English Riviera Walk – Soaring Towers and Lyme Bay Views

Posted by: on Apr 15, 2016 | No Comments

English Riviera Walk – Soaring Towers and Lyme Bay Views

Maidencombe Walk1Distance: 3.5 miles
Exertion: Moderate with some steep sections.
Time: Allow 2 hours
Terrain: Coast path of varying quality – can be muddy. Not suitable for pushchairs or very young children.
Dogs: Under close control on farmland.
Refreshments: At Maidencombe.
Start Postcode: TQ1 4SH

With ground cover of ancient ferns and bracken, the tall and spindly elder and sycamore woodland gives way to soaring towers of much weathered red sandstone. One might expect to meet a prehistoric hunting party on a foraging trip from their Kents Cavern home at any turn in the path. Such is the feeling of ancientness one gets when entering the woodland at the beginning of this walk.

The formations in the Valley of The Rocks are awe-inspiring and make this walk an exciting adventure for families – watch out for the mud in the wetter months, welly boots are a must!

The woodland paths are shaded and cool but carpeted with pretty wild flowers in the spring. Further along, the pathway deviates from the South West Coast Path along permissive paths and open access land under the Countryside Access Scheme.

Take a break at Maidencombe and enjoy the picturesque beach or the ancient Thatched Tavern.


Leave the Watcombe Beach car park via the stile in the north-east corner and follow the meandering path down through the woodland and into the Valley of the Rocks. The South West Coast Path joins from Watcombe on the right and the path continues downhill veering to the left where it rises fairly steeply on an uneven path with a steel handrail. There are long views above the treetops back towards Hope’s Nose and the Orestone and Tor Bay’s more familiar limestone formations.

2 At the top of the path take the right hand fork downhill until you leave the woods.
3 Ignore the path to the left across open ground and proceed downhill following the coastline then re-enter the woodland via steep wooden steps.

4 After 200 metres or so take the left hand turning to follow the coastline again. At this point one can either cross the stile into open farmland (dogs under close control here) or stay on the path that skirts the pasture along the cliff top. After more rise and fall the path descends into the thatched village of Maidencombe.

5 The path leads into the Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust car park where one can turn right to detour down to the beach or proceed through the car park, following the metalled track uphill to the right, past several residences and back onto the coast path.

6 The path is steep and undulating here. After half a mile take the left turn towards Gabwell Hill Road then after 200 metres another left turn over a stile onto open farmland.

7 Follow the pathway back towards Maidencombe across fields and eventually over another stile onto a narrow pathway that leads back into the hamlet. There are stunning views across Lyme Bay to East Devon and as far as Portland on a fine day.

Maidencombe Walk 2

8 From the car park follow the road (Rock House Lane) up past the orchard and on to the Court House and the village ’s famous Judas Tree. Take the path marked as the start of the John Musgrave Heritage Trail which follows a higher, meandering route back across farmland and into the ancient woodland to join the coast path again above the Valley of the Rocks which leads back to Watcombe Beach car park.

Walk Feb 15.indd