Nestled at the northern tip of Cornwall is Bude. The seaside resort is famous for its beaches, and in 2017 scored the silver award in the British Travel Awards for Best UK Seaside Town. But there’s much more to Bude than beautiful beaches. The town is also a great base for walking and hiking. The South West Coast Path offers scenic walks in both directions. There’s also a lovely canal and nature reserve walk. Here we run through some of our favourite Bude coastal walks.
The busiest beach in Bude is Summerleaze Beach. It’s popular with swimmers, surfers and sunbathers and is a great spot for a potter in the shallows.
Bude sea pool
At one end of the beach is Bude sea pool. The pool is well worth a look, even if you’re not planning a dip. If you’re in the mood for a swim, however, you’ll find it noticeably warmer than the sea!
At high tide, it’s a rather different view!
Crooklets Beach and the South West Coast Path
Beyond Bude sea pool is Crooklets Beach. At the northern end the beach opens up into a sandy bay, but the southern end is characterised by long strips of rock, perfect for rockpooling, Although less practical for sunbathing and beach days we really like walking along the southern stretch of the beach, which is a little more rugged and picturesque.
Above the beach, the South West Coast Path offers a scenic route out of town with great views. The walk to Northcott Mouth via Maer beach is a particularly lovely stretch of the coast path.
Unusually, Bude’s canal comes right out to the sea, with enormous lock gates at the harbour entrance. Inland from this, there’s a charming stretch of canal with shops and cafes before you reach a bridge. At the bridge are two popular drinking spots; the Brendon Arms and Falcon Hotel. Beyond this point, the canal tow-path leaves the town behind and starts to feel more like the Cornish countryside. A steady stream of kayakers and canoeists were splashing about on the water when we were there last and it was a lovely easy stroll along the tow-path.
Bude nature reserve and River Neet
Running alongside the canal is the River Neet, which also makes its way down to the sea at Summerleaze Beach. It’s a tranquil place with wetlands on either side of the water. On our last visit, we spotted lots of ducklings and baby moorhens. There are bird hides for anyone wanting to make a longer vigil. The nature reserve is easily paired with the canal towpath for a circular walk out from the town.
As you head back towards the seafront from the nature reserve you’ll find Bude Castle. This impressive building is now a heritage centre with local displays.
Barrel Rock, the Storm Tower & Efford Beacon
Jutting out to sea on the southern edge of Summerleaze Beach is Barrel Rock. The breakwater is a good spot for looking back towards Bude and also south along the coast. It’s from here that you also pick up the South West Coast Path again, this time heading south. An octagonal tower (the Storm Tower) stands at the start of the route. For a short walk we stop at Efford Beacon, but for a longer stretch you can carry on to Widemouth Bay, three miles down the coast from Bude.
Bude coastal walks
We love walking around Bude. All the paths are easy to follow and well signed and make a great addition to any beach trip.
For more information about Bude coastal walks visit the official South West Coast Path website.
Bude also has its own tourist information office.