North Devon Coast

National Landscape

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Westward Ho! cliffs

The cliffs to the south west of Westward Ho! beach have a number of interesting features.  The shoreline from Mermaid’s Pool westwards to Rowden Gut (near Portledge) is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). 

These exposures form the only complete sequence available through the Bideford Formation ‘Coal Measure’ type deposits that were formed in a river or lake environment. The sequence of alternating mudstones, siltstones and sandstones are well exposed on the wave cut platform that forms the foreshore. The rocks are structurally complex, with a series of folds and also two sets of faults.

At the coastline below Kipling Tors you will also see other clues of past geological processes in the form of a raised beach sitting on top of the wave cut platform. This was created by seas several metres higher than the current sea level.

Take care with tides. The foreshore is predominantly rocky with a cobble beach – good supportive footwear is advisable

Mermaid’s Pool to Rowden Gut SSSI 
North Devon AONB RIGS Report – South

Aerial image courtesy of Peter Keene