The small village of Beer, sheltered by white chalky cliffs above a steep shingle beach, sits on the Jurassic Coast near Lyme Regis. Along this stretch of the Devon coastline, the rocks provide a haven for wildlife, and it’s a site of geological and historical interest, too.
Despite its popularity in the summer months, Beer beach remains a peaceful spot to spend an afternoon, with bobbing fishing boats drawing the eye out to sea. This popular three-mile coastal walk from the village of Branscombe to Beer requires a reasonable level of fitness as the path can be steep and uneven at times. However, your efforts will be rewarded with stunning countryside and coastal views.
The beach at Branscombe ©Getty
Start in Branscombe at Saint Winifred’s Church, one of the oldest churches in Britain. Take the path to the left of the building and walk for 100m to cross over a stile. Continue until you reach a small footbridge and another stile leading into the woods. Climb the steps through the trees until you find a broader trail and the South West Coast Path. Turn left and continue for a minute or two to emerge from the trees to spectacular views of the coast and the village of Branscombe.
Rising on the grassy path from Branscombe Mouth
The sea shanty
Continue along the footpath. You briefly enter the trees again, keeping right at the fork before descending to Branscombe Mouth. Branscombe Bay infamously claimed headlines in 2007 when the MSC Napoli cargo ship ran aground – the 13.5-tonne Napoli anchor is now on display outside The Sea Shanty – a beachside café serving refreshments.
Cliff to cliff
Continue to follow the coast path signs for Beer, veering left up a grassy hill to reach East Cliff. Follow the path across two fields towards steep steps that lead to the top of Hooken Cliff, and a good view of Sidmouth and the surrounding coast.
Clifftop path above Branscombe beach ©Getty
Veer into Beer
Keep following the coast path towards Beer. Go through two sets of kissing gates and along a small dirt track beside a hedgerow towards Beer Head. Pass the Beer Coastguard station. From here, it’s a short walk along Common Lane into the village.
Deckchairs laid out on the beach at Beer ©Getty
Back to base
To return to Branscombe there are three options: either retrace your steps along the coast path; head inland to complete a circular loop; or catch the 899 bus.
Main image ©Getty