East Devon Walks: Fire Beacon Hill
- Credit: Archant
With plenty of festive food on offer, you may want to go out for a walk.
Why not take a stroll around Fire Beacon Hill for spectacular bird’s eye views of the East Devon countryside and the Jurassic coast.
On a clear day, it is possible to see along the length of Lyme Bay from Berry Head towards Portland. Historically, this site was one of the beacons used to inform Elizabethan London of the approaching Spanish Armada.
At that time, lowland heath would have covered the whole of East Hill but, due to pressures from forestry and agricultural, just this small patch remains.
The site is a good example of a partnership working, being owned by Sidmouth Town Council, which leases the site management responsibilities to the RSPB Aylesbeare team. East Devon District Council Countryside team assist with the management work and run events on site.
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The circular walking route takes you through a beautiful mixture of woodland and heathland. Turn off the A3052 opposite Waitrose just outside Sidmouth and follow the lane uphill to the Woodland Trust Core Hill car park. Continue on foot up the track to the top, continue along a flat section until you reach a triangle junction.
Here, turn sharply left back on yourself. Continue down the avenue of trees, passing through a metal gate and out on to the heathland. Take the right hand fork down the boundary between heathland and woodland until you reach a bench with spectacular views overlooking Sidmouth. Keep to the right hand path as you descend further downhill and back into the woodland and past an interpretation board with more information about the nature reserve.
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Follow the public footpath marked by a yellow arrow round to the left, passing many picturesque picnic spots. Continue on the route round the bottom edge of Fire Beacon Hill, turning left at the final triangle junction, over a small wooden bridge and stile. Cross the field and turn immediately left back into the car park.