Let’s head on a delightful journey to Berry Head, shall we? If you’ve never heard of it, allow me to shed some light. Berry Head, a grand limestone headland, juts out from the coastline of the splendid English Riviera. Nestled in Brixham, a petite but enchanting town in the heart of South Devon, it boasts unspoiled nature and is a firm favourite with both locals and tourists alike.
Getting to Berry Head is a piece of cake. If you’re travelling by car, take the A3022 from Torquay towards Brixham. Once you’re in town, follow the signs for Berry Head. There’s ample parking near the Berry Head Hotel. Alternatively, if you fancy a leisurely jaunt, the local No. 17 bus service from Torquay will deliver you to the entrance of Berry Head Nature Reserve, a five-minute stroll from the headland.
As you approach, you’ll be captivated by the imposing sight of the Berry Head Fort. Built during the Napoleonic wars, the forts are a significant reminder of Britain’s historic coastal defences. Meander through the Northern and Southern forts, soaking in the heritage and stunning panoramas. Just remember to tread lightly – the forts are Scheduled Ancient Monuments.
A stone’s throw from the forts, you’ll spot the Berry Head Lighthouse. Despite being the shortest lighthouse in Great Britain, standing at a humble 5 metres, it stands at one of the highest points, and its light can be seen far out to sea.
However, Berry Head isn’t just about the history. It’s an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a haven for wildlife. It’s home to the UK’s largest colony of guillemots, and the area around the headland is a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the rare plants that thrive in its limestone soils. The gentle hum of the bees from Berry Head’s thriving apiary might just accompany you as you roam.
Walking enthusiasts will find much to love here. There are several picturesque trails winding through the headland. One of the most popular is the South West Coast Path, stretching around 2.5 miles from Shoalstone Beach to the headland, boasting breath-taking views of Tor Bay and the rugged coastline. The path is well-signposted and suited to all fitness levels.
For those seeking a leisurely stroll, there’s a delightful circuit around Berry Head itself. This easy, mostly flat walk is about a mile in length and takes in all the main sights, including the forts, the lighthouse, and the Quarry, where limestone was once excavated and used in the construction of local houses.
When hunger strikes after a day’s exploring, pop into The Guardhouse Cafe, housed in a historic building once used by the Berry Head Coastguard. With its locally-sourced food and panoramic views of the coast, it’s a charming spot to rest and refuel.
Berry Head, then, is a slice of coastal paradise steeped in history and natural splendour. From fort to flora, and lighthouse to limestone, it’s a treasure trove of experiences. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover or simply someone seeking tranquillity, Berry Head ticks all the boxes. It truly is one of the gems of the English Riviera, waiting to welcome you into its warm embrace.