Black Church Rock from Clovelly.

Start. Clovelly.

Route. Clovelly - Mount Pleasant - The Cabin - Rhododendron Grotto - Angle's Wings - Gallantry Bower - The Wilderness - The Lookout - The Wilderness - Mouthmill Cove - Black Church Rock, Mouthmill Cove - Gallantry Bower - Angle's Wings - Winsley Wood - The Church - Clovelly Court - Clovelly.

Notes. This was a walk of two definite halves, first a visit to the cobbled traffic-free streets of Clovelly, this world famous fishing village occupies a cleft in a 400ft cliff, the streets are so steep, until recently donkeys were used to transport goods up and down on wooden sledges, unfortunately popularity comes at a price, there is an entrance fee and the place is always busy. Part two saw us following cliff top paths through dense woodland with stolen views over the coast, our destination secluded Mouthmill Cove guardian of Black Church Rock, a gigantic rock with two massive windows honed through it by the action of the tide.

After a wander down Clovelly's steep main street, then back up again stopping to explore some of the delightful nooks and crannies, a good excuse to pause for breath, we reached a court yard containing a craft shop, pottery and donkeys stables, a finger-post also invited us to wander the coast path, we obliged heading north over tarmac, the tarmac soon ended as we entered rough cow pasture, along the edge of the field we walked before entering woodland. On a good path we wandered on, passed a stone shelter christened The Cabin, through the Rhododendron Grotto and on to another shelter, Angel's Wings, we crossed Gallantry Bower, as well as our first view of Black Church Rock this 400ft cliff gifted us with stunning views along the coast. The steep descent that followed lead to a path junction, a sign promising views from The Lookout, half a mile of woodland wandering followed before a summerhouse marked the approach to the said Lookout, the site of an old war time installation now only a set of steps remain, the views over a rather insignificant looking Black Church Rock were stunning. After soaking up the atmosphere a while we re-traced our steps to the path junction, a short descent followed before we stepped onto the stoney beach at Mouthmill Cove, we spent a little time exploring this secluded cove containing Black Church Rock before heading back.

Looking at the map back involved another sizeable chunk of woodland rambling, the decision was taken to re-trace our steps to a finger-post passed earlier to The Church, this path guided us through Winsley Wood in the company of a delightful stream before depositing us on a tarmac lane marked on the map as a bridleway, we followed this to a 13th century church, All Saints then on passed Clovelly Court and Gardens, a short walk down the main road followed allowing access to the car park, but best of all the café.

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About to step into the past, out of sight just around the corner, Clovelly.

Wonderful views along the edge Bideford Bay, stoney beaches where wooded cliffs melt into the Atlantic Ocean.

"Suddenly a hot gleam of sunlight fell upon the white cottages, with their grey steaming roofs and little scraps of garden courtyard, and lighting up the wings of gorgeous butterflies which fluttered down from the woodland to the garden", little has changed since Charles Kingsley wrote these words over a 150 years ago, apart from the influx of tourists this is a place where time really has stood still.

Wonderful views over Clovelly Harbour, the spit of land dominating the horizon is Baggy Point, see you there later.

Views over the massive arch of Bideford Bay.

Striding out through cow pastured, there's cows just out of shot to the left, my walking partners not hanging around a stile into the safety of the woods beckons.

The Cabin built in the 19th century, licensed for weddings, the views framed by gnarled oaks across Bideford Bay are breathtaking, or so the guide book tells us we couldn't get near for people.

Near Angel's Wings with views across Bideford Bay.

Angel's Wings, this is a lovely shelter the roof held aloft by four ornately-carved angels wings, built around 1826 by Sir James Hamlyn Williams, a place to sit and view Youlston across the bay, where his daughter lived.

Looking back from Gallantry Bower.

Our first view of Black Church Rock, that insignificant looking pyramid under the head land.

We can thank the Clovelly Estate for this view, until recently this wonderful heath was woodland, cleared by the estate to encourage wildlife, and an excellent job they have done.

Viewing The Wilderness, somewhere amidst the trees is a summerhouse to hunt out.

Seen from The Lookout Bideford Bay.

From the summerhouse views over Mouth Cove.

The summerhouse, built in 1820, restored in 1935 as a birthday gift, then again in 2008.

The track to Mouthmill Beach.

The lime kiln at Mouthmill Cove.

Viewing Windbury Point from Mouthmill Beach, there is some sand here but the tide's in.

The pyramidal like Black Church Rock.

Sunshine and shadows.

A play of light across Devonshire pastures.

A stream with no name and quaint packhorse bridge in Winsley Wood.

The 13th century chapel of All Saints.

Next to the church, Clovelly Court and Garden, open to the public.

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