East Devon: Salcombe Regis to Weston Mouth (Circular) 4 miles - O/S Explorer 115
One of my regular walks because it’s close and spectacular. Park by the 12th century church at Salcombe Regis (near Sidmouth) and start your walk going downhill from it. Follow the lane to its end at Combe Wood Farm and on through to a metal gate. From there, take the uphill track on your left and enjoy the view of the combe to your right. Nearing the top, there a path off to the right, take this or carry on to the top and turn right. Both will get you to the coast path. Head east (Atlantic to your right)
The Westcountry has stunning views but also amazing light. Pic to the right looking down to the ocean from a farmers field a good example. You're on farmland studded with flint here, which soon turns
to heath and copses. It makes for a diverting amble to a valley (Lincombe) dipping briefly through trees before emerging onto a wider path. Go right here. The spectacular views come past grass covered mounds. Old quarry workings. From here, high cliffs look down to Weston Mouth, the beach and beyond. Great place for a picnic.
Descending to the beach, you’ll pass Weston Plats. Once market gardens, it has a sign at the entrance telling you the history (job on the side for Branscombe fishermen) and it’s worth spending a few minutes exploring what’s left of it.
Weston beach, pebbled like Salcombe Regis beach just west from it, is never busy and often empty. You have to be fit and make an effort to get here, and that keeps it quiet, even on the sunniest days. The tiny pebbles make it comfortable too. It’s idyllic. Get out your flask (scotch or tea or both) and taste the atmosphere.
When you’ve swum, soaked up the sun, found the perfect pebble and generally had enough, head back the way you came, past the earthworks. But don’t take the left turn back down into Lincombe. Carry straight on, to and through a wide gate onto a rutted track. This track ends at a three-way choice. Take the middle one to the lane back to Salcombe Regis (turn left).
Now, for those earthworks: There’s nothing on the O/S to explain them but I found a reference in a 2015 book review in the Sidmouth Herald about a quarry east of Salcombe Regis in the early 19th century. It supplied stone to a company planning to build a harbour at Sidmouth.
To transport the stuff they decided to build a tunnel through the cliffs, lay track and use a train. It never happened, and neither did the harbour. But what tunnel they did dig came in handy for smugglers. Stone from this area has been quarried on and off for centuries and used in local buildings.
Salcombe Regis is a lovely village, although it appears to suffers a little from second home atrophy. King Athelstan gifted it to Benedictine monks in the 10th century, as was the way in those days, and maybe that explains the ‘Regis’ and lack of a pub. Actually, the lack of any facilities. But not always! If you’re lucky, they’ll be serving tea and cake in the churchyard. And, if it’s spring, a low, broad canopied tree (flowering cherry?) there will be in blossom. It’s glorious. Hard to imagine a messerschmitt straffing this cute little church and destroying its ancient stained glass windows, but apparently it did.
If you want to know more about the church's history, check out this website: https://www.britainexpress.com/counties/devon/churches/salcombe-regis.htm