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Friday, 31 October 2014

Walk 123 Sidmouth to Budleigh Salterton (Devon)

Walk 123 Sidmouth to Budleigh Salterton (Devon)

(Second leg of English coastal walk – Broadstairs to Lands End)

Map: L/R 192
Distance: 8 miles or 12km
Difficulty: moderate
Terrain: mainly cliff paths
Access: Parking at both ends
Public transport: Bus 157 goes hourly between the two towns

Walk out of Sidmouth up the cliff and along to Peak Hill. There are good views of the coastline from here. Continue along to Ladram Bay.

Several fossils have been found in this area including one of a rynchosaurus – one of the oldest known plant eating reptiles. The reddish brown cliffs that can be seen here are made from Otter sandstone, they were formed in the Triassic period 220 million years ago. Their striking colour is caused by iron oxide – this indicates that the climate was hot and dry all those years ago, similar to that of the Arabian Gulf and South Africa today.

Further along the path is Brandy Head. It derives its name from smuggling which was once rife along this coast. Contraband was landed more safely at night out of the sight of the customs men. In World War 2 the headland was used to test new aircraft mounted gun sights. Evidently, local boys used to climb up and hide under the hedgerows to watch the planes practice air strikes.

Continue the walk along to Budleigh Salterton. As you approach the town there is a walk inland alongside the River Otter before crossing on to a road then walking back down the river south into the town.

The pleasant walk along Budleigh seafront is marked by a war memorial at the top of the hill and Straight Point can be seen across the sea in the distance. Salt panning during Roman times gave the town its name. Sir John Millais’s painting ‘The Boyhood of Raleigh’ was painted near here. A local ferryman and the artist’s two sons were models and the sea wall can be seen in the painting.

The town has the largest croquet lawn outside London. Look out for the steamer steps along the promenade, this was a stopping point for these boats many years ago.

Photos show: a beach near Ladram Bay; Ladram Bay; Budleigh Salterton

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