52. Lynton to Hele Bay

Todays walk would be east to west and walking to Hele Bay which I had previously reached from the south in January 2015. I parked in the Pay & Display car and caught the early morning bus to Lynton.

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Cliff railway Lynton
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Feral Goats Valley of the Rocks

The weather, was warm ,but slightly dull and overcast, which suited me. Lynton has a small busy high street, which offers good views down to Lynmouth. I turn left from the main into North Walk Hill, a tiny tree-lined road  that crosses over the funicular railway. The cliff railway is very busy, as I see the qeues above and the number of passengers in the cabin has it passes below me, driven by water ballast. The path continues as a lovely tarmac path which hugs the steep hillside, it is called The North Walk and it leads to a unique area called the Valley of The Rocks, a dry valley with exposed strata. The area is famous for its feral goats, I see a few of them perched below me munching on roots and grass.

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Valley of the Rocks
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Slow Worm at Great Hangman Hill

The path joins a tarmac road, in fact the road is a toll road and runs for a few miles above the cliff -top. The road is quite quiet, but traffic suddenly increases due to a slow moving classic car rally. I pass by Lee Abbey, now a retreat of some sort. I hear singing coming from within, I don’t think they were monks! I enter a wooded area which I remain in until I emerge above Heddon’s Mouth. Here I must descend to and cross the River Heddon and climb up the far side through a series of zig-zags.

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Looking towards Ilfracombe from Great Hangman Hill
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Interesting coastline near Widmouth

I pass around the flanks of Holdstone Hill before dropping down into Sherrycombe, where I pass a small group of walkers who are taking a breather. Shortly after leaving this group I come across a slow worm, sunning itself on the path itself. I manage to get a couple of phots, not very good, before it slithers off. I am soon on the top of Great Hangman Hill (318m) and the highest point on the SWCP. The summit is marked by a large cairn of loose stone. Although, the views are limited in the haze, I can easily see Ilfracombe in the far distance. I descend towards Little Hangman Hill, but the path turns slightly inland before dropping down into Combe Martin.

After climbing up the hill out of Combe Martin, I soon turn off a small track which continues above this fascinating cliff-line towards Widmouth, wher I rejoin the main road. The path more or less follows the main road into Hele Bay, albeit with a few minor diversions. I take 6hrs for the walk.

Distance today = 16.5 miles
Total distance =   760 miles

 

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