52. Lynton to Hele Bay

Todays walk would be east to west and walking to Hele Bay which I had previously reached from the south in January 2015. I parked in the Pay & Display car and caught the early morning bus to Lynton.

Cliff railway Lynton
Feral Goats Valley of the Rocks

The weather, was warm ,but slightly dull and overcast, which suited me. Lynton has a small busy high street, which offers good views down to Lynmouth. I turn left from the main into North Walk Hill, a tiny tree-lined road  that crosses over the funicular railway. The cliff railway is very busy, as I see the qeues above and the number of passengers in the cabin has it passes below me, driven by water ballast. The path continues as a lovely tarmac path which hugs the steep hillside, it is called The North Walk and it leads to a unique area called the Valley of The Rocks, a dry valley with exposed strata. The area is famous for its feral goats, I see a few of them perched below me munching on roots and grass.

Valley of the Rocks
Slow Worm at Great Hangman Hill

The path joins a tarmac road, in fact the road is a toll road and runs for a few miles above the cliff -top. The road is quite quiet, but traffic suddenly increases due to a slow moving classic car rally. I pass by Lee Abbey, now a retreat of some sort. I hear singing coming from within, I don’t think they were monks! I enter a wooded area which I remain in until I emerge above Heddon’s Mouth. Here I must descend to and cross the River Heddon and climb up the far side through a series of zig-zags.

Looking towards Ilfracombe from Great Hangman Hill
Interesting coastline near Widmouth

I pass around the flanks of Holdstone Hill before dropping down into Sherrycombe, where I pass a small group of walkers who are taking a breather. Shortly after leaving this group I come across a slow worm, sunning itself on the path itself. I manage to get a couple of phots, not very good, before it slithers off. I am soon on the top of Great Hangman Hill (318m) and the highest point on the SWCP. The summit is marked by a large cairn of loose stone. Although, the views are limited in the haze, I can easily see Ilfracombe in the far distance. I descend towards Little Hangman Hill, but the path turns slightly inland before dropping down into Combe Martin.

After climbing up the hill out of Combe Martin, I soon turn off a small track which continues above this fascinating cliff-line towards Widmouth, wher I rejoin the main road. The path more or less follows the main road into Hele Bay, albeit with a few minor diversions. I take 6hrs for the walk.

Distance today = 16.5 miles
Total distance =   760 miles