Bude Canal Walk
Enjoy an easy stroll along the Bude Canal on this fine circular walk in Cornwall. As well as taking in the canal you'll visit the coast Widemouth Bay and enjoy some fine views over Bude Bay from the coastal path.
The walk starts from the information centre car park which is located next to the canal. From this end of the canal there are fine views of the beach and the sea. From the car park you can pick up the towpath and head south to Lynston Roddsbridge. The area around the canal is also part of the Bude Marshes Nature Reserve. Habitats in the reserve include reed bed, wet grassland, woodland and willow carr. You can look out for a variety of birds from the bird hide, while otters can also been seen around the canal and river.
At Helebridge you leave the canal and follow a public footpath west through the countryside. The path leads to Widemouth Bay where there is a lovely beach. It's also a good opportunity to rest your legs and get some refreshments at the lovely beachside bar. The area around the bay is steeped in the smuggling history of times before, and not far south of Widemouth Bay can be found many little inlets and coves.
At Widemouth you pick up the South West Coast Path and follow it north to Phillip's Point where there is a small nature reserve run by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust. You continue north to Upton and Efford Beacon where you'll find a trig point and fine views back down to Bude.
The final section runs past another fine viewpoint at Compass Point before crossing the canal and returning to the car park.
At the southern end of the canal you can take a small detour to visit Marhamchurch where there's a noteworthy 14th century church to see. The circular walk from the village uses the shared cycle path running through the River Neet valley.
PostcodeEX23 8LE - Please note: Postcode may be approximate for some rural locations
Bude Canal Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Bude Canal Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Bude Canal OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Bude Canal Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
There's lots of good options for refreshments along the canal. Near the start there's the delightful Barge Tea Rooms. Moored on Bude’s historic canal, The Barge provides a memorable dining experience, by offering customers a unique view of one of the most picturesque scenes in North Cornwall.
There's also The Brendon Arms right next to the canal. Bude's best known Inn, it has been owned and run by the Brendon family since 1872. It overlooks Bude's inner harbour and just 200 yards from the unique sea-lock and Summerleaze beach. There's also a lovely large beer garden where you can sit out on warmer days.
The Beach House Hotel at Widemouth is a gem of a place, with great food and an outdoor seating area on the beach. It was listed in the top 20 beachside bars & restaurants in the UK in The Times (2018). There's seafood & spices, chargrilled steaks & skewers, little dishes & sweet treats. You can find the bar right on the beach at postcode EX23 0AW.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
Head north along the coast path and you will soon come to Morwenstow. This lovely area is run by the National Trust and includes some fine cliff top trails. It's also historically significant with a thousand year old church, a 14th century farm and the noteworthy Hawker's Hut. This unusual structure sits in a photogenic spot and was built using driftwood by local vicar and poet Rev. Robert Stephen Hawker. Near here you can also visit the beautiful Hartland Quay.
If you follow the coast path south for a few miles you can pick up the circular Crackington Haven Walk. It's another popular local area for walking with fine cliff top views and a nice beach. There's good facilities too with a car park and a beach-side pub with sea views. The walk includes a visit to the historic Norman church at the little hamlet of St Gennys.
You can also pick up the Boscastle to Crackington Haven Walk here. This takes you south to Boscastle, passing High Cliff, the highest point on the Cornish coast on the way.
The Bude to Sandymouth Circular Walk starts from the Summerleaze Beach car park and takes you to Sandy Mouth where you'll find a lovely National Trust beach, waterfalls and a nice cafe for refreshments.