The Bogtrotter

Tag: coast

Beachy Head circular walk

by on Jun.03, 2012, under Britain, British Walks, Walks

A six mile circular walk, taking in the cliffs of Beachy head with the quiet country tracks of deepest Sussex.

Beachy Head Lighthouse


The walk starts at East Dean, either at the Village Hall car park or the adjoining bus stop. From here take the road up to the A259. Cross the road and turn right, going up the hill for 200 metres until a track veers off to the left. Follow this track, which starts of as a driveway to several houses on the left but soon reduces to a grass track through a chalk down. The track gradually climbs until after about a mile you emerge from a hollow to find yourself in the middle of Eastbourne Downs Golf Course.

Turn right and once again cross the A259. The track on the opposite side is slightly to your right, and goes over the brow of a hill to a trig point. From here you have views across the heathland, with ancient woods and the town of Eastborne below you. Bear right at the pond, and follow the track to slowly descend towards the small road junction for Birling Gap. Cross the road, keeping to the seaward side, and continue along the path until you eventualy join the South Downs Way that tracks the coast. If you want a break, you can stop for lunch at The Beachy Head Inn or stop at the Beachy Head visitors centre.
(continue reading…)

Leave a Comment :, , more...

Norfolk coast walk – Thornham to Hunstanton

by on Oct.29, 2011, under British Walks, Walks

This is a six mile walk along the western end of the North Norfolk Coastal Path, from Thornham to Hunstanton.

Wide open beaches of North Norfolk

Park the car or take the bus to Hunstanton, then get the Coasthopper bus towards Wells and Cromer as far as The Orange Tree pub at Thornham. From the bus stop take the road towards the coast, walking past Thornham church on the right and a mix of traditional cottages. At a fork in the road, bear right and carry on until the road takes a sharp right turn. At this point, turn left and follow the footpath (signed with a National Trail acorn sign). After 50 yards turn right and cross a small footbridge, then continue on the path with grazing fields on your left and saltwater marshes to your right. Keep an eye out for herons who like to stand beside some of the shallow water channels looking for food.

At the end of the path turn right and follow the track for a short distance, before turning left and joining the footpath on top of the sea dyke. As you walk you now have an elevated view across the marshes, where myriad wading birds potter along searching for tasty morsels to eat. The path slowly winds its way along the dyke towards the sand dunes and Holme Bird Observatory. (continue reading…)

Leave a Comment :, , , more...

Sentier des Douaniers – part two

by on Mar.28, 2009, under France, French Walks

In part one of the Sentiers des Douaniers walk we went from Maccinaggio around the coast to Barcaggio, where we spent the night. Now we complete the second half of the walk around to Centuri.

From Barcaggio the next stage is a simple walk along the coast to Tollare, the only other habitation on the route. This stretch give you the best views of the Ile de la Giaglia, a small island of the north coast.

View out to sea

View out to sea


Tollare is also the last place you can get water, so make sure you have enough before you set off. From here you start to climb up onto the grassy hills, then you see the Capo Grosso lighthouse down at the foot of the hills to your right. This part of the route is very exposed with no shade, so is best avoided in the middle of the day during the summer. But the views across the maquis scrub out to see are spectacular. The sense of isolation is great, with the trail cutting through the maquis is the only sign of human activity.

The route then starts to gently descend off the hills as you work your way down to the fishing village of Centuri, where the Sentier ends. The village peeks in and out of view as you slowly wind round the slopes towards it, but eventually you come to a few houses and then the village opens up in front of you.

Centuri

Centuri

Centuri is a typical picturesque mediterranean fishing harbour, with several small bar restaurants and a few shops. The ideal place to relax and have a drink before making your way back.

The final challenge is for us was to return to our starting point at Macinaggio. We walked up the only road into Centuri until we reached the main road, and then hitched back (which worked for us). All told, this was a fantastic coastal walk with a multitude of interesting things to see on the way.

Before you start the walk – visit the tourist office in Macinaggio which gives out a free map and route description of the trail (a poor quality copy is available on the web site).

Leave a Comment :, , , more...

Le Sentier des Douaniers – a walk into the wilderness

by on Mar.21, 2009, under France, French Walks

The Sentier du Douaniers (which translates as the custom officers path) follows the coast around the tip of Cap Corse, the long peninsula that sticks out from the northern end on the island of Corsica. The first half of the walk is fairly flat, but the second half in more demanding with more hills.

The route is just under 20km and could be completed in one day (official guides say 7h45 minutes of walking), but we chose the more leisurely approach of doing it over two days with an overnight stop in a hotel.

