the story in my last post “Rocky Ramparts and Beautiful Beaches.”
My next base was to be on the Hartland Peninsula which has many stunning waterfalls cascading on to pebbled foreshores and streams tumbling beneath bridges or meandering their way through a delightful valley towards the sea. On the way I stopped off at Peppercombe Beach which is approached down a steep path through a picturesque wooded valley. It leads to the impressive cliffs which are carved from red Triassic stone and which provides vantage points from which to view the grand sweep of the coastline to the east and the westward arc to Hartland Point.
The objective was to try to cover as many of the major landscape features on the coast as possible from Clovelly round to the Devon/Cornwall border at Marsland Mouth and all in 3 days. A tall order but well worth the effort as the weather continued in my favour.
On the first day I picked up the coast at Exmansworthy and then walked to Hartland Point where there was the first good photo opportunity of the day.
Beyond here was the hanging valleys and water falls starting with one that I only spotted by chance as it is hidden away from the path and needed a drop down to gain a good point of view. It’s at the seaward termination of Titchberry Water which starts as a fair-sized stream, rising near Exmansworthy, two and three-quarter miles distant, and where I first reached the coast. From what I can find it doesn’t even appear to have a name so I have just called it Titchberry Waterfall.
Although there are other waterfalls and valleys before reaching Hartland Quay, just beyond is by far the most impressive and possibly the finest in the South West at Speke’s Mill Mouth where Milford Waters enters the sea and falls to the shore down five waterfalls, of which the first at 50 feet is the highest and most famous. It must be because this time it does have a name – Speke’s Mill Waterfall.
Can you believe that was only day one but as far as this section of the trip is concerned it contained many great locations although it was quite a strenuous walk.
The following day I visited Blackchurch Rock, one of the better known landscape features in the area which is situated on the rugged coastline between Clovelly and Hartland at Mill Mouth. Best visited at low tide so the full extent of its imposing and spectacular formation can be appreciated, it has been created by the ravages of nature and the perpetual action of the waves. I continued the walk on to the Clovelly area but decided not to visit the village wanting to press on to reach even more photographic locations.
The final day of the trip was spent around the Devon/Cornwall county boundary taking in Marsland Mouth and Welcombe Mouth. The stream at Marsland Mouth forms the boundary but Welcombe Mouth is one of Devon’s hidden coastal gems. With the wave cut platforms and folded rocks of the beach and cliffs facing the full might of the Atlantic Ocean and a wild, rugged and unspoilt valley behind, it is all too easy to imagine it as the haunt of smugglers and wreckers in years gone by.
Unfortunately that was the end of my trip to the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with its Heritage Coasts which includes those rocky ramparts, beautiful beaches, hanging valleys and wonderful waterfalls. I hope you have enjoyed it and have the opportunity one day to see it all for yourselves.