- This walk has great variety, beauty and calm and will give you an appreciation of the hills, valleys, and coast that makes this an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
- Fine sea and valley views, rivers, woods and meadows, cliffs and beaches.
- Blackbury Camp. Iron Age hill fort, picnic spot. NB Bluebells
- Mason’s Arms Inn open all day.
- Sea Shanty café and shop on Branscombe Beach. Public toilets.
- Distant views from cliff top all around Lyme Bay.
Distance: 12.6 miles, 6 hours walking on minor roads and public footpaths
Difficulty: Terrain. Hills and valleys. Maximum elevation 500 feet. A walk requiring reasonable stamina.
Recommended maps: OS 1:25000 no’s 115/116
Main Route (Walk 1)
Leave the Mariners’ Hall (1) heading right, out of Beer. Take the Branscombe signposted road. At the village end, take the first gravel/metalled lane, Bovey Lane to the right. Reach a quiet metalled road. (1 Mile). Ahead is Bovey House a fine old manor house (privately owned).
Turn left (2) on the road for 750 yards till junction. Turn right in 400 yards at next right and left after a further 600 yards, signposted Branscombe. Descend into the valley for 300 yards. Turn right on footpath sign to the right. Follow the path up the valley and it reaches the charming hamlet of Watercombe. Continue straight through onto an uneven track until a minor metalled road. Turn right to arrive at the A3052, the main coast road (3).
Turn left for 600 yards and take path signed on the right. At the end of the field turn right following the field boundary on the second field side and descend to Borcombe Farm. Continue, crossing the river and climb through the woods following signs to a quiet metalled road. Turn left for 1400 yards to Blackbury Camp (4), an Iron Age hill fort famed for bluebell displays in May. You will have now walked 6 miles. Just the spot for a picnic.
Leave Blackbury Camp going left on road for 200 yards. Bridleway signed to left which descends though woods into the valley and across a stream. Climb up the other side of the valley on the same track until you reach a farm. Pass through this to arrive at the A3052. Left on road for 300 yards and take the signposted path to the right. Cross two fields and then cross a minor metalled road following footpath sign down into the valley you will pass Baldash B&B (5) and holiday cottage on your right. Enter the forest. Shortly into the forest take the right track downhill.
At the end of the forest you pass Beckham House on the left following a minor road. At the first fork keep left and you will shortly arrive at Woodhouse Farm. Continue through till you reach a junction. Go straight across onto the track into the fields. After a short initial climb you reach a stile after which you cross the field diagonally (direction 2.00 o’clock, 250 yards), cross another stile and follow the hedge until a gate and stile. Cross these and turn a gentle right below the old lime workings. From here you will have a magnificent view through to the sea. A great picnic spot! (6)
Descend the field to the gate and stile. Continue on track, but shortly follow the path down the valley side between hedges. Reaching a gate turn left and descend to the minor road. Turn right and follow to a junction, (750 yards). Turn left and before you is the welcome sight of the Mason’s Arms (7) open all day. From the pub follow the small road (then footpath) opposite down the valley to the beach and the Sea Shanty Café (8) and shop (750 yards) (open in Summer and usually at weekends in winter) Enjoy the sweeping beach. Toilet facilities.
Follow coastal path signposted Beer. Take the route which climbs to the cliff top (83 steps). Rest atop and enjoy the magnificent views of Lyme Bay westward and Branscombe village nestling below. Follow the path over the cliffs, a flat walk, with views extending to the Isle of Portland and dramatic drops to the beach and the Hooken Cliffs, a “King Kong” perch formed by a great landslide 200 years ago.
On the Coastal Path you have fine views of Beer and Seaton and the contrasting red and white cliffs. The path arrives at Beer and you descend on the road by the clifftop allotments to the village centre where refreshment awaits you!