View back to Macinaggio

View back to Macinaggio

The walk starts in the small village of Macinaggio, which has a tourist marina and a couple of shops where you can get your provisions. From Macinaggio the route heads north along the coast – just walk along to the end of the beach and follow the path. After walking around the first headland you drop to a beach where the only things that are normally found sunbathing are the local cows. As you walk along the path you cannot fail to smell the mixture of scents from the “maquis”, the herbs and shrubs that make up the vegetation that covers the landscape.

Tour De Santa Maria

Tour De Santa Maria

The next bay contains the ruin of the Tour de Santa Maria tower stands with it’s feet in the water. Dramatically sliced in half, the remains of this three storey tower sit just off the beach and you can walk across to it to have a look at what’s keft.

Continuing along this classic coastal walk you see the Tour d’Agnello tower standing proud on a small headland marking the north-eastern point of the island. Before you reach the tower the path cuts inland, away from the cliffs, before turning and following a track straight down to the tower.

You then drop down to the beach which gently curves round the bay. As you leave the far end of the beach you enter Barcaggio, the small village that is the half-way point on the walk. We then stayed the night in Barcaggio’s only hotel – the Hôtel La Giraglia (Open 01/04 to 30/09 – Tél 04-95-35-60-54). The hotel has no restaurant and no televisions. But who needs a tv when you can leave your bedroom window open and listen to the waves gently lapping against the shore. This has to be one of the most remote-feeling hotels I’ve ever stayed at – a real place to “get away from it all”.

If you do stay overnight you need to consider where you will eat. Barcaggio only has one restaurant – U Pescadore which specialises in seafood and is in an ugly prefab building on the quayside (Tel 04-95-35-61-64). It is only open from June to September and otherwise it is 7km to Chez Néné on the main road.

From Barcaggio the Sentier des Douaniers continues round to Centuri Port, which is covered in part two of the walk.

Leave a Comment :, , , more...

LLeyn Peninsula coastal walk – of cliffs and golf balls

by on Mar.15, 2009, under Britain, British Walks, Walks

The Lleyn peninsula is tucked away in the North of Wales, pointing like a finger into the Irish Sea. The coast has some superb walking yet is much less walked than the more famous neighbours down in Pembrookshire. This 8 mile coastal walk goes from Nefyn to Tudweiliog, with a regular bus service running for you to complete the circuit.

Lleyn Coastal Path

Lleyn Coastal Path


Starting from Nefyn a short walk takes you to the coast path above the beach. Follow the path around the cliff tops through the scented gorse bushes. From here you can see the picturesque little harbour of Porthdinllaen tucked under the cliffs in the distance, with Ty Coch (its red pub) standing out. Continue until you reach a road going down to a slipway on the beach. I prefer to continue by going up and through the golf course here, but you can also go down the slipway and follow the beach round as long as the tide is not in.

Porthdinllaen

Porthdinllaen

Follow the path along the clifftops until you are nearly over the top of Porthdinllaen, then drop down to the hamlet. Pass through the arch in the buildings to come into a courtyard, then carry on the rocky coastline. This rocky section is a little more difficult underfoot, but is passable with care. You will then come to Lifeboat Bay with the Lifeboat Station which has protected boats in the area since 1864.

Cross over the slipway and then climb up the steep steps to join the golfers on the course above. You can rest in the shelters here and watch the golfers before following the track down the middle of the course. Then pick up the path to the right which goes down the side of the fairway to rejoin the clifftop.

Walk across Nefyn Golf Course

Walk across Nefyn Golf Course

Leave the golf course behind and continue along the coast. The coastline becomes a bit more rugged and wild now, with hardly a sole in sight. However the path is fairly distinct and easy to follow, with just a couple of slightly tricky bits where the path has been eroded back by small streams. The cormorants and seals provide welcome company along the route – the cormorants diving off the rocks into the sea whilst the seals lounge around on the sand and rocks.

Keep going until you reach the path cutting inland next to a small caravan site. Take this path then follow a small path across the fields to Tudweiliog village, where you can get some refreshments in the shop and wait for the bus back to Nefyn (click for timetable).

To do this walk you will need OS Landranger Map number 123 (Lleyn Peninsula). Alternatively you can download the map from Anquet Maps.

Leave a Comment :, , , more...

Traditional Les Saintes Maries de la Mer

by on Mar.08, 2009, under France, French Experiences

Les Saintes Maries de la Mer is one of those places whose name alone conjures up images of legends from the past. Set in the heart of the Camargues region of southern France, this coastal town is steeped in history and folklore. The local Camargue culture is infused with gypsy traditions, and the highlight of the local calendar is the annual gypsy pilgrimage to the town in May.

