This is a great walk but you need a reasonable level of fitness, some good footwear and a fondness for hills. You will be rewarded with some fabulous scenery.
The route I have suggested is around five miles in total. If you add in walking down to Hopes Nose that’s almost an extra mile. You may want to take a picnic and make a day of it. I have suggested places where you can peel off and head back for home if you want a shorter walk.
If you are lucky you may see a Peregrine Falcon or seal. Take a towel if you want to swim and and have a refreshing dip at Anstey’s Cove or Meadfoot Beach.
Walk to Meadfoot Beach
- So let’s get started. Come out of Vane Tower’s gates and turn right walking up to the top of Vane Hill Road. Then follow the footpath through St John’s Wood. Don’t take the left fork in the woods but keep straight on until you come to some little steps. These take you onto Parkhill Road.
- Cross Parkhill Road and carry straight on down Daddyhole Road (watching out for traffic). Keep going straight along Daddyhole Road (don’t go left towards The Little Theatre). You will shortly come to a little road on the right which leads up to Daddyhole Plain. But keep straight on until you get to The Headland Hotel on your left. Here the road will stop and become a footpath. Follow the footpath down the hill. You are now on the South West Coast Path. You will come to a little road. Ahead of you to the right is a stone arch in the brick wall. Turn right through the arch and take the steps down to the sea front.
This is the view you will see through the pines towards Meadfoot Beach:
- At the bottom of the steps you will see a path leading down to the sea via Meadfoot Beach café. https://goo.gl/maps/6kJ6M14woW4fxJHr5 Don’t be fooled by its rather utilitarian exterior. You can get great, reasonably priced breakfasts and lunches here with a view of the sea. You may want to explore Meadfoot Beach if the tide is out. Otherwise continue along Meadfoot Sea Road keeping the sea on your right.
- At the far end of the beach you will arrive at Kilmorie Car Park. Walk straight across the car park. Follow the little track and steps heading up the hill with the South West Coast path marker.
- Turn right at the top of the steps onto Ilsham Marine Drive and walk up the hill. Once you are out of the trees, look out for a footpath off to the right next to a lamppost. The path has a marker with the South West Coast path’s yellow arrow.
- Take the path and walk down to Thatcher Point https://goo.gl/maps/uad3zQN4kBHSS1X48
- This path leads to a little headland with wonderful views of the coast and Thatcher’s Rock.
- Back on the path keep the sea on your right and don’t go too near the edge. There is a public park to your left. After climbing some steps, you will re-join Ilsham Marine Drive. By now you are about 1.5 miles from Vane Tower so if you have had enough retrace your steps. You can walk back along Ilsham Marine Drive.
Want to carry on?
- Continue up the hill and at the junction of Thatcher Avenue you will see a stile on your right hand side.
Hopes Nose detour
Detour for confident walkers only: There is a circular walk which leads down a steep path to Hopes Nose: https://goo.gl/maps/2GwnLqYVpqwwbtzh7 Taking this path could add as much as a mile to your walk. You will find some amazing geological rock formations, wild birds, possibly seals and a lot of grumpy fishermen.
- If you want to save Hope’s Nose for another day continue up the hill. On your left you will see some steps with a wooden SW Coast Path marker. This path is at a higher level and avoids having to walk along the road. Continue on the road or path. You will start to go downhill and reach the junction of Bishops Close cul de sac on your left.
- Directly opposite, on the right side of the road, is a tarmac path. It looks like a private drive but is marked Public Footpath to Bishops Walk and Anstey’s Cove. Take this pretty little path and follow it all the way round to Anstey’s Cove car park – about 0.6 miles. Keep left, to the upper path, as the deviations to the right mean a steep climb back up the hill.
- You will come out onto Anstey’s Cove Road. Just a few steps on the right you will see a steep path leading down to the sea. Take it if you want to explore Anstey’s Cove https://goo.gl/maps/joHw2jUapSKatwmo7
Between Easter and October you will find a nice little café. During the Summer you can hire sun loungers, paddleboards and canoes.
- Now it’s time to head back. Cross over the road from Anstey’s Cove and walk straight through the car park. Follow the tracks across the grassy field. This leads to Stoodley Meadow Community café and a children’s play area. Opposite you, on the other side of Ilsham Road, you will find Kents Cavern Prehistoric Caves. Check their website for tour times if you are interested: https://www.kents-cavern.co.uk/
- Cross over Ilsham Road and walk downhill to the left. A section of road has no pavement so look out for cars. At the bottom of the hill on the right is a little footpath leading onto Meadfoot Green.
Walk by the sea or through the woods
- Now you can either: walk right down to the bottom of Meadfoot Green – a big swathe of grass which ends in a tarmac path until you reach Meadfoot Sea Road where you can retrace your steps back to the house…
- Or: walk down to the bottom of Meadfoot Green but instead of heading for the sea via the little path, take the track up the hill to the right. This path heads into the woods via a broken stile. Keep left going up the hill. There will be various tracks heading off the right up the hill but keep the sea on your left. There are lovely views of Meadfoot Beach through the gaps in the evergreen oaks.
- Keep following this path straight on.You will walk almost the full length of the beach and eventually come to a clearing with a hairpin bend down to the road. Take this track down the hill to the left. Wind back onto Meadfoot Sea Road where you will emerge near the café. From there you can retrace your steps back to Vane Tower Penthouse via Daddyhole Plain.