South West Coastal Path – Budleigh Salterton to Exmouth

Last weekend we went to stay with Simon’s parents who live in Exmouth. The weather was warm on the Saturday and we decided to go for a walk. Simon’s dad looked on the local area OS map and decided that the Budleigh Salterton to Exmouth stretch of the South West Coastal Path was just the ticket; lovely sea views and not too long for me, the walking newbie.

We parked one car in Exmouth on a hill behind the beach and then all drove together to Budleigh. We had a bit of a false start thanks to a sign post pointing in the wrong direction. We picked up the path at the west end of the beach and began to climb the famous Jurassic Coast red cliffs.

At first the path is narrow and runs next to some houses perched high above the beach, before opening out onto a park/playing field. It then begins to climb again and when you reach the top there are some stunning views over Budleigh beach and out to sea.

At times the path is open and running parrallel with the cliff edge and at others it bends slightly inland through trees and wild bushes. Crossing a number of wet fields, Simon and I slipped over in the mud. Simon’s dad managed to stay up right despite lots of tottering. Fortunately we were well away from the edge of the cliff! There were nice views of Exmouth and the estuary at this point.

The downside of this walk was the never ending Devon Cliffs caravan park as you come round to Sandy Bay. The way was quite hard to find once we got to the imposing metal fence of the restricted firing range. There was a lack of sign posting here and we ended up wandering around the deserted caravan park trying to find the path again.

When we got back on the path we had to take the short cut, missing out Sandy Bay, in order to get back before it started to get dark. We did catch a glimpse of the bay from the path but at some point it would be nice to explore it properly. Apparently you can walk round to it from Exmouth when the tide is out.

To be honest the next stretch was a bit “heads down and get back” due to the lateness in the day. We passed the Geoneedle at Orcome point and came out at the top of Queen’s Drive – about 50m from our car.


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