Saturday, 20 May 2017

Croyde Bay to Woolacombe (South West Coast Path 96)

Croyde Bay

It's a rather grey morning as we walk away from the northern end of Croyde Sand and it soon starts to rain. The surfers on the beach don't seem to mind however.

Soon there is a fine house overlooking the sea. It is in a sort Charles Rennie Macintosh / art deco style and we can't decide if it is a new build or whether the glass area to the left is a recent addition.

It is certainly an interesting building. Google reveals that it is called Baggy House and is new(-ish) - 1994 in fact and designed by Hudson Architects.  You can see many impressive pictures on their website. Why Baggy House? It is on the peninsular which leads to Baggy Point.

We carry on past this house towards Baggy Point, along a track on a low cliff-top. This is the view back to Croyde Bay. The square shape on the extreme right is a new lighthouse-style house which will allegedly be featured at some point in the future on Grand Designs.

We pass a sign telling us that the land is in the care of the National Trust. Their website has an extract from the North Devon Journal of 11 May 1939: "It is announced that Misses Constance and Florence Hyde of Baggy Point, Croyde, have presented to the Trust the whole of Baggy Point."

The Point itself– which we were very conscious of when we were walking along the other side of Bideford Bay – turns out to be a low and fairly innocuous headland, currently occupied by a flock of black sheep. The

We climb up over the edge of a hill and soon find ourselves on the other side of the peninsular. This side is Morte Bay and it is immediately noticeable how much calmer and milder it is. The long sandy Beach of Woolacombe Sand can be seen over to the right.

 And this is the view back towards Baggy Point.

The southern end of Woolacombe Sand is called Putsborough Sand and this is home to a caravan park, right at the back of the beach.

From this angle, Morte Point, which marks the end of Morte Bay, can be seen to the left.

Our route takes us inland initially as we climb gradually up the hillside behind the beach. After a while we make a sharp descent to emerge on a sandy path behind the dunes at the back of the beach. It's quite pretty with lots of wild rock roses and we see a good number of Stonechats doing their thing from the tops of bushes. But it's odd not to be able to see the sea. Walking on sand is quite hard going too and overall we wish we were had taken a route along the firm sand near the waterline of the beach.  At length we arrive in Woolacombe: undistinguished, but doubtless a good place for a beach holiday.

Conditions: Cloudy, becoming brighter. Mild.

Distance: 6.3 miles.

Map: Explorer 139 (Bideford, Ilfracombe & Barnstaple).

Grading: Moderate.

Rating: three and a half stars.

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