East Devon self guided walking holiday, England
Description from the holiday company
A weekend of wonderful walking as you stride out along an outstanding coastal path. Our routes are along the World Heritage Jurassic Coast running either side of the lovely village of Branscombe. From your thatched inn footpaths lead out in all directions into glorious countryside. The paths we follow are the best, the most scenic.
• expertly-crafted self-guided walks on East Devon's coastal path, one of England’s most glorious areas of stunning coastal scenery, personally researched by us
• peace of mind knowing that routes have been thoroughly researched by us and tested so you can be sure you will not get lost! We include a marked-up Ordnance Survey map in your pack with a waterproof map case
• the freedom to walk at your own pace, linger as long as you like over lunch, visit places of interest on the way, fully detailed in our meticulous, notes
• a delightful thatched inn, 'Alastair Sawday' recommended. Here enjoy comfortable en-suite accommodation of character and prize-winning cuisine
• short background commentaries highlighting features of special interest, natural and man-made, providing insight into the area’s history, culture and habitats
• an enhanced sense of well-being that a few revitalising days of peace, fresh air, exercise, scenic beauty and close contact with nature gives you, leaving you refreshed, relaxed and restored
What to Expect
Grading of Walks:
The routes do not exceed 8 miles and are suitable for anyone of average fitness, able to walk on varied undulating terrain for up to 5 hours. The routes on both days are undulating.
The 14th Century Mason’s Arms lies in the heart of idyllic Devon countryside in the beautiful downland village of Branscombe. The whole area is steeped in history and Branscombe itself is folded into a combe that reaches back into the mists of time. The inn is described by Alastair Sawday as being ". . . at one time a cider house. It has a stone terrace at the front from which to gaze upon lush green hills. Inside, interiors are simple and authentic: timber frames, low beamed ceilings, pine cladding, whitewashed walls. The best rooms overlook a garden, each with private terrace for valley views that tumble down to the sea.” The cuisine will undoubtedly delight even the most discerning palate and has won many accolades.
By rail: Branscombe is 7 miles from Honiton. Trains depart from London Waterloo (direct) or from London Paddington (changing at Exeter St David's) three times hourly. The journey time is 3 hours.
By road: Branscombe is located between Sidmouth and Seaton on the A3052. Take any of the roads signposted to Branscombe from the A3052 between Sidmouth and Colyford. The Masons Arms can be found after travelling two miles through the village towards the sea.
|Day 1:||Settle into your lovely thatched inn before you enjoy a delicious meal in the restaurant's acclaimed restaurant.|
|Day 2:||Today you'll walk between two idyllic villages, Branscombe and Beer. Branscombe nestles in a beautiful combe, its narrow lanes lined with pretty thatched cottages. The cluster of National Trust properties includes an ancient forge and a bakery - perfect for a Devonshire cream tea at the end of the walk! A splendidly scenic coastal path leads to Branscombe Mouth, once the haunt of smugglers, now a popular spot with boats and cafes. An undulating path winds through a spectacular tumbled chasm of undercliff, a renowned wildlife habitat. Then up to Beer Head with fantastic views across open seas towards Portland Bill in one direction and Torbay in the other. And, with luck, you may see peregrine falcons high up amongst the rock stacks. Lunch is in the utterly delightful village of Beer with its pebble beach, boats and stone fishermen’s cottages. More spectacular coastal scenes await you as you make your way back to the comforts of your idyllic retreat at Branscombe. On the way you are likely to see a variety of East Devon’s wonderful flora. (7 miles, 11 km)|
|Day 3:||More spectacular walking, today in the opposite direction towards Sidmouth. This section of coastal path from Branscombe to Weston Mouth is gorgeous, arguably the best in all East Devon. You may be lucky enough to see dolphins down below, dancing in the surf, as you walk along the coast, fantastic views towards Torbay ahead. If you visit in May you will be in for a special treat: clouds of rare butterflies in wonderful wild flower meadows. Lunch is at Weston’s famous Donkey Sanctuary where there you'll enjoy meeting the residents. Each one enjoys a life of loving care and attention in this special place which also promotes the welfare of donkeys worldwide. Back in Branscombe, you curve down between two steep hills, delightful cottages adorned with hanging baskets lining your route. What better way to conclude than with a Devonshire cream tea at the wonderful Old Bakery! (7 miles, 11 km)|
East Devon self guided walking holiday, England: the story of this holiday company
We have always loved walking, researching new destinations, travelling and meeting people. In 1995, after careers in education, we founded our company, organising and leading day walks in Surrey. Within a year our clients were requesting weekends away and in 1999 we organised our first group walking holiday to Andalucia. For 20 years we have shared our passion for walking and knowledge of the countryside with thousands of people. We are proud that our enthusiasm has inspired so many to enjoy walking and to respect the countryside and many who walked with us in 1995 still walk with us today.
Responsible tourism: East Devon self guided walking holiday, England
Walking is the least carbon intensive way to travel, keeping the environmental impact of our walking groups to a minimum. Where it is necessary to travel by means other than on foot, we encourage the use of public transport; if that is unavailable, we share taxis or minibuses. On this walking weekend, we walk directly from the Masons Arms each day so group transport is not required. We aim to balance the environmental impact of travelling with the benefits sustainable tourism brings to local rural economies such as Branscombe’s. The Masons Arms shares our environmental values and the staff are mostly drawn from the local community.
In our small home office we recycle paper, cardboard, ink cartridges and printed material to reduce the waste in landfill sites. We purchase recycled printer cartridges, paper, envelopes, labels, pens, toilet tissue, bin liners. We turn off printers, photocopiers, computers, battery chargers and transformers at the end of each day and avoid ‘screen savers’, use energy-efficient bulbs and low-energy appliances. We cut CO2 emissions by maintaining heating thermostats at the lowest comfortable setting. We do not use tumble dryers nor take disposable plastic bottles to the countryside, instead promoting the use of water bottles manufactured by companies like Sigg.
We do not print brochures, keeping customers informed electronically via email, electronic newsletters and our website. We encourage clients to remit their payments electronically via PayPal or by bank transfer.
We include on our walks visits to local projects, craftsmen and artisans wherever possible; for example, on our visits to Branscombe we visit the local forge and the old mill to provide our clients not only with an understanding of traditional crafts and skills but also with an opportunity to buy souvenirs typical of the region.
On walking holidays we use only small privately-run hotels and inns. On our East Devon Coast weekend, as well as patronising the local inns in Branscombe and Beer, we also take our clients for coffee at Branscombe Mouth, another opportunity for purchasing souvenirs. They also visit the Old Bakery in Branscombe for cream teas and other establishments in Beer. They learn about local produce and sample the cheeses and ales produced at Branscombe Vale Brewery. We patronise local taxi companies to transport our clients from the nearest railway station when buses are unavailable.
Visiting the Weston Donkey Sanctuary makes clients aware of the valuable work done there. Lunching at the Sanctuary provides clients with an opportunity to buy souvenirs or they may elect to 'adopt a donkey'. On all our tours, we contribute in many ways to local rural businesses and over the years have formed excellent relationships with local business owners, bringing them repeat business. It is our aim to continue to do so.