This circular run starts and finishes on Hartland Quay and takes in the Coast Path
A scramble down to Blegberry Beach is worth the effort. From Rocket House, near the attendant’s hut at Hartland Quay, follow the Coast Path E then N, passing Hartland Point with its lighthouse. On reaching a car park below radar station tower, bear R up a lane. Pass heliport and follow signs to Blegberry, then Stoke. Pass L of the church, before following the footpath through fields and back to Hartland Quay
Distance: 6.5 miles (10k)
Start/finish: Hartland Quay car park, EX39 6DU
Terrain: Coast Path, footpath, road
Toughness: Moderate to challenging
Ascent: 433 metres
Good for: Coast, views, geology
Route info: wildrunning.net
The north Devon section of the South West Coast Path winds its way along rugged cliffs and up and down steep, wooded gorges, passing the towns of Lynton and Lynmouth with their resident populations of goats who graze on the cliffs. The Hartland peninsula is a green and tranquil place, where vast, hedge-lined fields run straight down to the sea.
We ran here in the autumn when the hedges were laden with blackberries, and flocks of geese, skuas and shearwaters filled the air on their long journey south. Our favourite route takes in Hartland’s impressive rock formations, stunning coast path, unusual geology and abundance of flora and fauna of this area.
A scrambly detour down to Blegberry Beach, with its sandy channels and clear, anemone-filled rockpools, is well worth the effort. It’s a wonderful place to explore, with many secret coves and rocky beaches to discover and a wealth of adventurous running.
There’s a newly opened National Trust bothy nearby at Peppercombe, which makes for a fun and unusual place to stay. Nearby there are the wild moors and steep valleys of Exmoor to discover, or Lundy Island which, despite being only three miles in length, has several beautiful and enjoyable routes, from the straight trail along its centre to a complete circumnavigation, starting and finishing at the pub.
Races in this part of Devon make the most of the scenery. Endurancelife’s Exmoor stage of their coastal trail series explores the Heddon Valley and takes you down to sea level and all the way back up again.
The Trail Events Co also have an Exmoor stage, based in Doone Valley. North Devon Road Runners and Bideford AAC are local clubs whose websites have a wealth of information