the cliffs above combe martin
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Things to do in Combe Martin

Besides lazing the day away on the beach or spending time on the water, there are lots of other ways to fill your time. With great walks along the South West Coast Path and into Exmoor, local holiday and theme parks to entertain younger guests, and places to get your hands on delicious food, Combe Martin is a top seaside destination to explore.

Can I Enjoy Water Sports in Combe Martin?

Sheltered from strong winds and currents, the water surrounding Combe Martin is calmer than most other spots along the North Devon coastline making it perfect for kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding.  Hire a kayak or a stand-up paddle board locally from Surfside Kayak Hire, OSKC Watersports, or Active Escape. If you’re lucky, in the summer you may spot seals, dolphins, and porpoises at Combe Martin so keep your eyes peeled! Jet ski hire is also available at Watermouth Cove.

To surf, the nearest beach is Woolacombe, 11.5 miles away, here you can hire equipment and book lessons.

For sunset safaris, wildlife cruises, and fishing trips, travel 5.5 miles to Ilfracombe where you can jet across the water with Ilfracombe Sea Safari or Ilfracombe Coastal Cruises. Hop on a boat and take to the glassy waters in search of sea life and for an incredible look at the dramatic cliffs, caves, and coves of the north Devon coastline.

Where Are the Best Places to Walk?

Combe Martins coastal position, on the edge of Exmoor National Park is a walkers’ delight. The South West Coast Path winds its way along the coastline taking you further into the National Park or towards other seaside villages and towns.

From the centre of the village, take the path up to the Hangman Cliffs where you can follow a 6-mile loop to bring you back home again. The pair of cliffs, Little and Great Hangman offer stupendous views across the ocean towards Wales, which you can easily see on a clear day. At 1004 feet, Great Hangman is the highest sea cliff in England, the trek up is fairly strenuous, but with glorious views at every point of the hike, the rewards are well worth the effort. If you haven’t quite seen enough, continue on the coast path towards Martinhoe and Trentishoe where panoramic views across the glittering ocean teamed with jutting valleys create magical scenes you will remember forever.

Further along the coast is Woody Bay, if you don’t fancy the long walk from Combe Martin, there are two car parks which are clearly signposted at Woody Bay. Trek down the steep mile-long twists and turns of the hill, past Martinhoe Manor and a signpost to Iceland before reaching the bay with its red cliffs, rocky beach and disused lime kiln (the perfect place for a rainy-day picnic!). If you visit at low tide and scramble across the rocks to the far side of the beach you will spy an old Victorian swimming bath where you can take a refreshing dip. The pool is teeming with brightly coloured marine life and soon hides beneath the sea as the tide turns. At low tide you can also see the old pier, built in 1897, which was rather unsuccessful as it was never quite long enough for any ship to dock!

Head into Exmoor National Park and tread well-trodden paths which crisscross the magical expanse of moorland. Follow the winding river in Simonsbath, spot wild deer in Cloutsham, and Exmoor ponies in Winsford before hunting out a lunch spot from one of the local pubs which serve up hearty food and most of which welcome your four-legged walking companion. There are plenty of safe spots for wild-swimming, namely Landacre Bridge where you can make a splash then walk to Withypool for lunch. The highest point of the National Park, at 519 metres, is Dunkery Beacon, well worth a visit an easily accessible due to nearby car parks.

And there are some great local attractions that offer great day outs for the kids (and the grown ups too), find out more here. Plus, there are some great local historic places to visit, please check out our guide here.

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