Hartland Point to Hartland Quay

About this route

Part of the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, this stretch of coastline is one of the most dramatic in the British Isles. Breathtaking coastal scenery and cliff top walks are all to be found.

Here in the cliffs and foreshore you can view spectacular evidence of geological events which took place over 300 million years ago. The rocks are sandstones and mudstones that were laid down around 320 million years ago in what was then a brackish sea. Of particular interest are the striking patterns that can be seen in the faces of the cliffs. These tell a dramatic story of ancient forces that have helped to shape the Earth as we see it today.

Looking south from the Quay’s car park, you can see a hanging valley and abandoned alluvial tract of the Milford Water. The truncated valley bottom can be seen clearly.

Please be aware: There are high cliffs and dangers of being cut off by the incoming tide. There is also little or no sand here so walking is difficult. The walk from Hartland to Hartland Quay is about 5km, some is on-road, so care should be taken, especially around Stoke where there are no footpaths.

Getting Around

On foot: the South West Coast Path runs along the site giving easy access to the area. Main access to the foreshore is at Hartland Quay, although there is limited access at Spekes Mill, Blackpool Mill and Blegberry Beach.

By road: take the A39 Bude to Bideford Road and Hartland Point/Hartland Quay can be accessed by a series of country roads.

By bus: there is a regular service between Bideford and Hartland, this includes a walk to Hartland Quay.

Small museum, car park, shops and hotel at Hartland Quay. Car park and refreshments in Hartland Point from Easter to end September.
Difficult walking, steep and very high cliffs.

Interesting information

About 300 million years ago, during a period of tectonic plate collision, tremendous pressure was exerted on the rocks of South West England. So powerful were these forces that the rocks were actually compressed like a concertina, producing a range of spectacular folds and faults that are visible today. These can be clearly seen in the cliffs to the north of Hartland Quay and a walk along the cliff top towards Hartland Point provides good views (if the tide is out) of the complex patterns of sandstone ribs produced on the foreshore by the folding.

The area is part of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Site of Special Scientific Interest and Special Area of Conservation.

Photo of sea, rocky coast and north Devon coastal cliffs at Hartland Point
Hartland Point by Maurice Budden

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