Walk: Porlock Bay, Somerset

A nine-mile coastal walk along the pebbled storm berms, coastal cliffs and saltmarshes of Porlock Bay in Exmoor National Park

Porlock Bay, Somerset ©Jake Graham

The coastline between the tiny harbour at Porlock Weir and rugged Hurlstone Point comprises wildlife-rich salt and freshwater marshland, dramatic storm beaches and gnarled cliffs.


With such a variety of environments to be discovered, this reasonably long walk will be over before you know it. Not to worry, you can relive the wonders of the path as you relax among books, sofas and firelight at Porlock Weir’s quirky Millers at the Anchor inn.

After a storm, the beach at Porlock Bay is strewn with driftwood ©Jake Graham Photography)
After a storm the beach at Porlock Bay is strewn with driftwood (©Jake Graham Photography)

Sea air

From the car park at Porlock Weir, drop straight on to the beach and make your way along the pebbles. There are a number of footpaths that wind through the saltmarshes inland, but for a closer incounter with the sea, stick to the beach.

Boats in the outer harbour at Porlock Weir, Somerset England UK
Boat roll in the small harbour at Porlock Weir ©Getty
Steep storm berms run parallel to the water, often strewn with large pieces of driftwood and evidence of what dwells beneath the sea’s surface.

On to the cliffs

After about 2.5 miles you will reach a turn off, a clear trail leading to the right away from the sea. Follow the track as it turns into a road. Once you reach a cluster of houses at Rossington, cut across the village car park, pass through a gate and continue uphill along the path. You are now on the South West Coast Path, heading east towards Minehead.

Leave the official coast path for a smaller trail, hugging the shoreline until you reach Hurlstone Point.


Broad horizons

Hurlstone Point affords spectacular views to the west and east. Spend a while soaking up the scenery, then continue on the path, heading steeply uphill. In a few hundred metres you will reach a crossing of paths. Step over the South West Coast Path and follow a trail, contouring south and then east around the back of Bossington Hill.

View from Selworthy Beacon to Porlock Bay Somerset England UK near Exmoor and west of Minehead on the south west coast path with purple heather
Looking west to Porlock Bay (©Getty)

Forest to Village

You will soon reach Lynch Combe. Cross the small valley and enter a section of forest, dropping gradually down to the village of Allerford. Pass the museum before returning to the coast along a narrow country lane.

Picturesque pack horse bridge Allerford Somerset England UK on a beautiful summer day
The pretty Somerset village of Allerford ©Getty

Marshland meander

Pass back through Bossington, but instead of heading straight down to the beach, turn right a little way before, rejoining the waymarked South West Coast Path. Walk parallel to the sea. This area is rich in wildlife, and a keen eye will spot grey herons, little egrets, lapwings and curlews among the marsh.

Stay on the coast path and continue back to Porlock Weir. There are options for food, drink and beds at Millers at the Anchor and the Ship Inn.

Enjoy a gin, beer or soft drink at the quirky Millers at the Anchor
Enjoy a gin, beer or soft drink at the quirky Millers at the Anchor (©Jake Graham Photography)


Click on the map below for an interactive version of the route.


Main Image: Jake Graham Photography