We are absolutely thrilled to bring you a guest blog from our favourite Cornish rambler, Jody Woolcock from Cornish Ramblings. Cornish Ramblings was created by 33-year old Cornish maid Jody and is a friendly group of novice walkers, keen hikers, sturdy stompers, active explorers, fair-weather adventurers, hill seekers, coastal lovers, woodland ramblers and most importantly...walking addicts. We love finding new routes, going along familiar trails, sharing our favourite places, making new friends, finding pubs and eating cake!
On a typical autumnal day in Cornwall, one area I love to head for a walk is North Cornwall – in particular, Widemouth Bay, Bude.
Widemouth Bay is the southernmost sandy beach around Bude and faces the Atlantic. Surfers will flock to this beach when it’s a good surf day because the waves at Widemouth can be gigantic. I love to visit this beach not because of the surf, although I do love to watch the action, but because of the impressive stretch of sand to wander across and The Widemouth Manor being a stone’s throw away. The Widemouth Manor is a restaurant and bar overlooking the beach and with its spacious outdoor seating, makes for a perfect spot to watch the sunset, or if you’re out hiking, a great pitstop for a carvery when in need of refueling. My partner Hannah is a Bude resident so we tend to head there a lot throughout the summer, and especially on a Sunday for a carvery – if you’re looking for a decent roast then I 100% recommend The Widemouth Manor, you will leave incredibly full and very happy.
The walk begins on the beach and takes you up along the coast to a circle of large stones on the headland named Lower Longbeak, your first landmark of the 6-mile ramble. Carrying on a bit further, you’ll eventually follow the coast path past your next landmark, Higher Longbeak headland where you’ll reach Phillip’s Point nature reserve. Owned by Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Phillip’s Point is a brilliant place for seal spotting, so be sure to bring your binoculars along to see if you can spy them out there bobbing about! On a clear day, Phillip’s Point also has some pretty spectacular views across to Hartland Point and Widemouth.
This gentle walk is perfect if you have a spare Sunday or a free afternoon and fancy venturing somewhere with breathtaking views. It’s also great if you’re not after anything overly strenuous but still want to get your heart racing a little. With a mixture of coastal and canal walking you’ll begin the walk staring out to sea and finish it on level pathways that snake alongside Bude canal. If you time it right, as you make your way along the coast you will be able to see a variety of headlands in the distance such as Tintagel Head, The Rumps, Cambeak (which is unsurprisingly shaped like a beak!) and Dizzard Point. You will also reach a headland on which a tower called Compass Point stands. This striking coastguard watch tower was built by the Acland family in 1840 and is known as the ‘Storm Tower’ or to Bude locals, ‘The Pepperpot’. If you get caught in a typical Cornish rain shower, this makes for a perfect shelter where you can still look out at the views whilst keeping dry. Compass Point is an excellent viewing point where you’ll be able to see Trevose Head and Lundy Island.
When I took my group out on this particular walk the weather was atrocious. We spent a lot of it ducking and diving under any form of shelter we could find. However, the great thing about walking with other likeminded folk is the joviality and motivation you’ll be privy to. Throughout the entire 6-miles with my Cornish Ramblers, there was nothing but laughter and chatter. It’s one of my fondest memories of a ramble with my group, especially when we ended up in a café looking like drowned rats – soggy but with mascara and smiles plastered across our faces. Even when the rain came down so heavy that it bounced off the pavement as we made our way, huddled against the wall in single file, along the canal, there was still plenty of chuckling.
The Bude canal was built in the 1920s to carry sea sand and lime and stretched a whopping 35 miles, reaching Launceston. In 1901 it was rendered uneconomical after competition from the railway, but there are still roughly 2-miles of the canal that remain filled with water.
The great thing about this walk is the abundance of places you can choose from to pull over for a bite to eat and/or something to drink. We chose to stop off at The Weir which is a family friendly restaurant at the end of the canal and has plenty of outside seating if it’s a nice day. Soaked to the core, we made the decision to sit inside and order a hot bowl of soup whilst our dripping coats draped across the back of chairs. If The Weir doesn’t take your fancy, there is also a lovely pub called The Falcon which was established way back in 1798 with the current building dating from about 1825. You will also pass by The Brendon Arms and Bay View Inn.
The final leg of this walk is very gentle but enjoyable. After walking alongside the canal awhile, you will eventually make your way across a couple of fields and back along the path to Widemouth Bay where the walk will finish. Here you can spend some more time enjoying Widemouth beach in the crisp autumnal sunshine, sipping on a well-deserved cup of tea or glass of wine. Or if the weather was anything like we encountered, a hot shower and some comfy pjs is the exact remedy to end a wonderful Cornish Ramble.
“And all at one, summer collapsed into fall…” Oscar Wilde
This route and some facts within this blog were taken from iWalk Cornwall. Download the app today and enjoy over 200 walks around Cornwall.