Great for Devon Coast Path walking-though the path's up and downs will test the legs of even the fittest walker. Some of the most imposing cliffs in Britain, over 300 metres high in places, heavily folded sedimentary rock, sandstone and mudstones, constantly being battered in winter storms, intersected by combes reaching to the sea- with Lundy Island in the near distance on a clear day.
There are many delightful walks in the area: Either 20 minutes south to Speke's Mill Mouth and its waterfall, the beach though isolated is popular with surfers. Nearby St Catherine’s Tor clinging to the cliff edge takes ones breath away, or north to Blegberry. Like Speke's Mill very off the beaten track, with a mile long often strenuous coast walk needed to reach it. Worth the effort for the stunning scenery and yet more dramatic rock formations that is the North Devon Coast around Hartland Point and sheer isolation.
The coast path is very steep in places. Cliffs by their nature are unstable- keep away from edges and do not wander, or sunbathe beneath them. Rock falls can and do occur without notice at any time of year.
Hartland Quay There was a limekiln, labourers cottages, a malt-house, stores and warehouses. Though the exact date is not known it is believed the pier was built in the late 16th century- along with similar constructions at Bucks Mills and Clovelly. The end of the pier washed away in 1887, with most of the structure's remains destroyed in an October 1896 storm, bringing the demise of the trade in corn, coal and limestone by sailing sloops that had carried on for nearly 300 years. Today one of the stores have been converted to a delightful and so informative small museum. The Hotel offers fine accommodation as well as a restaurant and has a bar aptly named the Wreckers Retreat in what was the old stables.
A lighthouse was erected on the headland in 1874, some 100 feet above water level. Manned until 1984, now automated. Not open to the public. There are frequent landslips, and the road to the lighthouse is unsafe. Only a mile inland is the Abbey, founded in 1157, dissolved by Henry VIII, ever since the family home of the Stucley family. Impressive collections of pictures and porcelain, the woodland and walled gardens a delight to explore.
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Nestled in a sheltered valley nearby and well worth a visit are Docton Mill and gardens- yes can you resist their mouth watering cream teas- especially after that so invigorating coast walk? In the village of Stoke lying between the Abbey and the Quay is the parish church of St Nectan's, its 128 foot high tower visible for miles around, and on clear days used for navigation by ships out to sea. Inside is a so intricate rood screen from the 15th century. A sort walk down into the valley is St Nectan's Holy Well.
A few miles up the coast and the only sheltered harbour is Clovelly. One of the most visited villages in North Devon. White washed houses clinging to the hillside. Cobbled village streets. A medieval quay.
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