Branscombe Cliff and Under Hooken.

Start. Beer (Common Hill car park).

Route. Beer (Common Hill car park) - South Down Common - Hooker Cliffs - East Cliff - Branscombe - South West Coastal Path - Sea Shanty Holiday Park - Hooken Beach - Under Hooken - Beer Head - Arratt's Hill - Beer Head Caravan Park - Beer (Common Hill car park).

Notes. This walk was dramatic, an airy stroll as the coastal path dramatically cavorts through green pastures over undulating cliff tops, above the 400ft white chalk and limestone Hooken Cliffs, in contrast our return was through Hooken Under Cliff (Under Hooken). In 1790 a section of cliff slipped seaward dropping over 250ft forming a ten acre jumble of exposed gullies and pinnacles, this is Hooken Under Cliff, over the years vegetation has took hold, the walk back was other worldly, almost like walking through a rain forest.

We left the car on Common Hill car park, the lane we drove in on guided us up hill to a couple of cattle grids and a road junction, we swung left crossed the second of the cattle grids then continued following a rough track. When a tower swathed in scaffolding tilted into view we left the track, a green trod guided us towards the cliff tops. The tower and some foundations scattered around the field are the stark remains of a Chain Home Low RAF radar station dating back to the war years, designed to detect low flying aircraft.

We continued walking to the cliff tops to be met by a howling gale ripping in off the sea, in contrast a friendly finger-post inviting us to Branscombe, with the wind trying it’s damnedest to blow us over and the sound of waves crashing on shingle far below our feet we battled our way over Hooken Cliffs to East Cliff. From East Cliff the path dropped to access a gate and a flight of steep wooden steps, this giant stairway deposited us on the lane leading into Sea Shanty Holiday Park.

With way marks to guide us we wandered through the park exiting into Hooken Under Cliff, this is quite an amazing place. The dramatic landscape was left after a giant landslip, thick vegetation has spread through under spectacular white cliffs and pinnacles, you feel tiny and insignificant picking your way through this very special place. At one point a short diversion drops to the shingle beach, we dropped with it to pay homage to the breathtaking landscape we were traversing.

Once back on the main trod it guided us behind the Pinnacles depositing us at the foot of a steep stairway, the leg burning climb that followed presented us with a small problem, the wind was cutting through Under Hooken behind the pinnacles trying its hardest to rip us from the cliff face. We kept low taking great care not to loose our footing, out of breath with adrenalin still pumping we continued above cliffs to Beer Head. Almost back the path cut through green fields above Pound’s Pool Beach and along the edge of Arratt’s Hill, the path actually avoids Beer Head Caravan Park, just being nosey we wandered through to access Common Hill and the car park.

view route map.


From the Common Hill car park murky views over Seaton Bay.

A parting of the ways.

Looking down from Hooken Cliffs, the Pinnacles and Sylvan Under Hooken.

A birds eye view to the sea front at Branscombe Mouth.

Melting into the mist and drizzle, seen over Branscombe Mouth wooded West Cliff and Berry Cliff.

The long stairway descending to Branscombe or if you're heading up East Cliff.

The scattered hamlet of Branscombe melts into the misty day.

Sue strides out through the extraordinary landscape of Hooken Under Cliff.

A gap in the undergrowth gifts us with views to Hooken Beach and the Pinnacles.

Twisted roots fighting for a hold in this other worldly landscape.

Viewing Hooken Cliffs rising above the vegetation of Hooken Under Cliff.

Sue strides out towards the Pinnacle looking to find a faint path that....

....descends to the beach, the view west to Branscombe Mouth from Hooken Beach.

Seen through heavy drizzle and salt spray, West Cliff backed by Berry Cliff.

Seen from the beach sylvan Hooken Under Cliff backed by striking Hooken Cliff.

A incredible cliffs of the Jurassic Coast.

Waves braking on shingle, the noise here is deafening, the view a hazy West Cliff .

Fossil rich Hooken Cliff, each layer is a step back in time from 86 million years age to 103 million years ago.

Hooken Cliff with Hooken Cave clearly visible, possibly one of many caves in the Beer area once used by smugglers.

Stunning views looking back over the landscape of Hooken Under Cliff.

Above Beer Head enjoying hazy views over Seaton Bay.

Above the cliffs guarding Pound's Pool Beach viewing the cliffs to the east of Beer.

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