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Hiking in Britain

Walk #88: Barnstaple to Woolacombe


L15	Braunton High Street.
L18	Looking north along Woolacombe beach.
L15 Braunton High Street.
L18 Looking north along Woolacombe beach.

General Data

Date Walked 27/04/2000
County Devon
Start Location Barnstaple
End Location Woolacombe
Start time 09.05
End time 13.50
Distance 11.9 miles
Description This was a very pleasant walk along the south west coast path and some roads.
Pack Today I carried my Craghoppers WP70 rucksack, without tent, sleeping bag or trangia.
Condition I feel okay after this walk. I am a bit fatigued but nothing major or worrying. My bad ankle is still aching a far bit, and this is now starting to get slightly worrying. I will see what develops over the hard day to come tomorrow.
Weather The weather today was totally brilliant. For the first day on this trip I have not needed to have my coat on at all. This makes a large difference to so many things, including my mood. The day has been mostly overcast, although there were periods during which the sun poked through the clouds, and these periods got more frequent as the day progressed. The wind was not too strong either, which made this a nice day for walking.
OS map Landranger number 180 (Barnstable & Ilfracombe, Lynton & Bideford)

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.


This was a relatively short day which had relatively easy going for the first five miles to Braunton (following the old Barnstaple to Ilfracombe railway line) and for the last couple of miles along Woolacombe beach. The middle section between Braunton and the beach had some hills, but nothing that could be called steep or hard. Despite the early start and finish (or perhaps because of it) my morale is quite low and for some reason I feel like I could give up the trip tomorrow. I cannot put my finger on why I feel like this, but it may be down to the fact that my bad ankle is playing up slightly, and that I have three hard days in front of me.

Actually, I have just cheered up - I have been playing pool with a family from Reading in the pub and it has cheered me up no end. We played some pool and I had a lovely pizza for my evening meal. Perhaps all I needed to cheer me up was some friendly company and a pizza injection!

Woolacombe beach is very nice - the sand is just right and when the tide is out the expanse of sand is quite large. As I was walking back along the Esplanade from the pub tonight the sun was setting, and Lundy island was surrounded by a flame-red sunset and some low cloud. It was an absolutely lovely and stunning sight.


Follow the South West Coast Path for five miles north westwards out of Barnstaple. The going is very easy on the former railway trackbed, and a good speed can be kept up.

Go into the centre of Braunton and walk along the green past the boules courts. When the green ends turn left up a road that takes you uphill past Buckland Manor. Turn right uphill off this road past the entrance drive to the Manor, and near the 136 metre trig point take the left branch of the road. Take the next right that takes you into the village of Darracott, and continue on into Georgeham.

When you reach Georgeham turn left past a few shops and then immediately right which takes you down and up a little dip in the road. At the T-junction at the top of the dip turn left and walk along the road to Putsborough.

Go through Putsborough, cross the stream via the ford and when the road ends at a T-junction turn right. This road heads north, and here you have two choices; you can either walk along the coastal path behind the dunes or, if the tide is out, you can walk for two miles along the beach, which is by far the best and easiest alternative. Whichever you choose, head north for two miles until you come into Woolacombe.


From To Distance (m)Ascent (ft) Descent (ft)
Barnstaple Braunton 4.9 95 92
Braunton Putsborough 4.4 594 413
Putsborough Woolacombe 2.6 135 243

This makes a total distance of 11.9 miles, with 824 feet of ascent and 748 feet of descent.

  Profile of walk #88
For more information on profiles, ascents and descents, see this page


I spent the night at Clyst House, Rockfield Road, Woolacombe, EX34 7DH, telephone 01271 870220. It cost 18.00 per night.

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!

This walk was mentioned in the following routes:
My sectional Land's End to John O'Groats walk

Nearby walks

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#TitleWalk length (miles)