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Tuesday, 5 February 2019

South West Coast Path - Salcombe Regis to Lyme Regis

Salcombe regis

A challenging but rewarding 17 miles hike along the South West Coast Path between Salcombe Regis and Lyme Regis

This is an extensive hike that can be split in two at Seaton. The first half has a number of steep descents and climbs as the path negotiates the numerous combes where streams exude to the sea. The second half is a point of no return that navigates through the undercliff to Lyme Regis. There is no way out and this is an extensive hike through the densely vegetated landscape.

17 miles seems like a perfectly decent distance for a day walk. However with the SWCP one has to take into account the landscape and in this specific walk it is a challenge to complete the full distance and one should be an experienced walker to take this on in one go. If there is any uncertainty then it should be broken down into two smaller walks with Seaton as the convenient point to split the walk.

Having stated this the scenery is awesome from start to finish. With base camp at Salcombe Regis, there is a convenient path that takes one down to the coast path on the eastern side of the deep valley that leads to Salcombe Mouth. Despite being half way up the valley side there is still steep climb out to get over the 156m Dunscombe Cliffs. The path then drops right down to beach level at Weston Mouth before climbing back to 162m as it negotiates Weston Cliff. There's more effort required to get around Branscombe, eventually getting back down to beach level at Branscombe Mouth. Once one is up then one has to go down and once one is down one has to go up.

The coast then turns and one drops down into the village Beer. Yes, Beer. What a great name for a village. Whenever anyone enters Beer then it only seems appropriate that one should toast its name with its namesake beverage. The The Anchor Inn provides an ideal opportunity for such a celebration, a well placed hotel that has a garden on the opposite side of the road through the village, overlooking the seafront. A great position, great ale and, as expected, a very popular place for folk similarly toasting the village name. Its all about location and a beer in Beer is the best location in my beerbook.

There a climb over Beer Hill and the path then descends down into Seaton. Now this small town brings back memories when, during the 1980s, I had a week of camping just outside the town. There was one specific pub that was frequented during that week and they brewed their own beer. If I remember correctly each brew had a railway themed name. Starting at the tame Rail Ale it went through to the powerful dark Sleeper. I believe this was the Beer Engine brewery which appears to have relocated to Exeter. On one specific night at this house of repute, the landlord had gone out for the evening, the Chef was drunk and the barman was liberally plying all and sundry with copious amounts of ale, much of it without charge. That evening the Sleeper Ale lived up to its name.

Unfortunately I could not remember the location or the name of this pub and with many more miles to go then a swift drink at the Hook and Parrot was called for before headign otu on the second half of the days expedition. This seafront bar was clearly aimed at the tourist trade although they did have some ale on offer.

It must be stressed that the walk from Seaton to Lyme Regis, although only some 7 miles is nonetheless a challenging hike with no way out other than returning the way one came. This route navigates through the Axmouth to Lyme Regis Undercliffs Nature Reserve, an area of dropped cliff forming a broad shelf part way down the main cliff. The trail is rough, steps are uneven, paths can be muddy and slippery, as experienced on this expedition despite there being little rainfall in the week leading up to the walk. The whole area is covered in tall trees and dense vegetation that some describe as a jungle. There's not much in challenging climbs but the sheer effort to get through this is demonstrated by the warning signs as one enters the area. In addition one should be aware that Lyme Disease carrying ticks can be encountered in the area and one should take suitable precautions against them.

Having said all this, the trek through the undercliff is an amazing experience and although there are only glimpses of the sea, there is so much more to see and discover. The path undulates around the contours, up and over the various hillocks and around the crags and boulders. Ruined buildings are at the heart of the reserve, the remains of a landslip. Flora, fauna and wildlife abound and one could easily take a full day slowly meandering through this seclude piece of nature.

It has to be admitted that emerging from the undercliff and down into the harbour area of Lyme Regis was a rewarding and satisfying feeling that the distance had been completed. The legs complained. The feet hummed. This endurance was duely rewarded with a pint of Palmers beer to soothe the thirst and revive the muscles as feet were put up on the benches outside the Cobb Arms. It is worth a rest at this busy pub before moving along the beach front to town centre where buses stop for the return journey. And whilst one waits there is always the chance for another pint of Palmers at The Rockpoint Inn although in November 2018 the pub was taken over by the St Austels Brewery so maybe the beers have now changed.

NOTE

This is a walk summary intended to provide the user with just the essential information in order to navigate the walk route. Fully detailed information notes, refreshment stops and walk features are not included in this. A full write up will be included in the near future.

South West Coast Path - Salcombe Regis to Lyme Regis - Essential Information

Walk Statistics:

Start point
Salcombe Regis Camp Site View in OS Map | View in Google Map
End Point
Lyme Regis View in OS Map | View in Google Map
Total Walk distance
17 miles
Walk difficulty
challenging
Terrain
The first half to Seaton has a few challenging assents and descents, the second half is an arduous walk but rewarding through the undercliff
Obstacles
The undercliff area is 7 miles of arduous walking with no way out other than the way one comes in.

Maps:

The following maps and services can assist in navigating this route. The links include published hard copy as well as online plots and downloadable GPX route data for importing into navigational software and apps.

Ordnance Survey Explorer Map
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Online Google Route
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ViewRanger App Route
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GPX data for route (download)

Accommodation:

Salcombe Regis CampsiteView in OS Map | View in Google Map
Website
Description
Situated at the head of the valley going down to Salcombe Mouth with some excellent views.

Transport:

Details of public transport that is required for the walk

Traveline - Bus Service
Service Details
At the time of walking the X53 Jurassic Coastlinx service provide a link between Lyme Regis and Salcombe Regis. This no longer appears to be the case. For the latest details of services and operators see the Traveline website
Timetable

Walk Data

Date of Walk
2010-06-19
Walk Time
08:00 to 17:00
Walkers
Griffmonster, Kat
Weather Conditions
Bright sunshine and very warm

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