minehead to porlock weir


sunday, 9th june 2019

The weather forecast for the week looks utterly filthy but I might just get a decent break in the bad weather today to complete the walk from Minehead to Porlock Weir. It’s not going to be a very warm day but there shouldn’t be much wind and I might just about be able to avoid any rain.

Minehead high tide 11:45

Minehead low tide 17:32

weather forecast 3.jpg
weather forecast 4.jpg
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After a long drive over Exmoor, I start the day at the very start of the South West Coast Path (it could well be the very end of the South West Coast Path if you are walking it in the wrong direction) next to the map sculpture in Minehead.


The sculpture consists of a giant pair of hands holding a map, designed by local art student Sarah Ward and built out of bronze by Owen Cunningham and was installed in February 2001.

map sculpture

In a contest for A-level students, Sarah came up with the idea for a 12ft sculpture in galvanised steel. The sculptor Owen Cunningham, from Belper, Derbyshire, was commissioned to make it by the South West Coast Path Team, part of the Government's Countryside Agency. The sculpture cost £19,000 and Sarah won £100 (woo hoo!), which she put towards a gap-year trip to study a conservation project in Australia.

I leave the sculpture and amble along the promenade where I pass a Christmas tree dumped in a flower bed. It must have been there at least five months and no-one seems to have bothered to have removed it.

christmas tree

At the end of the promenade I pass the teeny harbour.

minehead harbour

I cotinue walking below a wooded slope before heading inland slightly to reach Greenaleigh Farm. Here I turn sharply back on myself to the left to climb steeply up through the wooded slope.

I then turn sharply to my right and continue climbing less steeply through woods before leaving the woodland behind to be replaced by gorse, bracken, foxglove and rhododendron coved slopes. The remains of Burgundy Chapel are somewhere just below me.

Burgundy Chapel was a medieval chapel formerly belonging to the Luttrell family of Dunster Castle. Little is known of the chapel's origins, but it has been suggested that it was built in thanksgiving for a Luttrell's safe return from the Burgundian Wars in the 15th century.

I begin to hear a cuckoo calling and hear it intermittently after this for quite some time so maybe there’s more than one about.

I continue climbing up the slopes to reach a bench, signpost and car park at North Hill where I have magnificent, if rather murky, views over the Bristol Channel to South Wales and over Steep Holm and Flat Holm.

bench with a view

I follow the signpost and turn right to Selworthy and Bossington (four miles away). I follow a stony path flanked by gorse and ignore a disintegrating sign marked ‘Rugged Coast Path’.

rugged coast path

I pass a group of Exmoor ponies - at least I assume they are Exmoor ponies since I’m on Exmoor - who aren’t bothered about my presence and just continue munching the scrub.

exmoor ponies

I enter the Holnicote Estate and pass a field bounded by a stone wall covered in foxgloves and full of some of the worst shorn sheep I’ve ever seen.



I go through a series of gates and climb steadily up on to Selworthy Beacon at 950 feet (290 metres). The summit of Selworthy Beacon is just to my left at 1013 feet (308 metres) so I climb up to the trig point (s3944) and cairn marking the summit where I have magnificent views across Porlock Bay.

selworthy beacon trig point

the (murky) view from selworthy beacon

cairn on selworthy beacon

It must be a pretty windy place usually up on Selworthy Beacon but I hardly have a breath of wind today.

I retrace my steps back to the coast path and turn right to start descending. I take a right hand fork marked for Bossington (2 miles) until I reach the point where the alternative ‘Rugged Coast Path’ rejoins the main path.

rugged coast path

I drop steeply through a valley at Hurlstone Combe, full of kids who don’t look too happy to be outdoors, to reach the coast again at Hurlstone Point where I have magnificent views over the shingle embankment at Porlock Ridge.

hurlstone combe

The ridge was created 8000 years ago but was breached by a violent storm in October 1996, creating a tidal saltmarsh.

view over porlock ridge

I follow the path which passes through a small wooded patch and head towards the River Horner which I cross using a footbridge and head into the rather pretty village of Bossington, mostly owned by the National Trust.


I head out of the village along a road to the right marked for Bossington Beach. The sparrows are chirping away from their vantage point in the guttering of lots of the cottages here. I walk down towards the beach. Although it’s possible to walk along the pebbly beach at low tide I turn inland left along a path and through fields full of acrobatic swallows.

