The Westward Ho! to Clovelly walk is a stunning South West Coast Path hike in North Devon.
Travelling from the tourist town of Westward Ho! to the idyllic village of Clovelly, this hike will take you through sandy beaches and onto clifftops with sweeping views.
This is one of the more difficult trails on the path, with many rollercoaster up and downhills.
If you’re interested in doing the Westward Ho! to Clovelly hike, this blog post will help!
What is the South West Coastal Footpath?
The South West Coast Path is England’s longest long-distance footpath.
Spanning 630 miles from Minehead in Somerset to Poole Harbour in Dorset, it traverses some beautiful clifftop paths with stunning views.
The Westward Ho! to Clovelly walk is about a week into the whole path – you can either do it as part of a longer trail or a stand-alone hike.
The previous hikes on the South West Coastal Path go around the Tarka Trail and through a few small Devon villages, mainly inland.
However, you’ll be very much back on the coast on this path!
How to get to Westward Ho!
There is a good bus service (the 21) that connects Westward Ho! to Barnstaple, the nearest railway station.
You can get to Barnstaple Railway Station from Exeter St Davids, where you can connect to other UK cities, including a fast service to London Paddington.
Where to stay in Westward Ho!
Culloden House is a comfortable B&B in Westward Ho! with clean rooms, a tasty breakfast, beautiful views, and friendly staff. Click here for rates.
Westward Ho! is a famous tourist town in North Devon.
It has a large beach which is popular with surfers. It also has a wealth of attractions like bumper cars and a mini-golf course.
Its unusual name – it’s one of only two towns in the world with an exclamation mark – is after Charles Kingsley’s novel with the same name.
You’ll start the walk by travelling westwards from the town. Follow the seafront, walking past beach huts and the coastline.
At the end of the beach, there is a clearly marked signpost onto the coast path. Carry on following the trail, which is an easy four-kilometre stretch at first.
Eventually, you’ll begin ascending and descending up some serious inclines!
Greencliff is one of the first significant hills that you will need to go up and down.
The path can be quite strenuous here, with lots of steep climbs, and there aren’t many places to sit down and rest.
You’ll get to enjoy the epic views, though!
Babbacombe Mouth is a pebble beach with a stream running through.
If you’re looking for somewhere nice to have lunch, it’s a beautiful place to stop – although there isn’t much shade.
The South West Coastal Path then climbs upwards and turns into a cliffside path running along Babbacombe Cliff.
Peppercombe is a beautiful and peaceful wooded area with a track running down to a beach. You won’t go all the way down to Peppercombe Beach, but follow the South West Coastal Footpath through, where it then climbs up and down a bit more.
Bucks Mills is Clovelly’s neighbouring village (or at least its closest village!).
It’s a small collection of houses – lots of holiday homes, although a few locals live there. Take the path that leads through two houses, which climbs steeply uphill. After this, the route becomes a little easier.
It traverses through woodland with epic coastal views, and then travels along fields away from the path for a while. Keep looking out for livestock, and make sure that you stay away from any electric fences!
After walking through fields for a while, you will turn onto Hobby Drive.
This is an old horse and cart road that dates back to the early 1900s. It’s a scenic route, with waterfalls and epic forest views.
You’ll walk for another 4km or so along this road – it’s mainly flat, although your feet may be hurting by this time – before turning into Clovelly high Street.
Clovelly is one of the most beautiful fishing villages in South West England, with cobbled streets and a quaint harbour. It usually costs £8 to enter, but Hobby Drive bypasses the tourist information centre.
If you stay in the village, you will need to walk down a steep path to reach the centre.
There are lots of things to do in Clovelly – it’s worth spending a day at the seaside village if you want a day off!
You can see all of the historic houses, walk along the pebble beach and learn about the links to Merlin and King Arthur, and visit the Clovelly candle shop and other businesses.
Clovelly is a bit controversial because of the steep cost, especially when other villages – like Port Isaac in Cornwall – are just as scenic. However, you don’t need to pay when you’re just hiking through or staying in the village.
Where to stay in Clovelly
There are plenty of guesthouses and places to stay in the ancient fishing village of Clovelly. It isn’t the cheapest place to stay, but there are some good options.
We stayed in Harbour View Cottage, which is characterful accommodation halfway down Clovelly high street. This is a cosy B&B with spacious, comfortable rooms.
Set in picturesque gardens, the friendly hosts serve up English breakfast each morning. There are no en-suite bathrooms, but this was never a difficulty as it is such a small guesthouse.
The Red Lion is set by the historic Clovelly harbour. The rooms are large and have stunning views over the pebbled beaches, and a cooked or continental breakfast is served each day. Click here to reserve your room.
How to get back to Westward Ho! from Clovelly
It is possible to get back to Westward Ho! from Clovelly by public transport, but you’ll need to change buses. The 313 leaves Clovelly Visitors Centre Car Park, and on the way, you can change to the 21 bus route.
The bus journey time is around an hour. The 313 bus also goes to Barnstaple station.
The next South West Coast Path hike
From Clovelly, it’s a 12 mile hike to Hartland Quay.
We found this hike a little easier than Westward Ho! to Clovelly, although it is still long and has tough sections, especially around Hartland Point.
Hartland Quay to Bude is also thought to be the most challenging section of the entire South West Coast Path, so make sure that you rest in Clovelly if you need to.
In the other direction, the next hike goes from Instow to Westward Ho!
Tips for the Westward Ho! to Clovelly hike and the South West Coast Path
If you struggle with carrying a lot of weight, you can use a luggage transfer service.
I have used and recommend luggagetransfers.co.uk – they provide an affordable, seamless service.
You might want to use this service for this hike, and you will definitely want to for the Hartland Quay to Bude walk!
If you are wild camping along the South West Coast Path, be careful about staying in Clovelly as the entire village is privately owned.
It’s a difficult place to wild camp for this reason. Also bear in mind that wild camping without the landowners permission is illegal in most of England.
This South West Coast Path hike is challenging but very rewarding – especially because you’ll end the day in beautiful Clovelly!
As well as tremendous views over the epic coastline, you’ll get to enjoy forgotten rocky beaches and charming villages, finishing in one of the guesthouses of Clovelly.
I’d recommend this as a day hike for people looking for a challenge, or of course, for those completing the entire 630 miles of the South West Coast Path!