Section 7. Instow to Westward Ho - North Devon Coast Path
Distance: 11 miles Grade: Easy - what these grades mean
The South West Coast Path continues to follow the Tarka Trail route today on an easy 3 mile route, continuing inland along the estuary towards Bideford. After crossing on the historic and expansive Bideford Bridge built back in 1280, there is time to explore this pleasing Market Town. The trail then takes you back up the opposite side of the Torridge Estuary heading back to sea passing disused Quays initially and then along a mix of pleasant riverside woodland, short boardwalks over marshes and hidden tiny beaches.
Enter the picture postcard village of Appledore and finally reach the impressive merging point of the mighty Taw and Torridge rivers and their combined estuary expanse. Away from the charming cottages, Appledore was The North Coast’s main shipbuilding centre and has a proud past in maritime. During the Napoleonic Wars over 200 ships were turned out here in 15 years. The huge modern Appledore Shipbuilding Yards are still in evidence and give a strange contrast to the pretty little streets of the old village where rows of tiny cottages, former homes of old sailing captains sit in the heart of this sleepy estuary village.
Well worth a look if you are on a short day is the North Devon Maritime Museum housed here, and the path skirts round its buildings and past the current lifeboat station. The views from here over the waters and seemingly never ending sand dunes and mud flats are fantastic, as you pass the ruined Hinks boat yard before heading out to the wide spit of land that houses Northam Burrows Country Park. Return to isolation as 600 acres of protected sand dunes, salt marsh and wild life await you on the final section of the South West Coast Path before reaching Westward Ho!
The day and the North Devon Coast Path route ends as you emerge from the Burrows along sandy beaches to find the back of the famous landmark pebble ridge at Westward Beach and a final triumphant walk along the beachfront to the bizarrely named section head at Westward Ho!