Encompassing one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the country and spanning through lush woodland, the Clovelly to Hartland Quay walk is one of the best along the South West Coast Path.
This North Devon hike first ambles through the forest but takes a dramatic turn at Hartland Point, where the terrain becomes rockier as you approach the Cornish coast.
The path then traverses cliff tops, descending and ascending rocky paths, always looking down to secluded beaches.
Here’s how to complete the entire Clovelly to Hardland Quay walk!
Clovelly village is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful villages in the South West.
Cobbled streets spread down the hill, lined on either side by the most adorable little cottages. As you edge down the steep hill, you’ll eventually reach the charming shingle beach.
However, visiting the gorgeous village comes at a price, costing around £8 to enter. You can pay this entrance fee at the Clovelly Visitor Centre.
However, if you stay in the village you don’t have to pay an extra fee – which brings me onto my next point!
Where to stay in Clovelly
There are a few places to stay in Clovelly, although they can be quite pricey.
Do bear in mind that if you are wild camping around the South West Coast Path National Trail, it’s quite strictly prohibited in Clovelly as the whole land is private.
How to get to Clovelly
You can either drive to Clovelly and leave your car in the visitor centre car park or take the 319 bus which leads from Clovelly to Barnstaple via Bideford.
Unfortunatley, there isn’t a bus connection between Hartland Quay and Clovelly, so you’ll have to arrange a lift or taxi if you’re not hiking on from here.
Clovelly to Hartland Quay Hiking Directions
If you’re taking the Clovelly to Hartland Quay hike, here’s a step-by-step guide.
If you’re staying in Clovelly or spending time there before, then you’ll want to start from the top end of the village.
If you’re facing away from the sea, take a left. You should see a coastal path sign here which indicates how long you’ve got to reach the end of the path!
Follow the tarmac road, and look out for a black gate, where there’s a Coast Path indicating Brownsham.
Follow the grassy path on the right and then enter the woodland. Keep following the woodland path, which leads to the “Angels Wings” shelter.
Next, follow the path as it zig-zags around and leads towards Mouth Mill. This charming mill sits with a backdrop of the beautiful blue sea, and from here you can cross a small bridge over the river.
Follow this track, eventually turning right and walking upwards before entering a National Trust woodland.
Follow the path around the edge of the field, entering a woodland valley before crossing a footbridge and walking up.
You’ll then walk around another field, into a steep valley and eventually climb up a whopping 50 steps to reach the top.
Exmansworthy Cliff and Gawlish Cliff
Eventually, the path opens out towards the cliffs. From here, the path changes, with a lot more coastal scenery.
From Gawlish Cliff, look ahead and try to see the ‘radome’ which marks Hartland Point. You can use this to navigate your way to Hartland Quay.
Reach the Radar Tower, which is used for air traffic control.
However, it used to be a military site.
Follow the coast path around Radar Tower and follow the steps down to the refreshment hut.
Here, you can buy cold drinks, snacks and ice cream. Be mindful that it closes at 4:00 pm though!
Walk away from the refreshment hut and then walk up the steps towards the lighthouse, which dates back to 1874.
However, the coast path itself traverses towards a coastguard lookout. You’ll then end up at Hartland Point itself!
This is one of the most remote sections of the coastal path and is when the path pretty much turns a corner and the scenery dramatically changes!
The next few miles are more or less just a narrow path going over all of the ups and downs and ultimately heading towards Hartland Quay.
Finally, reach Hartland Quay! One of the best places to visit in North Devon, this is a remote, rugged setting, without much accommodation.
As the name suggests, it’s a former quay, one of the last outposts of North Devon before the coastline turns into Cornwall at Welcombe Mouth.
Home to rocky beaches and craggy cliffs, Hartland Quay dates back to the early 1600s.
However, it has been battered by the wild north coast weather over time, with the end of the pier washing away back in 1887, and nowadays stands as a ruined, abandoned port.
But its history definitely makes it a place worth exploring!
Things to do in Hartland Quay
There’s not much life around Hartland Quay, but it’s actually a really interesting place.
Hartland Quay Beach
Located along the Hartland Heritage Coast, Hartland Quay Beach is mainly pebbly, with a few patches of sand.
It’s a popular place for photography, with towering cliffs over the beach, and is famous for its dramatic scenery.
Hartland Quay Museum
At Hartland Quay Museum, you can learn all about the story of the historic port.
Set in the old customs house, it also has exhibits about shipwrecks and how smugglers and wreckers operated.
You can also learn about the geology and geography of the quay here.
Dating back to the 12th century, Hartland Abbey was at one stage the longest-surviving monastery.
The descendants of the owners of the abbey in the 15th century still occupy it today.
Nowadays, it is a beautiful ancestral home to explore, with 18th century walled and woodland gardens and beautiful architecture.
If you aren’t tired of walking, you can also make your way down the valley to Blackpool Mill.
Where to stay in Hartland Quay
Stoke Barton Campsite
Set on a farm, Stoke Barton Campsite is a great place to pitch your tent and rest for the night.
You’ll need to take a path inland from the coastal trail to reach it, but once you’re there you’ll find a small farm shop, toilets and places to recharge your phone or power bank.
Hartland Quay Hotel
Hartland Quay Hotel is the only non-campsite where you can stay at the end of this hike.
All of the comfortable, spacious rooms have private bathrooms, and a delicious breakfast is served every morning (perfect if you’re hiking on toward Bude or Crackington Haven the next day!).
How to get back from Hartland Quay
Unfortunatley, there really isn’t much in the way of public transport around Hartland Quay.
You’ll need to arrange a lift or a taxi service to get from here back to Clovelly or anywhere else.
What to pack for the Clovelly to Hartland Quay hike
Pack plenty of hiking clothes, including comfortable walking shorts, waterproof trousers if the weather isn’t looking so good, hiking poles and comfortable walking boots.
Places to fill up your bottle are sparse along the path, so make sure you take extra water or a water to go bottle that filters water for you.
In the summer months, you’ll need a cap, sun cream and extra water.
If you’re camping, pack a lightweight tent and a sleeping bag that’s suitable for the season.
Other hikes around the area
- The Westward Ho! to Clovelly hike also takes in breathtaking vistas of the North Devon coastline and leads to the county’s most charming village. See my guide here. If you’re in Westward Ho!, you can also check out my guide here.
- The Hartland Quay to Bude hike is perhaps the most difficult walk in the entire South West Coast Path. While it’s challenging, it’s an absolute beaut, crossing the Devon/ Cornwall border and passing some of the best beaches near Bude on the way.
From a gentle path winding its way through woodland to steep clambers up and down cliffs, this Clovelly to Hartland Quay hike is ten miles in length, but can be very challenging!
But the incredible vistas of the rocks make the sweating and elevated heart rate all worthwhile.
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