South West Coast Path - a winter visit

Published on 8 February 2024 at 11:14

                Buck’s Mills from the descending path

This winter break gave the chance of time in a wild place, remote from noises apart from natural sounds but right on the most challenging long distance path in the UK.  I couldn’t resist doing some, so after 7 hours of rain overnight, but on a dry morning, I set off from our National Trust cottage in Peppercombe following the path to Clovelly.

The path has many steep sections, there are plenty of steps to use along the way. There are also a few viewpoints kindly cut to enjoy the views. What can be dispiriting is, after climbing to the top of a hill, descending gradually and having to climb again! At Buck’s Mills, a picturesque spot on the route, the path declines steeply to the hamlet below with a path to the beach, for the path only to rise almost vertically back out of the valley. On a cool winters day with an occasionally chill wind I wasn’t sure if I was boiling or freezing!

Birdlife was plentiful, great spotted woodpeckers, nuthatches, redwings, marsh tits, gold rests and so many more. I loved watching two buzzards circling, mewing, above the cliff edges. Much of the woodland is owned by The Woodland Trust or National Trust and it’s, old, damp and beautiful. 

Winter, of course, means wet, slippery, muddy ground, plus running water and puddles! This slowed me down a great deal but on reaching The Hobby Drive, a stony track leading for a couple of kilometres, into the village of Clovelly I sped up to the Visitor Centre and cafe!
The walk was 7.3 miles, I averaged 2.4 mph, so it took 3 hours. In dryer conditions, I would expect to be a little faster but the hills……..! 
I wish I had time here to do more but maybe another time 🤞😉


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