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Sample route guide: Bude to Crackington Haven
BUDE TO CRACKINGTON HAVEN, MAPS 1-5
The first 10 miles (16km, 4-5hrs) start benignly enough following a grassy cliff-top for about a mile before unexpectedly meeting a road with a small cluster of houses, Upton.
The next port of call is Widemouth Bay (say ‘Widmouth’) the first of many beaches popular with surfers and sun-seekers alike and adequately supplied with cafés and places to stay.
Once past these early distractions the hard work begins with a punishing ascent onto Penhalt Cliff, the first of several more ups and downs (Millook, Chipman Point and Castle Point) on the trek to Crackington Haven.
Despite these testing beginnings there is still time to appreciate the beautiful green cliffs that slope down to the waves below and, once you reach Crackington, you'll be rewarded with a lovely village tucked around a sheltered cove and a sense of satisfaction at completing what for most people will have been a strenuous first day's walk.
UPTON [MAP 1]
Upton is a satellite village of Bude so it is not surprising to find several places to stay and thus is worth considering, especially if everywhere in Bude is fully booked. There are two excellent camping options: Upper Lynstone Camping (see p84) and Cerenety Eco Campsite (see p84).
Advertised on a sign beside the road Upton Cross Guest House (tel 01288- 355310, www.uptoncrossbedandbreakfast.co.uk; 3D or T; WI-FI; £35pp, £35-40 sgl occ) is a lovely B&B. The owner will run guests into Bude for an evening meal and is used to walkers.
Up on a hill a quarter of a mile further on but reached from the cliff path is Elements (tel 01288-352386, www.elements-life.co.uk; 1S/8D/2F; WI-FI; £40- 60pp), a boutique hotel with well-equipped rooms and restaurant, which makes a great place to stop for lunch or a coffee. They have a small sauna and gym, and the restaurant-cafeÌ (daily 10am-9.30pm) is very good.
WIDEMOUTH BAY [MAP 2 & MAP 3]
The village, which gets very busy in the summer, is strung out rather randomly along the main road behind the long beach but it has a general store (9am-5.30pm daily, shuts at 1pm on a Wed) selling all the essentials including alcohol.
There are two (seasonal) cafés if you need refreshment. Café Widemouth (9am-7pm, winter 10am-4pm) has a more extensive menu, more seating and better sea views. Black Rock Café is smaller, but serves similar fare.
Another option, and a good one if you’ re camping at Widemouth Bay Caravan Park, is Widemouth Manor (Map 3; tel01288-361207, www.widemouthmanor.co.uk; noon-2pm & 6-9pm). It has a good quality pub menu (mains £9-15), and the views from the back garden are lovely. They have smart rooms here too, but they always seem to be fully booked.
Campers have two options. The first requires a steep climb from the trail to the pleasant Penhalt Farm Holiday Park (Map 3; tel 01288-361210, www.penhaltfarm.co.uk; WI-FI) where pitches for a two- man tent cost £10-16 depending on the season. They have a small shop for essential foodstuffs and accept Visa, MasterCard and Switch. The second option, Widemouth Bay Caravan Park (Map 3; tel 01288-361208, www.johnfowlerholidays.com; tent pitch £10; WI-FI), is less of a hike from Widemouth Bay, but is a less endearing, oversized campsite, run by John Fowler Holiday Parks. The facilities are excellent – they even have an indoor swimming pool – but the atmosphere is more Butlins than South West Coast Path. Great if you have kids to entertain. Not so great if you don’t.
Set back from the beach is The Bay View Inn (tel 01288-361273, www.bayviewinn.co.uk; 1S/3D/2F; WI-FI; 65pp). The pub is the heartbeat of the surf- ing community but is happy to welcome walkers. The bar is modern and opens to an extensive area of decking, a good place to sit out and enjoy a pint. Food is served Mon-Fri noon-2.30pm & 5.30-9pm, Sat noon-9pm, Sun noon-8pm.
Next to the general store is the Beach House (tel 01288-361256, www.beachhousewidemouth.co.uk; 1S/6D/1T/2F; from £33pp; WI-FI), which has new owners and was undergoing an impressive-looking revamp at the time of research. Rooms are small, but most come with sea views. There’s a good restaurant, a more informal cafeÌ and a bar, plus picnic tables scattered around the back garden, which leads down to the beach.
Bus service No 595 stops here [See also pp56-7].
CRACKINGTON HAVEN [MAP 5]
Crackington Haven lies at the head of the cove of the same name and can get busy in summer thanks to its lovely beach, which is ideal for families. Overlooking the beach, the friendly pub, Coombe Barton Inn (tel 01840-230345; www.thecoombebarton.co.uk; 4D/1F some en suite; from £35pp, from £45 sgl occ; wi-fi) is the focal point for the village. One en-suite room has a balcony. The restaurant (food served daily noon-2.30pm & 6.30-9.30pm) has an excellent pub-grub menu, including a mouthwatering lamb shank shepherd's pie. There's no ATM in the village, but you can get cash back from the pub.
For B&B try Lower Tresmorn Farm (tel 01840-230667, www.lowertresmorn.co.uk; 4D/2F; wi-fi; £34-55pp, sgl occ £50-78), a lovely old building up on the cliffs before you reach the Haven, only five minutes from the coast path. One room has a four-poster bed and views to Lundy Island. Closer to the village is Trewartha B&B (tel 01840 230420, email@example.com; 2D/1T; £30pp, sgl occ £35; wi-fi), which has a double room in the main house, plus a self-contained two-room chalet at the bottom of the owner's peacock-filled garden. It's a bit of a hike uphill from the coast path, but they'll pick you up if you have a room booked.
Campers will need to walk a further half a mile beyond Trewartha B&B to get to Coxford Meadow Campsite (tel 01840 230707, www.north-cornwall-accommodation.com/coxford_meadow/coxford_meadow.htm; £6-7 per person); turn left when you get to Tremayna Methodist Church and the entrance to the campsite will be on your right. It's a small, family-run campsite with lovely countryside views, but no dogs allowed. Not you could take a short cut through St Gennys to get here.
There are two cafés competing to supply your need for a cup of tea and a scone: Haven Café (daily 9.30am-5.15pm in summer) and Cabin Café (summer 8am-8pm, winter 11am-4pm) stare uneasily at each other across the car park. The latter is a colourful and sunny place with surfboards hanging off the walls and pasties made on the premises. Both will make takeaway sandwiches for walkers.
By the bus stop, there’s both a public toilet and an excellent interpretative panel with information on the history and geology of the area which you can read whilst waiting for the bus. The service is Western Greyhound’s 595 Bude– Boscastle route. [See also pp56-7].
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- Sample route guide: Bude to Crackington Haven
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