Porlock Beach, Porlock, Exmoor National Park

Porlock Beach, Porlock, Exmoor National Park

Rock and pebble beach by beautiful Porlock Weir

Porlock Beach is a long rock and pebble beach in a stunning location by Porlock Weir at the western end of Porlock Shingle Ridge. The beach looks out across Porlock Bay. Bossington Beach is to the east. Heavily wooded cliffs runs west.

The Ship Inn is in a super location at the western end of Porlock Beach at Porlock Weir. There's a large-ish car park and public toilets.


Location of Porlock Beach

Porlock Bay is at the eastern end of the Exmoor coastline. An arc of rock and pebbles runs from Gore Point in the west to Hurlstone Point in the east. These rocks and pebbles back up to form Porlock Shingle Ridge. Porlock Beach is at the western end of the ridge by Porlock Weir.

We've positioned Porlock Beach on Google maps. Zoom in on the 'Satellite' setting to see its location.


Directions to, and parking at, Porlock Beach

Drive the A39 to Porlock and then follow the signs to West Porlock (1 mile)/Porlock Weir & Harbour (1 3/4 miles).

There's plenty of parking on your right as you enter Porlock Weir. The car park is clearly visible on Google's satellite imagery.


Porlock Beach

Porlock Beach is marked just east of Porlock Weir on Ordnance Survey mapping. When you are there, you'll find a big rock and pebble beach that sweeps from Gore Point/The Gore past Porlock Weir & Harbour to the eastern side of the hamlet. The beach extends along Porlock Shingle Ridge to the breach in the ridge. Bossington Beach is east of that breach (see below for more information on this). To access Bossington Beach from Porlock Beach, follow the South West Coast Path through Porlock Marsh.

Porlock Weir is a popular and very beautiful place so there are good facilities including The Ship Inn.


Porlock Beach and the Porlock Ridge and Saltmarsh SSSI/Site of Special Scientific Interest

Porlcok Beach is part of the Porlock Ridge and Saltmarsh SSSI/Site of Special Scientific Interest which lines Porlock Bay from Hurlstone Point in the east to Gore Point in the west (roughly 4.5km/3m in length) and covers the saltmarsh that sits behind Porlock Shingle Ridge.

The Natural England Porlock Ridge and Saltmarsh SSSI citation provides an excellent description of the area:

'This site comprises a shingle ridge and associated saltmarsh hinterland extending for a distance of approximately 4 kilometres along the west Somerset coast, immediately north of Porlock village. Porlock shingle ridge was formed, as sea level rose during the middle part of the Holocene epoch, from shingle eroded from head deposits which masked the sea cliffs to the west after the last glacial period. This major source of coarse sediment has long since disappeared, leaving only a relatively insignificant input of sediment from occasional cliff falls. The inputs of sediment to the beach ridge from this modern source are too small to sustain the earlier beach profile and the increase in the length of the ridge as it continues to rollback, in a lengthening curve, into Porlock Bay. This means that the ridge has been growing steadily thinner ever since it was formed, a condition exacerbated by the further reduction in shingle inputs caused by the construction of groynes at Gore Point at the western extremity of the ridge. The modern ridge was therefore unable to withstand recent extreme storm events and a breach opened during the storm of October 1996 which flooded the low lying marsh hinterland. Rapid evolution of the beach following the breach is providing a unique opportunity to study the development of a coarse sediment barrier system in an open coast location.' (Source: Natural England Porlock Ridge and Saltmarsh SSSI citation)


Important note on Porlock Beach and Porlock Shingle Ridge

Please note that the South West Coast Path/public footpath no longer runs across Porlock Shingle Ridge from Bossington Beach to Porlock Beach. According to the Exmoor National Park Authority, it is permanently closed. 'Porlock Shingle Ridge is impassable due to the breach. Do not attempt to cross, even at low water. Follow signs from Bossington to Porlock Weir.' (Source: Exmoor National Park Authority website)

When walking the area, you're directed through Porlock Marsh behind Porlock Shingle Ridge. It's well signposted and a beautiful walk.


Beaches near Porlock Beach

Beaches on the coastline east of Porlock Beach:

Bossington Beach

Minehead Beach

Dunster Beach

Blue Anchor Beach

Watchet West Street Beach

Helwell Bay Beach

Doniford Beach

St Audrie's Bay Beach

East Quantoxhead Beach

Kilve Beach

Lilstock Beach


Beaches on the coastline west of Porlock Beach:

Sillery Sands (Beach)

Lynmouth Eastern Beach

Lynmouth Western Beach

Wringcliff Bay Beach

Lee Abbey Bay Beach

Woody Bay Beach

Heddon's Mouth Beach

Wild Pear Beach

Combe Martin Beach

Combe Martin Newbury Beach

Broadsands Beach

Watermouth Cove (Beach)

Hele Beach

Ilfracombe Rapparee Cove (Beach)

Ilfracombe Wildersmouth Beach

Ilfracombe Tunnels Beaches

Lee Bay Beach

Sandy Cove (Beach)


North Devon Atlantic facing beaches:

Rockham Beach

Grunta Beach

Barricane Beach

Woolacombe Sand (Beach)

Putsborough Sand (Beach)

Croyde Sand (Beach)

Saunton Sands (Beach)

Northam Burrows Beach

Westward Ho! Beach

Instow Sands (Beach)


Things to do near Porlock Beach

South West Coast Path

Dunkery Beacon and Exmoor's high moor

Dunster Castle

The Dunster Douglas (the tallest tree in England)

West Somerset Railway

The Valley of Rocks

Lynton and Lynmouth Railway

Watersmeet (National Trust)


Villages and towns near Porlock Beach

Porlock Weir