Morwenstow and Marsland Mouth Circular Walk
This circular walk starts and finishes at the Rectory Farm Tea Rooms. You’ll be using the South West Coast Path and inland footpaths and tracks. You’ll be treated to a combination of breath taking dramatic coastal cliff views, Lundy Island (on a clear day) and the quiet solitude of farmland, mostly unchanged since the building of the agrarian manor houses which dot the area.
Distance: 4.4 miles/7 km (fairly strenuous)
Start/Finish: Rectory Tea Rooms, EX23 9SR
• Hanging valleys and rugged coastline
• Views of Lundy Island
• Nature reserve once owned by the Cadbury Family
• Hawkers Hut
• Rev. Hawker, the eccentric opium using cleric
• Option to climb down to a hidden cove
• Ancient church and graves of shipwrecked sailors
• The best Cream Tea in Cornwall at the Rectory Farm Tea Rooms
The route begins at the Rectory Tea Rooms, EX23 9SR. There is ample free parking.
Enter the churchyard via the lych-gate. Keep to the right of the church and follow the path down past the old Vicarage.
Cross the stream and climb the valley to the field.
Turn left and walk out to join the South West Coast Path.
Turn left onto the Coast Path and at Vicarage Cliff and you’ll see a well-worn path down the cliff to Hawkers Hut.
Re-join the Coast Path and walk to Marsland Mouth (less than two miles but do ensure you are walking with the sea to your left).
Henna Cliff (480 ft / 143 metres) is the highest point of the walk so the views are breathtaking, stretching from Hartland Quay to the aerial dishes of GCHQ (Cleave Camp). Looking inland, nestling amongst the wooded valley, is Morwenstow Church and the old vicarage. Another valley, Yeolmouth lies before you and beyond is Cornakey Cliff.
Another climb (400 ft / 122 metres) takes you to Cornakey Cliff. From here, looking along the coast, notice the natuire of the rocks, the reefs and the dramatic folded arches of Gull Rock that jut out to sea. The square opening through Gull Rock is known as Devil’s Hole.
One more valley lies ahead, Litter Mouth. At the bottom of the valley there’s a 70 ft / 21 metre waterfall.
The path now brings you onto Marsland Cliff and before you lies England!
At the foot of the Marsland Valley you can walk down to the beach. There are no facilities or lifeguards so do be careful of the tide. There’s no vehicular access to the beach, so you will probably have the entire beach to yourself. Enjoy the solitude!
The stream at Marsland Mouth (called Marsland Water) forms the county border between Devon and Cornwall. Follow the path on the Cornwall side of the valley, heading inland towards Youldon Wood.
Eventually this leads to a junction of paths. Bear right, passing Little Marsland and walk uphill to the road.
Turn right and proceed to Marsland Manor.
Go beyond the main gates and turn right into fields skirting the property and follow the footpath signs.
Continue down to cross the stream, then walk up the slope to a field and ahead to a stile in the far hedge.
Cross diagonally left to a corner gate and out onto a track.
Before reaching Cornakey Farm, notice a well on the left. To avoid going through the farmyard, the path goes behind the well into a field and to a gate opening onto the lane.
Turn left along the lane and walk to the first bend.
Turn right along the dirt track passing Yeolmouth Cottage.
Keep ahead through the farm gate, then bear left, between the two buildings.
Cross the style and follow the right hedge to a gate. To bypass Westcott farmyard, follow the alternative path, first bearing right into the field and then left until the stile. In the next field, walk along the left hedge and ahead into the valley.
Cross the footbridge and ascend, past Morwenstow Vicarage, into the churchyard and turn left along the drive.
Beyond the gates, on the left are steps down to St. Johns Well. Continue up the lane and back to the Rectory Farm Tea Rooms.
A printed guided walk leaflet with map and lots of information and points of interest is available from the Bude Tourist Information Centre.