The Appetite Raiser North Devon Walk
Time: 1.5 – 2 hours
Distance: 4 miles (circular)
Difficulty: Easy - Moderate (some hills)
A stout pair of walking shoes is not essential but, when wet, you might be glad of them. A waterproof jacket is always advisable (this is the Atlantic coast after all). Switch off GPS devices and enjoy the countryside!
- Begin your walk at the entrance to the Pig on the Hill driveway.
- Turn left up the country lane, and cross the style on your left.
- Continue through two fields and then turn left onto the lane. Follow this down the hill and up the other side.
- At the junction turn right (un-signposted) and follow the lane. By now you should be feeling the sea breeze (or howling wind…). There’s a perfect gate to lean on up ahead. Take a peek at the view.
- Continue along lane to Abbotsham Court. Turn right on the paved lane towards the beach. At the end, turn left over the style.
- Follow the path, towards the sea, kinking to the right as you come over the brow of the hill. Lundy is ahead, Clovelly and Hartland Point are to the left, and Baggy Point is on the right.
In the 1920s, the valley below was home to Shebberton race course ‘the most beautifully situated racecourse in England’.
- At the bottom of the hill, cross the style to Abbotsham Cliff beach.
The gullies and crevices of this beach are home to lobster, shrimp and Conger eels, with occasional visits from porpoises and seals.
- Turn right and follow the coast path, that runs the course of the old Bideford to Westward Ho! railway. Built in 1901, the cuttings were blasted through the rock. This stretch is long and straight.
- The village of Westward Ho! in your sights turn right onto Kipling Tor.
The Tor is named after Jungle Book author, Rudyard Kipling, whose schooldays here in the 1870s inspired his novel Stalky and co.
- Turn right on the steep path that leads upwards. At its end is the Lookout, with the best views of Bideford Bay.
From the Lookout you can see the white Saunton Sands Hotel. The beach below it has starred on album covers (Pink Floyd) and in music videos (Robbie Williams). During WW2, over 10,000 American GIs trained for the D-Day invasion on Braunton Burrows (the dunes behind), which is now a designated UNESCO biosphere.
- Retrace your footsteps down the hill and turn right on the first path. Follow the path across the top of the Tor.
- At the crossroads of paths, turn right and follow the path upwards through the trees and all the way up until you come to a metal gate.
- Cross the road and follow the lane downwards.
- Arrive at the Pig on The hill for well needed refreshment!