17. South West Coast Path (North Cornwall)

180. Crackington Haven to Bude

Wednesday 24th April 2019

Drove from the Wellington Hotel, Boscastle to Crackington Haven and parked in the car park (GR143968). It was lightly raining today and very cloudy so completely different from the hot sunny weather of Sunday.

Diane and myself at Crackington Haven (GR143968)

Left Crackington Haven by the road for the first big climb of the day and after a few hundred yards took the path off to the left up to Pencannow Point (GR141972). This was a steady climb really, not too bad for this time of day anyway. The path continued across the cliff top above Great Barton Strand and Little Barton Strand and descended fairly steeply down steps, zigzagging its way down to a footbridge at Aller Shoot (GR145975). A ‘shoot’ is of course a waterfall and one was marked on the map but was out of sight from the path.

Above Thorn’s Beach (GR149976)

The climb up the other side was another steady climb. At the top of the climb (Castle Point) (GR143976) the path turned right along an impressive knife-edge ridge through gorse bushes with a steep drop down the cliffs on the left and a similarly steep drop down into a valley on the right. The rain was now beginning to be a problem and remained so for much of the rest of the day. After a couple of hundred yards the path dropped down between hawthorn bushes and the next climb up the next cliff could be seen ahead (GR152976).

Another short climb followed to enter enter National Trust Lower Tresmorn, where off to the right the group of houses that makes up Cleave nestled in a valley that seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. The walk along here is on a pleasant grassy path on top of quite high cliffs above Thorn’s Beach.

Just past Cleave the path dropped down steps to a footbridge at Cleave Strand where another unnamed waterfall was marked on the map but could again not be seen from the path (GR155980). Climbed up the other side.

Wild ponies near Mot’s Hole (GR157986)

Soon reached a point where the path seemed to go straight over the cliff edge. Steep steps dropped down to a wooden footbridge right near the water’s edge at Mot’s Hole.

Into the Abyss (GR156984)

The climb up the other side to Chipman Point looked horrendous but at least there was an alternative path that zigzagged round the first bit beyond which it was a very steep climb up wooden steps. This was probably the hardest climb of the day but it eventually became a much gentler along the clifftop. It was very rainy and cold now – compared to the last few days anyway and particularly on the very exposed clifftop.

Weary after the climb

The path descended into a wooded area (GR162989) that was very muddy where the ponies had been and of course started to climb up again towards West Dizzard.

Cancleave Strand (GR177995)

A relatively gentle descent along Bynorth Cliff through bluebell woods to Bynorth stream (GR174990) was followed by a short climb.

Three wise professors standing in the rain (GR184100)

From there it was mainly downhill to the small group of houses on the road at Cancleave (GR176993). We could have taken the road here, but continued on the coast path on the cliffs in between hedges in part to reach the road at Millook.

Bridwill Point from Millook (GR184100)

We stopped at Millook Haven (GR185000) to have some lunch sitting on an old boat – not the most comfortable seat and the weather was still bad so only rested for a short time, and then continued the climb up over the cliffs.

Lunch at Millook (GR185000)

After the steep climb up to Bridwill Point (GR186002) the path levelled out to reach the road at the car park where a number of surfers’ camper vans were being set up for the night.

Widemouth Bay from Penhalt Cliff (GR189005)

The official path continued quite steeply down the busy road until a path off to the left was a better alternative (GR185000). The path re-joined the road at Penhalt Cliff down to reach Great Wanson (GR196009) and a path going off to the left through a wooded area behind a rather impressive house and over a stream to start climbing on the low cliffs overlooking Widemouth Sand.

Continued along Widemouth Sand crossing the first car park to walk along the sand dunes behind the beach. Hard work in places where the sand was soft but the beach was an alternative.

Back across Widemouth Sand (GR199022)

At the Widemouth Bay Café (GR199023) we stopped for twenty minutes for a nice refreshing cup of tea and then resumed the walk along the bay.

Dead Christmas trees in the sand dunes – no idea why (GR199026)

Towards the end of Widemouth Sand just past the village of Widemouth Bay climbed up on good paths between the road and the sea eventually reaching Higher Longbeak (GR199032) where there are good views along the beach ahead where there have been many cliff falls and a rocky beach. Beyond is a radio station and Bude off towards the right.

Back across Widemouth Sand from Lower Longbeak (GR199031)
Forward from Higher Longbeak (GR199039)

At Phillip’s Point Nature Reserve the path ran very close to the road until Upton (GR201048) to start the final climb of the day up Efford Down to Efford Beacon (GR200059).

Youthful exuberance on Golden Cap April 2015
Four years later on Efford Beacon (GR200059)














At the lookout tower at Compass Point (GR201063) get good views over the beach at Bude.

Bude (GR201064)

Followed the path down into Bude and crossed the lock gates to follow the canal through boatyards and into the town.

Lock gates on Bude Canal (GR204064)

We had a drink and a very good Cornish pasty in the Brendon Arms (GR206061) and then called a taxi to get back to the car at Crackington Haven.

Bude Canal and the Brendon Arms (GR206062)

This was the end of an excellent four days walking along the dramatic and remote north Cornwall coast. Two days walking and three evenings eating and drinking with Diane and Tony made the trip particularly pleasurable and at times they kept me going.

We had another excellent meal in the Wellington Hotel, treating our earlier Cornish pasty as a starter. The dining room in the Wellington is on the first floor and takes the form of a gallery from which we could hear the very traditional Cornish folk music in the bar below. On the wall was a marker about 6 feet from the floor recording the height reached by the floods of 2004.

The following morning we drove home after a visit to Tintagel to buy the Jo Downs dish that my wife required as a partial offset to my pleasure.

Days from Chepstow   180

Miles today   11.0

Miles from Chepstow   2172.6

2 thoughts on “180. Crackington Haven to Bude

  1. A lovely walk, at least in better weather! I think in some areas locals are encouraged to put their old Christmas trees in sand dunes to help reduce erosion of the dunes. This is probably why you found all those dead trees in the dunes.


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