Burgh Island
Burgh Island

Distance : 1 miles Grading : + OS Sheet : OL20


The small island of Burgh Island is a tidal island located just off the coast of South Devon at Bigbury-on-Sea. The island has a footpath around most of it's coast offering fine views back to Bigbury-on-Sea and Challaborough. This is a short walk so can easily be combined with another walk on the coast path in the area. The island can be reached on foot at low tide and sea tractor at high tide.

Getting to the Start

Burgh Island can be reached on foot from Bigbury-on-Sea accross the sand bar at low tide. At high tide it is necessary to take a sea tractor. The sea tractor can cross the water at most states of the tide and costs £2.00 each way. Bigbury-on-Sea can be reached on the B3392 which is reached from the A379 Plymouth to Kingsbridge road. Note that much of the B3392 is single track with passing places. There are three car parks in Bigbury-on-Sea, the main beach car park (pay and display), a small free car park (room for about a dozen cars on the left as you reach the coast) and the economy car park at the top of the village which is in a field (pay on entry). There is no public transport to Bigbury-on-Sea other than a bus once a week which is unlikely to be of use. The nearest public transport is on the A379 at Aveton Gifford where bus 93 runs hourly Monday - Saturday between Plymouth, Kingsbridge and Dartmouth.


The Burgh Island Hotel is a luxury hotel situated on Burgh Island. The hotel is not cheap however, the cheapest room being £400 a night at the time of writing, and you also have to book for two nights if you stay on a Saturday night. A cheaper option is The Henley Hotel which is in Bigbury on Sea. The Royal Oak is a pub in Bigbury (around 1.5 miles north of Bigbury-on-Sea) which has 4 rooms for accommodation. The Summer Winds bed and breakfast is welcoming to walkers and has 3 rooms and be contacted by telephone on 01548 810669. Parkdean Holidays have a large caravan site at Challaborough Bay on the coast path, although you will typically have to book for at least 3 nights here. Finally Mount Folly Farm is a campsite on the coast path on the edge of Bigbury-on-Sea.

The Walk

From the slipway on Burgh Island head up the slipway past the Pilchard Inn on the right (sadly the main bar is reserved for “Hotel guests and the local regulars”). Ignore a path to the right and continue ahead with the car park to your right. At the north west tip of the island turn left on the path around a rocky inlet. Continue with the coast on your right to reach the south west corner of the island. Turn left with the main path here to reach the high point of the island where there are the remains of a chapel, now without roof. A lower path goes around the south of the island where a narrow spit leads out onto Little Island. This however is not a right of way and is dangerous because it is so narrow and exposed, so do not follow this. Instead continue to the south east corner of the island and turn left then follow the main path ahead with the wall of the hotel on your right passing the heliport on the right and then take the stairs back down to the main path where you turn right and follow the path back down to the slipway, the end of this short walk.

Getting Back

This is a circular walk, so there is no need for transport back to the start. However in the unlikely event that the tide has covered the causeway whilst you are on the island, the Sea Tractor can be used to return to Bigbury-on-Sea.

Photo Tour

Here are some photos taken on the walk. Click each photo for a larger version.

Approaching Burgh Island The sea tractor
Burgh Island slipway View from Burgh Island to Challaborough
Rocky inlet on Burgh Island View back to Bigbury-on-Sea
The ruined chapel on Burgh Island Path out onto Little Island
View back to Burgh Island


You don't really need a map for this walk but Ordnance Survey Explorer OL20 (South Devon) covers Burgh Island. It is available from book shops locally as well as nationwide and from online retailers.


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