Hope’s Nose to Walls Hill

About this route

The coastline from Hope’s Nose north to Walls Hill shows the connection between geology and wildlife and is of national importance for its limestone woodlands and species-rich grassland.  It also comprises coastal cliffs, foreshore, a disused quarry, mineral veins and a raised beach.  The site is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), includes a County Geological Site feature and lies within the English Riviera Geopark.


The main rock here is Devonian limestone and this can be seen in some excellent exposures. Some of these display abundant collections of fossil animals, including well preserved corals – evidence of times when Torbay was located south of the equator and bathed in shallow tropical seas. Other notable features of the site, particularly on the eastern side of Hope’s Nose, are a number of distinct mineral-rich veins. It is the only known location in Britain for the assemblage of minerals present, including native gold and rarities such as palladium (a metallic element that resembles platinum).


Getting Around

Foot: The South West Coast path runs through the site.

Bus and Train: There are regular services from Exeter to Torquay.

Road: Follow the A380 from Exeter to Torquay. From Torquay Harbour follow Meadfoot Sea Rd to Ilsham Marine Drive.

Boat: One of the best ways to view the geology of this coastline is from the sea and cruises are available from Torquay, Paignton and Brixham Harbour.

Travel Devon

There are a number of parking areas along the coastal section. Number of seaside cafes including one at Meadfoot.
Some uneven terrain, e.g uneven rocky paths, and steep slopes
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Interesting information

On the southern side of Hope’s Nose, and also on the nearby Thatcher Rock, raised beaches can be seen about 6m above present day sea levels. These are very rich in fossil marine molluscs, with 17 species present at Hope’s Nose, and no fewer than 43 species at Thatcher Rock. These beaches tell a story about past sea-level change and date from a warm inter-glacial period in the Ice Age when the seas were much higher than today.

Photo of the sea and cliffs at Hope's Nose Torquay
Hope's Nose, Torquay

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