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.

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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.

This area is rich in wildlife, and a keen eye will spot herons, peregrines, oystercatchers and other seabirds.

Exmoor walks

From 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.
Photo of Tarr Steps a Clapper bridge across the River Barle in the Exmoor National Park, Somerset, England.

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.

Pebble beach and sea
A section of weathered wood beach defences on Porlock beach/Credit: Getty

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.

Pebble beach and sea
The Somerset coast and Exmoor at Porlock Weir/Credit: Getty

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.

4. Allerford

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.

The pretty Somerset village of Allerford/Credit: Getty

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.

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.

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Hills and coastline
View from Selworthy Beacon to Porlock Bay/Credit: Getty

Porlock Bay map

Porlock Bay walking route and map

Porlock Bay walking route and map

Authors

Daniel Graham of COuntryfile magazine on a hike with wet hair and blue coat and hills in background
Daniel GrahamOutdoors editor, BBC Countryfile Magazine

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.

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