To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, East Devon District Council's Countryside team has put together a walk to lift the mood and encourage people to spend time outdoors and explore the beautiful countryside.
The team helps to maintain the South West Coast Path for walkers to enjoy, in partnership with a number of other organisations and land owners, and countryside ranger, Dave Palmer has developed the three and a half mile walk from Beer Head car park to Branscombe. The walk takes in the spectacular views and stunning scenery along the Jurassic coast.
From Beer Head car park you join the coast path at an archaeological information point, turn right along the path and follow a small lane. This path opens out into a filed with a slight incline, followed by some hills as well as some level walking along open cliff top and fields.
After about half a mile the path splits. The coast path goes through a kissing gate and into an area known as the Underhooken.
Dave said: ‘’The Underhooken provides arguably one of the best views in Devon and is a truly beautiful place to walk. From the Underhooken you can see rock pinnacles, towering inland cliffs, the beach at Branscombe Mouth and red cliffs which stretch away into the distance – on a clear day you can even see views of Start Point!’’
The narrow path descends a flight of more than 110 steps, which are maintained by the Countryside team throughout the year. The path winds along with glimpses of sea views and looming cliffs. The path leads parallel to the beach, and at one point drops right down to allow access onto the beach. Here you can their walk along the shingle beach to Branscombe Mouth, or continue along the coast path as it rises slightly and continues to emerge at a caravan site.
On leaving the caravan site, the path descends towards welcome refreshments at the Sea Shanty beach café!
On the return journey you can either retrace your steps, or tackle all of the climbing at the beginning of the walk by leaving through the steep field out of Branscombe, once at the top it is a level walk back to the car park.
Dave said: ‘’Throughout the year my job involves keeping the coast path between Beer and Branscombe clear of vegetation, constructing and maintaining steps and keep the marvellous views open for everyone to enjoy.’’
‘’The walk from Beer to Branscombe is constantly changing and is a great way to blow away the cobwebs and improve your health and wellbeing.’’
On Monday 15 May from 10:30am to 12:3pm, the Countryside team, in partnership with the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project are running a guided walk along the coast path looking for evidence of bat habitats. Places are just £3 per person and must be booked online in advance.
You can find out more about the work of the Countryside team, upcoming events and volunteering opportunities online at wildeastdevon.co.uk or by phoning on 01395 517557.