Woolacombe Down Walk by Mark Johnson & Poppy the Dog
Woolacombe is most famous for its world class beach. One of the best ways to enjoy it and to fully appreciate its beauty is to look at it from above. Unless you are one of the paraglider’s who frequently fly around here, the best way to do this is to make the amazing walk over Woolacombe Down. I did this walk along with my dog Poppy and have written about my experience.
This walk is around 5 miles and took us about 2 hours and 15 minutes, including drink stops.
Please download and print by clicking Poppy Walk
1 We started off at the Puffin Café, where dogs are welcome. This is where we fuelled up for the climb to the top of the Down. I had a half English breakfast and Poppy had a sneaky bit of bacon. Leaving the café and winding through the village following the road along to the Marine Drive car park, you first come to the National Trust sign marking the area of dunes known as Woolacombe Warren.
2 Carrying on up the path, you will meet the gate to Potters Hill which is next to the car park cabin for Marine Drive. Go through the gate and follow the path, this is where the climb to the top of Woolacombe Downs starts.
3 Continue up past Potters Hill which is where you begin to get nice views of the beach and surrounding area. If you are feeling energetic, you can take the short steep walk left at the signpost to the top of Potters Hill before continuing towards the Down.
4 At the gate you can take some time for a rest, look back and enjoy the view. The area after the gate is home to a number of beautiful Exmoor ponies which you are very likely to see.
5 The climb continues, but persevere and you will be rewarded at the top. This is reached after about a mile into the walk. At this point, Poppy decided to sit down for a moment to enjoy the scenery.
6 Continue along the largely flat walk, hugging the path overlooking the bay, eventually you will reach a bench which is probably one of the best locations for a sit down you will find anywhere. It would be a great idea to take a flask to enjoy tea or coffee here.
7 After the bench continue downhill (quite steeply at some points), through a gate and eventually over a style. Immediately after the style, you will turn left joining the Marine Drive footpath. Continue to follow this path and after about half a mile you will reach the road entrance to Putsborough Sands.
8 Here you can get a refreshment at the Putsborough Sands Beach Café and enjoy a fantastic views of the whole beach (there is also a brand new toilet complex if needed!). We had a slice of cake and some hot drinks. This was our view from the beach front seating. After you have enjoyed your cuppa and well earned rest, the 2 mile stroll back along Woolacombe’s world class beach is straightforward and thoroughly enjoyable. Remember to take some time to look up to the Down where you have just walked and admire your good work. If you look closely, you should be able to make out your new favourite bench at the top.