I pass a memorial to the eleven people who lost their lives when an American aircraft crashed into the marsh at Porlock on the 29th of October 1942 while out on a U-boat patrol mission.


I pass a stone barn and a load of dead trees before turning right along a path which leads me out onto the western end of Porlock Ridge and I crunch slowly along the pebbles.

dead trees

porlock ridge

I briefly amble along the road into Porlock Weir where I pass the Ship Inn before walking through the car park to the tiny harbour, built in 1422, where I end my walk.

porlock weir harbour

I have now walked the South West Coast Path in its entirety three times and the podcast produced for this walk will mean that I think I’ve managed to record a podcast for every section of the coast path.

As we leave Porlock Weir in the car it begins to rain and that is followed by torrential rain as we drive over Exmoor. I seem to have finished my walk just in time!


Flora and fauna encountered on the walk today includes :-

  • housemartins

  • swallows

  • echiums

  • day lillies

  • salvia

  • fuchias

  • goldfinches

  • rape

  • comfrey

  • green alkanet

  • chiffchaffs

  • herb robert

  • foxgloves

  • rhododendrons

  • squirrels

  • cuckoos

  • deer

  • skylarks

  • exmoor ponies

  • navelwort

  • sheep

  • pheasants

  • sparrows

  • poppies

podcast logo small.png


The podcast of today's walk is now available. You can subscribe via the iTunes store or listen using the player below.

9 out of 10.png


According to my phone I've walked 10.9 miles today which amounts to 23526 steps. Despite an ominous looking forecast for the week I’ve managed to stay dry today and the walking has been lovely. Nine out of ten!

My Ordnance Survey app has failed me today so I don’t know what my total ascent is. My other tracking app has produced this elevation chart which looks about right. Selworthy Beacon is showing as 1018 feet rather than the 1013 feet it should be but I was stood on top of the cairn at some point which may have added an extra 5 feet!


map sculpture

exmoor ponies


selworthy beacon

porlock ridge

porlock weir to lynmouth


saturday, 23rd september 2017

Today's weather forecast looks like it might actually be quite nice today. Very light winds which is unheard of at the moment with our constant gales and even possibly a bit of sun and some warmth. Can't complain.

Porlock Bay high tide 09:07

Porlock Bay low tide 14:53

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tide times.jpg

I start the day next to the pebbly beach in Porlock Weir. I pass by the tiny harbour and pick up the coast path as it leaves Porlock Weir between the Bottom Ship Inn and the Millers at the Anchor hotel.

porlock weir

The path climbs gently uphill before I turn right along the Worthy Combe Toll Road. I reach a two arched toll gate. The toll road goes through the left arch but I continue along the coast path through the right arch.

worthy combe toll road

Worthy Combe Toll Road
No responsibility attaches to the owner of this road for any carnage or injury suffered by any person using this road from any cause whatsoever whether due to the said owners negligence, non-feasance or misfeasance or to the state of the road or of anything near the said road or overhanging the same or otherwise, and all persons using the said road in any manner do so entirely at their own risk.

Needless to say, at this early hour, there's no one about to collect a toll but a couple of dogs do come and bark at me. They are friendly enough though.

I continue climbing through woods full of sweet chestnuts and pass under two arches before continuing along a footpath which crosses a stream and then leads me to teeny Culbone Church.

culbone church

A community of monks was established here in the fifth century, and the first church was built on the site two centuries later, possibly with an Anchorite cell attached. It is thought that parts of the current church, St Beuno's, date back to Saxon times, although over the centuries it has been rebuilt and refenestrated numerous times.

An information sheet obtained from within the porch tells me that the church is the smallest complete parish church in the country and that it is mentioned in the Domesday Book and the Guiness Book of Records. St Beuno is apparently pronounced "Bayno"!

I explore the churchyard here before heading back to the coast path where I come across a friendly robin who sings for me. I start climbing again. A sign warns me that the path ahead is prone to subsidence. I head through Culbone Wood which leads me to Sugarloaf Hill. The woods are thick so I don't see much in the way of features but it's a thoroughly pleasant walk along muddy woodland tracks passing streams and landslips.

