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Sand Bay & Sand Point

We all love the busy, bustling heart of a seaside resort like Weston-super-Mare where a stroll on the pier, a ride on the donkeys, and fish and chips are all part of the timeless experience. But what if you want to get away from it all that? What if you fancy an afternoon where the countryside meets the sea?

A short journey will get you from the heart of Weston to the opposite end of the resort from Uphill. When people talk about hidden gems then this is surely one of them. Some would maintain it is Weston's best kept secret. It is Sand Bay and Sand Point.

Sand Bay, next to the village of Kewstoke, is a low lying and genuinely unspoilt stretch of beach with a single road running parallel to it. To get there you will need to drive or get a bus from the town centre (Crossville 100). This open-top bus is the perfect way to make the most of the ride along the coast. But be warned the bus only goes about half way along Sand Bay.

It is amazing to think that following a huge storm in December 1981 which battered the coast Sand Bay was flooded up to a depth of six feet. After that a major flood protection scheme was launched. It took months and involved dredging thousands of tons of silt from the bed of Bristol Channel and creating a sloping beach at Sand Bay. The theory is that the energy of the waves drops as they encounter the gradient and the risk of flooding is reduced. Sand Bay is now thankfully a tranquil and better protected stretch of coast.

Enjoy the beach but then go to the furthest point the road can take you. Drive along Beach Road, follow it as it climbs away from the town and past the ruins of Birnbeck Pier, the town's oldest pier. The road then becomes Kewstoke Road and takes you on a glorious winding path beneath the overhanging canopy of Weston Wood. You will have trees to one side and glimpses of the coast to the other. There is a strict speed limit on this cliff edge road for very good reasons. As you emerge from the trees there is a sharp hairpin turn into Beach Road. It's a steep road down to sea level. Simply follow it and then drive for about two miles along Sand Bay. The road becomes very narrow but it is worth persevering. At the end is a National Trust car park which is free, from here you have two options.

One is to walk back out of the car park entrance and follow the signs for Sand Point. Steps cut into the hillside lead you to the top of the peninsula from where you take a gentle stroll to the rocky end of Sand Point. It takes about 20 minutes but the further you walk the quieter it gets and the closer you get to the natural world. It rarely gets very busy and there is usually an ice-cream van in the car park to celebrate the end of your walk.

Alternatively you can walk from the car park up the side of the facing hill. Again there is a path and steps (around 100 of them) that takes you onto the top of the hillside. From there you can wander across open land and down towards a series of pebble beached bays. This is an area called Middle Hope and you will be amazed that you can be so close to the town and yet be somewhere that is so tranquil and relaxing. Like Uphill hill it is a perfect spot for a picnic.

You can while away the hours, fly kites, lay reading, and no-one will disturb you. You may encounter a few cows or even sheep now and then but they are as placid as their surroundings.

On your way back you will notice a church standing proud in the valley below. This is Woodspring Priory, a former Augustine Priory that dates from 1210 and is now owned by the Landmark Trust. You can reach it by car along some narrow lanes.  It has been beautifully restored, and you can even stay there.

Tags: Sand Bay Weston-super-Mare, Sand Point Weston-super-Mare

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