Branscombe – Street and the Coastal Path

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Enjoy the vista of sea, beaches, valleys and woods along this part of the ninety-five miles of Devon and Dorset's Jurassic Coast.

Branscombe is one of the most attractive places on the south coast of Devon. At Branscombe Mouth, eastwards the chalk Hooken Cliffs rise to over 400ft. In one night of March 1790, nearly ten acres of land dropped 200-260ft vertically and moved 200 yards seawards, breaking up into columns and pinnacles. Westwards the cliffs rise to over 500ft. On Berry Cliff, west of Branscombe, is a large earthwork of unknown age, apparently of rectangular plan and to the west are a number of barrows. Nestling in the heart of Branscombe, one of Britain's most picturesque villages, is the award-winning, 14th Century, Masons Arms Hotel, only a leisurely, ten-minute stroll from Branscombe Beach.

The parish church is dedicated to St Winifred, an obscure North Welsh saint who died c650. Such a rare dedication suggests that a church has existed here almost since that time. There is indeed, pre-Conquest work to be seen on the inner side of the lower part of the tower walls, though it is possibly not earlier than the 11th Century. The church, besides being one of the most atmospheric in Devon, is of the highest interest, for it exhibits a process of continuous development from the 11th Century to the 16th. Its architectural history is dealt with admirably in the local guide, one of the best of its kind. It is too complicated to be summarised in a few lines here, beyond saying that the massive central tower and part of the nave are Norman; the transepts and western half of the nave 13th Century; and the chancel early 14th. Small changes were made in the 15th and 16th Centuries. The woodwork of the church is highly interesting: an Elizabethan gallery, late 17th Century altar rails enclosing the altar on four sides and a three-decker pulpit. There are numerous memorials to the Wadhams, Holcombes and other local families, both inside the church and in the churchyard. One could spend a good week in and around Branscombe. W H Hudson and H J Massingham have both written lovingly about it.

England - South West England - Devon - Coast


Birds, Butterflies, Cafe, Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Gift Shop, Great Views, Hills or Fells, National Trust, Pub, Restaurant, Sea, Tea Shop, Toilets, Wildlife, Woodland
1/22/2009 - Roy Davenport

All checked and OK December 2008.

12/21/2008 - Roy Davenport

Checked all ok 17/12/08

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Distance away
26.1 Miles