Five Best Walks Around Ilfracombe

Ilfracombe, offers a plethora of scenic walks that cater to all levels of hikers and nature enthusiasts. From rugged coastal paths to serene countryside strolls, Ilfracombe’s diverse landscapes provide a perfect backdrop for exploring on foot. Here’s a guide to some of our favourite and best walks around town, designed to help you discover the area’s natural beauty, wildlife, and historical sites.


1 South West Coast Path: Ilfracombe to Woolacombe

– Approximately 8 miles

– Moderate to challenging

– This section of the South West Coast Path offers breathtaking views of the Bristol Channel, rugged cliffs, and lush countryside. Starting from Ilfracombe Harbour, you’ll pass the iconic Damien Hirst sculpture, “Verity,” before heading towards the picturesque Lee Bay, and eventually reaching the golden sands of Woolacombe Beach. It’s a fantastic route for spotting marine wildlife and enjoying panoramic sea views including South Wales and Lundy Island. Stop off in Lee at the Grampus Inn or (during the peak season) some cosy cafes.


2 Tunnels Beaches Walk

– 2 miles (round trip)

– Easy

– Ideal for families and those looking for a short, leisurely walk, this route takes you through the historic Tunnels Beaches. Hand-carved in the 1820s, these tunnels lead to unique sheltered beaches and a Victorian bathing pool. Along the way, you’ll learn about Ilfracombe’s Victorian heritage and enjoy stunning views of the rugged coastline. And it’s right next to us at The Carlton!


3 Torrs Walk

– 3-4 miles

– Moderate

– The Torrs Walk combines coastal scenery with green countryside, offering a varied terrain that’s both refreshing and slightly challenging. The path ascends to the high Torrs above Ilfracombe, where you’re rewarded with expansive views across the town and out to sea. It’s a great option for those looking to experience the natural beauty of North Devon without venturing too far from Ilfracombe. It’s a very dog friendly walk too.


4 Hele Bay to Watermouth Cove

– 2.5 miles (one way)

– Easy to moderate

– This pleasant coastal walk starts at Hele Bay, just east of Ilfracombe, and meanders to Watermouth Cove, a picturesque harbour with a sheltered beach. The route offers lovely views of the Bristol Channel and passes by Watermouth Castle, an impressive 19th-century fortress now housing a family attraction.


5 Hillsborough Hill Local Nature Reserve

– 1-2 miles

– Easy to moderate

– Known locally as “the sleeping elephant,” Hillsborough Hill is a prominent landmark offering several gentle walking trails through its nature reserve. The ascent to the top is rewarded with spectacular views over Ilfracombe and the surrounding coastline. It’s an excellent spot for bird watching and enjoying a peaceful retreat into nature. There’s the remains of an iron age fort to be discovered as you cover Hillsborough, as well as dramatic coastal drops and secret coves.


Good to know:


Good sensible footwear. The terrain on some walks can be rough and slippery, especially in wet conditions.

Coastal weather can change quickly; be prepared for sun, wind, and rain.

Please stick to marked paths, take your litter home, and keep dogs under control to protect local wildlife and habitats.

Some routes, especially the longer coastal paths, have limited access to facilities. Carry water, snacks, and a map or GPS device. Why not pre book a packed lunch from the hotel?


Whether you’re seeking a challenging hike along the dramatic coastlines or a gentle amble through picturesque countryside, Ilfracombe’s walks offer something for everyone. Each route provides a unique opportunity to connect with nature, delve into the area’s rich history, and take in the stunning vistas that make North Devon a special place to explore on foot.