North Devon Walks – Putsborough beach & coastal path

by Mags_Nixon
This is one of our favourite walks since my youngest could manage it solo from the age of 3 or 4.  It manages to squeeze in a bit of everything and is varied enough to grip interest entirely round the circuit – a must for my little one where walking can be tough unless it’s disguised as a chase, a treasure trail, or a game.
Plus it ends on the beach  so they forget the walk was ever there by the time they meet the welcoming waves and the sweet taste of ice cream dissolves on their tongues.
Putsborough Sands ‘Best Beach in the UK by Trip Advisor in 2015 and 2016’.
Whilst you might want to park and flop on the beach for the day, this walk is short enough to squeeze into the morning to get the heart pumping whilst walking the dog or a good one when the sky is moody, charcoal with impending rain (we always end up at the beach cafe which is a fab place to shelter from storms).

The walk follows the track high above the beach heading North towards Putsborough Down, affording spectacular views both of the beach and the headlands of Baggy Point to the South and  Morte Pointe ahead. We cut sharply down the
  sand dunes with a bum slide onto the beach (which the kids love!) and return along the beach so the kids can unleash their energy with  sea wading, rock scrambling and general beach mayhem back to the café for a well deserved ice-cream or latte!Putsborough Sands is a stunning beach at the southern end of a long glorious stretch of 3 miles of golden sand. If you’ve never visited, then put it firmly on your radar because this beach is simply beautiful. In contrast to tourist trodden Woolcombe at the northern end of the beach, Putsborough Sands is laid back, chilled out and has a much more remote air. It has the winning combination of being back to basics with nothing more than a car park and a beach shack.

 

 The view from Putsborough Sands Car Park.
Campervans can also park up here overnight for £35. Not a bad view to wake up to.
Protected by dramatic cliffs on it’s Southern side, the vast beach is punctuated with perfect clambering rocks and easy parking makes it the ideal for families. It’s also one of the two all year dog friendly beaches locally. 

 

 Looking out to Baggy Point headland, watch for seals playing close to rocks where the cliffs plunge sharply into the ocean.
This section of beach is dog free (most southerly tip up to the beach cafe)
Putsborough Easy Hike
1 hour round trip
Easy terrain but not suitable for buggies

1. Follow the signs to Putsborough beach and if you want to park for free, park at the top of the lane on the left just after the road turns down left into the car park. 

2. Walking North with the beach on your left, you’ll see the road bends down a steep hill to the left. Don’t turn down but carry straight on to the walking track to the left of the houses.

 

 Stunning scenery even on a grey day. Looking down to Woolacombe from the track above Putsbourough
3. The footpath is clearly marked and takes you high above the beach and the dunes which you can see periodically between the high hedgerows. There’s a small hill to climb. Here you can see all the way the stretch of sand to Woolacombe (photo above) and the headland of Morte Point. To the south the ocean is hemmed in by the dramatic cliffs of Baggy Point. On a clear day gaze out to sea to spot Lundy Island, 12 miles off shore, the first marine conservation area in the UK to be protected.

 

The footpath goes through a tree tunnel which my girls always love, fantasizing about elves and goblins, and eventually meets the end of ‘Marine Drive’ (a long gravelled car park track that stretches back to Woolacombe – an excellent place to park and gaze at the views from Woolacombe with easy access to the dunes and the middle of the beach).

3. As soon as you hit the larger gravelled track of Marine Drive take the first footpath cutting off down to the beach on the left. Descend the steps (above) where you’ll come to the top of the dunes.

 

 The top of the dunes between Putsborough and Woolacombe and half way round the walk
– just long enough for small legs to cope with!
4. From here cut down through the dunes alleyway and make your own style down the dunes. Our girls love to blast full throttle down the seeping sand and leap into oblivion off the last frontier of grass banks. I, on the other hand, frustratingly have to sidle down cautious granny style until my knee’s way stronger.

 

Leaping into oblivion – one of childhood’s little joys.

5. Head towards the sea for wet play and then return along the beach at your own speed.

 

 As the tide rushes out at Putsborough it creates a myriad of tiny banks and pools. Endless fun for leapers and hoppers.

 

 Looking back up from whence you came. You passed the house on the hill on the right!
Gaze at the beach side houses sheltering by the dunes. Previously unseen from the track up high. Oh what it would be to own one of those, to smell the salt air and watch the waves roll in every day. One can but dream!

 

 Baggy Point stretching out into the horizon. Another great walk for families but slightly longer and less varied.
Finish off with an ice-cream or a hot chocolate in the café
Have you been to Putsborough? What are your favourite North Devon walks?

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