I pass a sign for Glenthorne Beach, a beach covered in rock sized pebbles, but I've no idea how far down I'd have to trek to get to the beach.

glenthorne beach

I cross over a stream and round the slopes of Sugarloaf Hill. I cross another stream and pass a pinetum containing Wellingtonias. 

I cross another stream at Coscombe and I've now crossed over from Somerset to Devon.

I pass Sisters Fountain marked by a stone cross. An elaborate structure was built over the spring in the 19th century and named Sisters Fountain because the owner's nieces liked to play in the vicinity. Joseph of Arimathea is alleged to have struck his staff on the ground here, causing the spring to start flowing. Sounds like a load of old nonsense to me!

sisters fountain

I climb uphill to reach a track that passes through stone pillars topped by wild boar heads.

wild boar heads

wild boar heads

wild boar heads

It has been a lonely trek so far but a runner passes me and greets me 'good morning'.

I pass a house with odd birdtables and birdbaths outside and, at the entrance to Glenthorne House, I leave the track and head along a muddy narrow path.

I get some glimpses of sea before crossing a couple of streams and cross over woody and scrubby slopes at Glenthorne Cliffs.

glimpse of the sea

I cross another stream at Swannel Combe and then reach Chubhill Combe where I come across Rodney Cottage Walkers' Honesty Cafe (@ExmoorNature). I find a flask of hot water, cups, stirrers, sugar, cool drinks, chairs and a table. How sweet! All proceeds go towards feeding the woodland birds.

I climb over a stile and have magnificent views back along the North Devon and Somerset coast.

north devon and somerset coast

A track leads me through ground strewn with stones and covered in bracken, hawthorn and gorse. This leads me to a bend on a narrow road.

bend on a narrow road

I walk down the road and cross a bridge over a stream. The coast path signs have dried up (or I've missed them) so I continue along the road hoping I'm going in the right direction. The cliffs around here are MASSIVE!

massive cliff

I pass Foreland Bothy and reach the National Trust cottages at Foreland Point and the path ends. I have definitely come the wrong way.

foreland bothy

foreland point lighthouse cottage

I spot a sign warning me that the path ahead is narrow and exposed and prone to falling scree. Maybe this is the coast path?

warning sign

I start to climb up it but I don't recognize it. The path starts to climb very steeply up and over Foreland Point. I pass high above the lighthouse. It's quite a climb up a narrow path and it becomes increasing scary as it's a long way down the scree covered cliffs.

foreland point lighthouse

I continue up the path and make it up to the top without falling into the sea. I'm now a long way up and have magnificent views over to Lynmouth and Lynton.

view over lynmouth

I now come across coast path signs again and I indeed have gone the wrong way.

coast path signs

I cross grassy slopes towards Countisbury where I walk through the grounds of St John the Evangelist to reach the Blue Ball Inn.

st john the evangelist

blue ball inn

I retrace my steps through the churchyard and the coast path runs below the main road. It's quite a descent along muddy and slippery paths down from the towering cliffs into Lynmouth. I briefly walk along the road before I drop down to the right and climb down steps on a wooded slope. I zig zag down through a beech wood which leads me out on to the path above Lynmouth Beach.

lynmouth beach

I follow the road through a park and cross a footbridge over the River Lyn. I pass the tiny harbour to reach my destination for the day, Lynmouth.


Lynmouth was wrecked by a devastating flood in August 1952 which killed 34 people and destroyed more than a hundred buildings. 


Flora and fauna encountered on the walk today includes :-

  • japanese anemones
  • robins
  • pheasants
  • buddleia
  • herb robert
  • red campion
  • periwinkle
  • oaks
  • sweet chestnuts
  • holly
  • foxgloves
  • beech
  • rhododendrons
  • gorse
  • heather
  • red admirals
  • speckle wood butterflies
  • grasshoppers
podcast logo small.png


The podcast of today's walk is now available. You can subscribe via the iTunes store or listen using the player below.

9 out of 10.png


According to my phone I've walked 12.6 miles today which amounts to 29906 steps. That's not a very long way today but the weather has been decent and the walking spectacular. Nine out of ten!

Hooray!! My Ordnance Survey app has finally recorded a route. My total ascent today has been 1103 feet or 336 metres.


porlock weir

culbone church

wild boar head

view over lynmouth

st john the evangelist

(not much of a) beach collection