• Start: Ordnance Survey Landranger 192 or Explorer 115
  • End: Salcombe Regis church car park (contributions requested) SY 148888.
  • Country: England
  • County: Devon
  • Type: Country
  • Nearest pub: Wide choice of pubs, restaurants and cafés in Sidmouth
  • Ordnance Survey: Ordnance Survey Landranger 192 or Explorer 115
  • Difficulty: Medium
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A tough climb up Salcombe Hill Cliff in east Devon is richly rewarded with stunning views of the Jurassic Coast and its fascinating geology, writes Robert Hesketh

Distance: 3.6 km (2 miles) Time: 1 hours Exertion: Moderate

Boots on? Lets go!

1 Turn left down the lane from the church car park. Ignore the first footpath on your right, take the second 30m further on, signed Public Footpath Salcombe Mouth and Coast Path. After 50m, bear right through a kissing gate as signed. Follow the path downhill. Salcombe derives its name from Salt Combe, referring to salt distilled from sea water and the Westcountry term combe for a valley, whilst the suffix Regis shows royal ownership. Continue through fields and gates to a bridge and fingerpost. Continue ahead Coast Path Salcombe Mouth Sidmouth.

2 If you wish to visit Salcombe Mouth beach, divert left after another 200m down the steep, stepped path as signed. Otherwise, continue ahead Coast Path Sidmouth. At first the path rises gently over the sandstone, but the gradient increases sharply when it reaches the greensand, chalk and flints which cap the cliff. Rest on the bench half way up to the top and look back to Higher Dunscombe Cliff (156m/515ft), a similar formation with reddish sandstone at the base and the creamy coloured greensand above. Whilst the sandstone supports good pasture, the soils covering the greensands are poor and partly covered in scrub. Beyond Higher Dunscombe is Beer Head, Englands most westerly chalk headland. The Jurassic Coast continues east into Dorset with an impressive line of cliffs and on to Chesil Beach and Portland Bill. Having recovered your breath, continue to a second bench at the summit of Salcombe Hill Cliff, 120m (396ft) above sea level. Ignore the footpath right and continue on the Coast Path to the next fingerpost.

3 Turn right, signed Salcombe Hill Car Park, but before you do, walk ahead 50m to the viewing table. Sidmouth lies below, with the new red sandstone cliffs beyond. The first of these is High Peak, is an impressive 157m (518ft). Beside it are the seastacks of Ladram Bay. Return to the fingerpost and turn inland on a gravel path. Ignore side turnings and pass a house, then turn right across its drive and follow the footpath through conifers. Cross a farm track and continue along the inside edge of the plantation to a path crossing. Continue ahead Salcombe Regis, following the woodland path steeply downhill to a track. Again, continue ahead Public Footpath which will bring you to a lane. Turn left back to the church car park. St Mary and Peter is a handsome church, with several interesting features including Norman work piers and capitals and a 15th-century tower. See also the 15th-century wooden lectern, whilst the beautiful engraved glass triptych above the altar was designed by Laurence Whistler. The church is built of locally quarried greensand, a superb building stone also used in Exeter Cathedral.

Points of Interest...

Stunning views stretching from Portland Bill to Torbay

A line of red sandstone cliffs westwards including Peak Hill

Cretaceous cliffs to the east, Higher Dunscombe and Beer Head

Salcombe Regis church, with Norman carvings and a modern engraved glass triptych by Whistler

Churchyard filled with daffodils


Start: Salcombe Regis church car park (contributions requested) SY 148888.

Maps: Ordnance Survey Landranger 192 or Explorer 115

Terrain: Signed footpaths and Coast Path. One steep ascent with a long flight of steps and one steep descent

Child/dog friendly: Suitable for dogs on leads and older children

Refreshments: Wide choice of pubs, restaurants and cafs in Sidmouth

Public Transport: Buses on Seaton/Sidmouth/Exeter route stop 1km from start of walk at Trow Farm, Mon-Sat. 0871 2002233,

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