View from the roof of the church

View from the roof of the church

The centre of Les Saintes Maries de la Mer is dominated by the church, which towers above the surrounding buildings. Built between the 9th and 12th centuries it seems more of a fortress than a place of worship, which is probably why it survives so well today. The main attraction inside is the statue of St. Sara, a significant figure in Gypsy cultural tradition, which is found in the crypt to the right of the altar. After visiting the inside of the church, make sure you climb up onto the roof for panoramic views across the Camargues and out into the Mediterranean.
Over Les Saintes Marie de la Mer

Looking out over Les Saintes Marie de la Mer

Surrounding the church are a labyrinth of narrow streets, offering shelter from the mediterranean heat. There are shops selling everything a tourist may wish for, and the atmosphere is typically friendly and festive throughout the year.

For more information visit the local tourist office web site.

Leave a Comment :, , more...

Etretat – beach walk on the wild side

by on Feb.09, 2009, under France, French Walks, Walks

Chalk cliffs of Etretat

Chalk cliffs of Etretat

Those looking for a challenging but spectacular coastal walk should head for Etretat in France, where the chalk cliffs rising up from the English Channel create the magnificent image of the Alabaster Coast.  Etretat is a pretty little coastal town which is now a tourist honeypot, and the start of one of the best short walks you will ever do.  With the beach section only accessible at low tide you need to check the local tide times and ideally start about an hour before low tide.

As low tide approaches a group begins to gather at the western end of Etretat beach, and you can sense something is about to happen.  A short walk across the seaweed-covered rocks (and a splash in the rock pools if you’re so inclined) takes you to a metal ladder fixed to the cliff.  Climb up the ladder to a ledge and you can then walk through the tunnel carved out of the rock.  You are now the other side of the Failaise D’Aval arch, and on a much quieter beach enclosed by the mountainous strata-lined chalk cliffs.  Carry on across this pebble beach – with the Mannaporte Arch in front of you striding out into the sea.  When you reach the next arch go though this and down a ladder to reach another enclosed beach.  This one has a beautiful waterfall cascading down the cliff – the perfect place to stand and cool off from the summer heat.

Waterfall on the beach

Waterfall on the Beach


One feature of this walk is it’s challenging nature. This is one place the Health and Safety brigade have failed to reach.  The rocks are slippery, the ladders are exposed, and there are no handrails or barriers on the open ledges.  It is not unneccessarily dangerous and can be done by any reasonably active person, but is not for those of a nervous disposition!

Arch through the rock

Arch through the rock

Another archway to go through to reach the final beach – from a distance I think this one looks like a silouette of the queen on a postage stamp.  This final beach is probably the best for sunbathing – and is much busier than the previous two.  At the end of this beach is a roadway which cuts through the cliffs.  From this road you can join the cliff path and follow this all the way back to Etretat.  The clifftop walk gives stunning views of the chalk cliffs – which seem to go on forever into the distance.

In the summer there are large crowds on the cliffs, and the numbers increase the closer you get back to Etretat.  But it is easy to see why – the scenery is unsurpassed.  Once you are back in Etretat – head for one of the great restaurants where you can try the local seafood (highly recommended) washed down with a glass or two of Normandy cider and calvados.

1 Comment :, , , , more...

Brancaster Circular Walk, Norfolk

by on Jan.26, 2009, under Britain, British Walks, Walks

This is a great 5 1/2 mile walk taking in several of the best things about walking in Britain in one go – salt marshes, a small harbour, some woodland, a common and a Roman fort.

Small harbour at Brancaster Staithe

Small harbour at Brancaster Staithe

Starting from the village of Brancaster the path goes across the marshes – mainly on a raised boardwalk to stop you getting your feet wet – to Brancaster Staithe.  You can often see the piles of reeds where the local reed-cutters have been at work – collecting the harvest for thatching local properties.

Brancaster Staithe is a small fishing port in the middle of the saltwater marshes, and seems miles from the sea itself.  Most weekends in the car park here you will find the cockle van, selling an amazing variety of seafood along with the obligatory cups of tea.

From here the route continues along the coastal path past the back of the White Horse hotel and the round mussel beds until you reach the track up to Burnham Deepdale. You then turn inland and the next stretch (the only bit of the walk along tarmac) takes you up the road towards the woods of the Downs.  In the summer the fields near here are awash with poppies, completely overshadowing the wheat crops beneath them.

Field of poppies near Brancaster

Field of poppies near Brancaster

You then get to cross Barrow Common – surrounded by the coconut scent of the Gorse bushes. The views from here stretch right across the marshes, giving you a full panoramic vista even though your only 50 metres above sea level.

The route then drops down towards Brancaster, and after crossing the coast road you end up in the Branodunum – the roman fort that gave the village it’s name. Although no remnants of the fort remain you can still clearly see the earthworks and outline of what was once there.

And then you’re back to your starting point at Brancaster.

You can download a routemap for this walk from the Norfolk County Council web site – it is the first half of Walk 09.

Leave a Comment :, , , more...

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

Here to help you travel!

A few highly recommended links...