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Section 2. Clovelly to Hartland Quay - Devon Coast Path

Distance 10 miles - Grade Moderate to Strenuous - What this grade means

From re-entering the welcoming ancient wooded slopes this morning today’s walk gives way to the desolate and isolated headland around Hartland and a clear warning that Cornwall is now almost in reach.  

A steep return up the cobbled streets of Clovelly finds the path below the Tudor mansion at Clovelly Court and heading into more wild woodland. Clinging to the cliffs above the sea, the forest hides a unique run of unusual shelters and stone summerhouses, the most startling being the wonderful Angels Wings memorial shelter built in 1826.

You then have a choice - the standard path heads down to Mouth Mill beach through the woods. Alternatively, the “adventurous” path takes you through a mini rock tunnel, past more stone summerhouses and out onto a cliff top platform with a viewpoint to make you breathless at a height of over 400ft up above the crashing waves.

After climbing up to Gallantry Bower the path enters more forest and seemingly endless zig zags on the way down to Mouth mill Beach, a setting from Kingsley's Water Babies, where beyond the ruined lime kilns you can take in Blackchurch Rock with its two natural archways. It’s a steady and dramatic walk onto imposing Hartland Point, a stark point thrusting itself out into the Atlantic in seeming defiance of the sea. Pass Windbury Waterfall and the Iron Age Castle and round the strange mushroom shaped MOD Radar Tower before arriving at this loneliest of Lighthouses, 350ft high and perched on jagged black rocks under endless attacks by the waves. 

From the viewing platform its not only the local seals and distant Lundy Island you can see. Below, the twisted remains of the Johanna, which sank here on New Years Eve in 1982, are being carved as you watch.  This is one of Devon’s most dramatic viewpoints. Here you are at the heart of this rough, battered and twisted coastline of russet rock, where bizarre folds and strata surround the walker. Time and again now you climb in and out of little coombes such as Smoothlands, an ancient timeless hanging valley of gorse bracken and heather. More hidden valleys are crossed by exquisite stone bridges hung over racing brooks that all hurtle towards the rocks far below. So much so that At Blegburry Water the stream falls below you straight to the beach... and then magically disappears! Just before reaching Hartland in brief respite from the ferocious scenery you cross a serene stone bridge hidden in a patch of woodland below the 12th century Hartland Abbey before the final leg to Hartland Quay.

Overnight stops at Hartland Quay on the South West Coast Path

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