Walk: Porlock Bay, Exmoor
This 8.5-mile coastal walk in Exmoor National Park begins at PorlocK Weir, striding out across Porlock Bay to the great sea cliffs of Hurlstone Point.
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 8.5-mile walk will be over before you know it. Not to worry, you can relive the wonders of the path as you relax at the cosy Ship Inn or Porlock Weir Hotel.
Exmoor walksFrom dramatic coastal footpaths to gentle river walks, there are myriad hikes to be enjoyed in Exmoor National Park – here is our guide to some of the best walking routes.
Porlock Bay walk
8.5 miles/13.6km | 5 hours | moderate
1. Porlock Weir
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 encounter with the sea, stick to the beach.
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.
2. Porlock Bay
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.
3. Hurlstone Point
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.
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.
5. Bossington to Porlock Weir
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.
Porlock Bay map
Danny is the outdoors editor of BBC Countryfile Magazine, responsible for commissioning, editing and writing articles that offer ideas and inspiration for exploring the UK countryside.