- Spectacular coastal and valley views on this stretch of the World Heritage Jurassic Coast.
- Splendid Branscombe beach and village.
- Fountain Head award winning pub.
- Famous Masons Arms in open all day.
- Pecorama gardens and steam railway or Historic Beer Quarry Caves.
- Magnificent valley scenery.
- Deer and Buzzard spotting.
- Great picnic spot.
Distance: 4.5 miles, 2 hours 45 minutes.
Extended route 3A: 7.5 miles, 4 hours.
Super-extended route 3B: 10 miles, 5.5 hours.
Difficulty: Reasonable exertion climbing out of Beer and Branscombe valley. Ascent from valley bottoms approx. 450 feet.
Recommended Maps: OS 1:25000. Explorer Nos 115 & 116
Main Route (Walk 3)
Walk down Fore Street from the Mariners’ Hall (1).Follow the South West Coast path out of Beer by the Anchor Inn to Beer Head. Continue along cliff tops (ignore signed path to left part way along cliff top) until the path descends via 83 steps on its way down to Branscombe Mouth. Duration 1 hour. Time for refreshment, beach barbecue or a swim? Sea at its warmest late summer.
Leave beach on track alongside the Sea Shanty (2) continuing gently up the valley to the second river bridge where you turn right. Follow this track into Branscombe and you will arrive at the Masons Arms (3).
Leave the Masons on the steep road (up initially) signed towards the beach. After 300 yards take the metalled track left and almost immediately right signed Stockhams Hill. Climb up through the wood to the field and follow the field edge (signposted). At the end of the field, two options.
Option a. Left path takes you down past Beer Quarry Caves, a must visit steeped in history going back to Roman times. (Guided Tours Easter to end Oct). Then down the road into Beer.
Option b. Right track picks up a green lane straight ahead leading to Pecorama, with its steam railway, café and children’s entertainment. From Pecorama follow walkways downhill into Beer centre.
Extended Route (Walk 3a)
At the Sea Shanty (2) on Branscombe beach, described above, follow the South West coast path steeply westward up the valley side into the woods. After approximately 1400 yards the coast path goes left, but you continue on the bridle track. After approximately 400 yards take the track right sign posted to the Fountain Head pub (4), enjoying panoramic village views on the way.
The pub, (closed 3.00-6.00, Sunday open 11.00am -10.30pm) of great repute, is in the super quaint ancient up valley part of Branscombe. Stroll down through the village on the road. Drop into the fine Norman Church, St Winifred’s; continue down and see the Blacksmith at work, opposite which is the enchanting National Trust Cottage tea room. You will soon arrive at the Masons Arms (3) (open all day for drinks and food).
Use return from Masons Arms as described in the main route above: option 1 or 2.
Note. An infrequent bus service connects Branscombe and Beer. Check time table with Axe Valley Transport. Taxis can be booked at the inns.
Super Extended Route (Walk 3b)
From The Fountain Head (4) door go left, cross the road, go through the gate, and take the track up hill. Follow the path/track across field and wood until it arrives at a cattle grid on a minor road. Cross grid and after 50 yards take sign steeply down valley side through woods covered in wild garlic in the spring. Turn left on a minor road and shortly reach Hole House (5).
Follow the road down into the valley and up the other side to a junction. Turn right and soon you will pass through Woodhead Farm. Continue on metalled road to junction. Go straight across on path climbing briefly to a stile. Cross and walk diagonally (at 2.00 o’clock) across the field to a stile. Cross and follow path by the hedge to another gate and stile on your left. Swing to the right below old lime workings. Fabulous sea views at this spot. Great for a picnic! Descend to gate and stile. Follow narrow path down to a gate, turn left and continue down track to the metalled road at the valley bottom.
Turn left and after 200 yards turn right on a bridleway over the brook and continue to a T junction (6). Turn right and quickly left along road for 75 yards. Take left path signed Stockhams Hill. It climbs steeply with great village views to a stile. Turn left having met route 3A from the Masons Arms (3). And make your way back to Beer either via option (a) passing Beer Quarry Caves or option (b) passing Pecorama.