- Start: Lime Kiln car park, Budleigh Salterton, SY 073820.
- End: Lime Kiln car park, Budleigh Salterton, SY 073820.
- Country: England
- County: Devon
- Type: Country
- Nearest pub: range of pubs, cafes and restaurants in Budleigh Salterton.
- Ordnance Survey: Explorer 115, or Landranger 192, or Harvey’s South West Coast Path 5.
- Difficulty: Easy
An easy, level walk with superb birdwatching opportunities and great views of the Otter estuary and the Jurassic Coast.
A Winter Walk from Budleigh
An easy, level walk with superb birdwatching opportunities and great views of the Otter estuary and the Jurassic Coast. Boots on? Let's go!
Distance: 5.25km (3 miles) Time: 1 hours Exertion: Easy
1. Follow the signed Coast Path from Lime Kiln car park to the far end of the beach to enjoy the views of the Otter estuary. In front of you is Otterton Ledge. A low cliff of Otter Sandstone, it is part of the extensive New Red Sandstone formations which stretch westwards along the coast and include West Down Beacon at 129m (426ft). Sandstone overlies the East Devon Pebble Beds, exposed beneath your feet as the large rounded beach pebbles known locally as Budleigh Buns. Beneath the pebble bed is Devons largest aquifer 200 billion litres/50 billion gallons. Up to 160m (528ft) thick, these Pebble Beds extend over an area of 120sq km (46sq miles) up the Otter Valley.
In medieval times, before the pebble ridge along the beach was formed, the Otter was navigable as far as Otterton, 3km (2 miles) upriver and was used by trading vessels. The saltpans (hence Budleigh Salterton or salt workers farm) were worked where the saltmarsh is now. A Devon Wildlife Trust Reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the Otter estuarys 23ha of mudflats and saltmarsh provide rich feeding and shelter for many waders and wildfowl, especially in winter, when their numbers are swelled by migrants. Low tide is the best time to see them.
Retrace your steps to the near end of the car park. urn right Coast Path Ladram Bay. Continue on the same path Ladram Bay at the next signpost. The path follows the old sea wall built by prisoners of war in Napoleonic times. There are birdwatching points and a hide further along on the right. Take your time to scan the water, the reed beds and the saltmarsh for birds.
2. Reaching the road bridge, continue upriver on the bankside path for 900m. In summer, this is a good place to spot rising trout and shoals of grey mullet.
3. Fork left for Budleigh Salterton when the path divides. This path diverges away from the river on a raised embankment with an aqueduct on the right. Follow the path in a gentle half circle. When it starts to curve right, turn left over a stile. Cross the next stile and continue along the broad and sometimes muddy track. Continue when this narrows to a path.
4. Meeting a lane, continue through a kissing gate Public Footpath Budleigh Salterton. When you reach the next lane, cross and bear left past a play park and then turn right to the car park.
For refreshments, simply follow the beach promenade and then turn right up the main street. Many of Budleigh Saltertons attractive medley of buildings are late-Georgian and Regency, the period when sea bathing first became fashionable under the patronage of the royal family. War with France between 1792 and 1815 made travel abroad near impossible and helped to popularise British seaside holidays. Resorts such as Budleigh prospered.
Points of Interest...
Birdwatching: many species, including large flocks of waders and gulls are often seen in winter, so bring binoculars!
Impressive views: of the Jurassic Coast and Otter estuary.
Geology: New Red Sandstone cliffs west of Budleigh, Pebble Beds on Budleigh beach.
History: medieval salt pans and a Napoleonic era sea wall.
Terrain: The whole route is level and on paths, but these may be muddy. After heavy rain you may prefer to walk to Point 3 and retrace your steps.
Child/dog-friendly: suitable for mobile children, plus dogs on leads (dogs banned from beach in summer). Can be negotiated by pushchairs to Point 3.
Start: Lime Kiln car park, Budleigh Salterton, SY 073820.
Maps: Explorer 115, or Landranger 192, or Harveys South West Coast Path 5.
Refreshments: range of pubs, cafes and restaurants in Budleigh Salterton.
Public Transport: Buses from Exmouth, Exeter, Sidmouth.
Details: Traveline 0871 200 22 331, traveline.info