Walk #85: Bude to Elmscott
Map of the walk
Maps courtesy of Google Maps. Route for indicative purposes only, and may have been plotted after the walk. Please let me have comments on what you think of this new format. For a detailed table of timings for this walk, please see the table file.
A day of walking both the coast path (as far as Duckpool) and road and track walking. Highlight of the day (and this shows how much of an unexciting day it was) was the radar dishes on the hill above Lower Sharpnose Point - so obviously part of the environment (they are visible for miles) but pretending to be secret and not really there.
Some of the roads marked on the map - for example the one down to and up from Gooseham Mill - are nothing more than muddy tracks going up and down steep hillsides and were consequently harder going than they should rightly have been.
The climb down the hillside from Warren Gutter to the road at Duckpool on the coastal path was very steep and very muddy, the cumulative effect of which was that the descent had to be taken incredibly carefully so that I did not slip - I nearly went over twice. This is the sort of terrain where walking poles are absolutely invaluable.
I am staying in a YHA hostel at Elmscott that is quite nice and remote - it is self-catering only with no local pub so it is a very good job that I brought some food with me. There is a lady here who works at Swanlea school in Whitechapel - the same school that Juliet worked at. A small world or what?
I have booked a B&B in Horns Cross. This means that if it does not rain and visibility is good I will get the opportunity to visit Hartland Point. You can see Lundy Island from here, so the view should be much better from Hartland Point.
It is really nice to be out of Cornwall - it seems as though it has gone on forever. I now have all of Devon to look forward to.
Follow the coastal path northwards out of Bude. When you descend from the hill of Warren Gutter down to the beach at Duckpool, turn right along the road following the north bank of the stream. At the end turn left onto another road and then almost immediately left onto another that leads steeply uphill. This road soon flattens out and takes you past the communications station that was visible from just after Bude.
Continue on this road and then turn left to visit the church at Morwenstow - a very picturesque location with much to see. From Morwenstow double back on yourself for a short period and continue east towards the village of Shop. Do not enter Shop, but continue along the road before taking a left turn to take you north towards the village of Gooseham.
Continue through Gooseham northwards as the road begins a steep descent down to Marsland Water at Gooseham Mill. This river is the Devon / Cornwall border, and was a welcome sight for me after having spent over a week walking through Cornwall. The river can be crossed via a footbridge before the road then passes steeply uphill along a unsurfaced road. The road eventually flattens out and joins a larger road by a farm.
Turn right down this road as it swings to the left. Take the first left that leads you through Darracott and then steeply downhill to another river. Turn right over the river and then head uphill. At the top turn right and immediately left to take you past Linton. The road then goes steeply downhill to yet another river and then uphill again. At the junction take the road that heads almost straight on down to another river. Cross the river and head steeply uphill past Golden Park. This road can then be followed directly northwards to Elmscott, where the Elmscott YHA can be found.
This makes a total distance of 13.8 miles, with 2743 feet of ascent and 2352 feet of descent.
I stayed at Elmscott YHA, telephone. 01237 441367. It is at grid ref. 231 217, and is a very nice hostel. I quite like these remote hostels as they force everyone to be sociable - groups of people all go into the kitchen and do not disappear off to the pub.
For more details of suitable accommodation in this area, please see the South West Coast Path Association's Annual handbook.
Please note that I take no responsibility for anything that may happen when following these directions. If you intend to follow this route, then please use the relevant maps and check the route out before you go out. As always when walking, use common sense and you should be fine.
If you find any information on any of these routes that is inaccurate, or you wish to add anything, then please email me.
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And finally, enjoy your walking!
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