27.a Bigbury-on-Sea to Bantham

One of the problems in doing all of the rivers /estuaries I bypassed on my previous coastal walks, is getting back from the end of the walk to the start of the walk. As some of these areas are not best served by public transport, it makes sense to make use of the ferry I took in the first place! However, some of these ferries are seasonal and will cease towards the end of September.

I opted to a walk around the Avon estuary which separates the two communities of Bigbury-on-Sea and Bantham. I had originally intended to park in Bigbury and get the ferry across to Bantham. However, the ferry did not start until 10:00 and I thought on the way down from Shropshire that morning “why not park at the free car park at Aveton Gifford (the first bridging point across the Avon) and walk to Bigbury-on-Sea?”, then catch the ferry to Bantham and walk bck to Aventon Gifford.

So arriving at Aveton at 8:30 I set off on the Tidal road that runs alongside the estuary for almost a mile. The tide still had almost 90 mins to reach High Tide, so I was comfortably able to walk along the muddy road. There is a well-marked path, the Avon Estuary Walk, which I would be following. After leaving the Tidal road, the path climbs slowly up and across fields giving a lovely view of the river snaking the short distance towards the Sea. It is a beautiful sunny morning as I walk along leafy roads and begin a steeper climb onto  Bigbury Golf Course. I can see Bantham clearly now and I descend to Cockleridge Ham, were the ferry will come in.

Looking down the River Avon on the tidal road
The tidal road
Looking down the Avon towards Bantham
I’m on the Avon Estuary Walk

I arrive at 10:00 and  join an elderly couple who are waving to attract the attention of the ferryman on the far side. We climb into the small wooden boat, with the ferryman’s Husky dog asleep on the bow! It only takes a 2 minutes to cross the river and I am soon on my way back towards Aveton Gifford along the opposite bank of the River. The return walk unfortunately gives few views down to the River, which is out of sight for most of the route. I arrive back at the A379 and must walk along a particularly nasty section of road to get back to the car.

Looking back up river
On the ferry across the Avon
Looking back towards Bantham (left) with Burgh Island & Bigbury-on-Sea (right)
Descending towards Aveton Gifford

As I had to get back to Shropshire for a football game that night, I opt not to do another walk that day. This walk had taken just 2.5hrs and it does seem a bit extravagant to drive 460 miles just for 9 miles! I’ll certainly fill my day more when I return for the next river/estuary walk!

Distance today = 9 miles
Total distance =   3,120 miles




One thought on “27.a Bigbury-on-Sea to Bantham”

  1. That tidal road was flooded when I did that walk up and down the estuary. In fact, the other side was a mud-bath too. I did like the views over the water. Wonderful that you got to use the ferry. I didn’t even realise there was one!


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