In the realm of place descriptions, a down is usually an upland area, from the old English word ‘don’, and you certainly have every opportunity to feel elevated at Bolberry Down.
This beautiful stretch of Devon coastline is managed by the National Trust and offers a unique opportunity for the whole family, from grandparents to grandchildren, to enjoy a clifftop experience.
Nature for all
Bolberry’s easy-access route is wide enough for wheelchairs, flat enough for children and has benches at regular intervals for those who want to sit and take in their surroundings.
The clifftop’s carefully conserved coastal grassland provides the perfect home for skylarks, cirl buntings and even the rare Dartford warbler.
For others who want to explore further afield and don’t mind a few hills, there are the options of a walk down to popular Hope Cove or along the South West Coast Path (SWCP) to lonely Soar Mill Cove (only accessible on foot).
Whichever path you choose, Bolberry Down delivers access to wildlife for all, and is the perfect place to visit for anyone wanting to escape into nature for an hour or three.
1. Marine life
Starting at the Bolberry Down car park (National Trust membership or parking fees apply), follow the track up the side of the lane towards Oceans Restaurant.
Turn left along the tarmac path and head in the direction of the sea. Almost immediately, views of the wild rocky coastline open up. On a sunny day, the sea here is an exquisite turquoise blue.
Keep you eyes peeled for porpoises and dolphins playing in the water as you enjoy the stunning rock formations that make up Slippery Point.
There are conveniently placed benches all along this section so take some time to stop and absorb your surroundings. Start to listen here for the high trill of cirl buntings and the insistent soaring song of skylarks.
2. Hopeful view
Continue towards the viewpoint above Fernyhole Point and admire the sweeping views down to nearby Hope Cove and Burgh Island. With a bit of weather-luck, you should be able to see as far south as Lizard Point in Cornwall.
An optional one-mile route – not suitable for wheelchair users – descends to Hope Cove.
3. Birdsong back
To enjoy even more birdsong, take the inland path back towards the car park. All good walks end with refreshments, so be sure to stop at Oceans Restaurant for coffee or locally produced breakfast, lunch or dinner.
From Bolberry Down car park, there is another optional route the leads down to Soar Mill Cove (not suitable for wheelchairs). Follow the SWCP through the gate and south-east along West Cliff. Take the steep path downhill to Soar Mill Cove; here anemones can be seen in the rock pools at low tide. Return on the path below Hazel Tor and take the permissive path back up to West Cliff.
Words: Fi Darby is a Devon author, blogger, copywriter and OS Outside Champion. Find out more at www.fidarby.co.uk