Hurlstone Point

Hurlstone Point

Habitat: Coast and scrub

Car park: SS897480 Point: SS898492

This is the premier sea-watching site in Somerset. It cannot rival sites further to the south-west but nonetheless has an impressive list of seabirds to its name. Westerly or north-westerly winds are best.

From the car park cross the footbridge and turn left. Check here for Dippers which are regular early mornings but disappear once visitors arrive; it is a popular spot for walkers. Follow the path for c.1 mile uphill to the old Coastguard lookout. The dedicated sea-watchers descend to lower vantage points, but it is not recommended in winds above force 5; the lookout is a reasonable alternative.

Winter (November– January) sees Red-throated Divers and auks passing. Great Northern and Black-throated Divers are also recorded in small numbers. From May to August varying numbers of Manx Shearwaters (exceptionally up to 5000) occur, usually before 9am. Gannets and Fulmars are also regular, as are Razorbills and Guillemots, very occasionally joined by a Puffin. In recent years all four skua species have been recorded in late summer in small numbers, some of which come overland from the east. Common Scoter are seen all year, and other seaduck occasionally. Anything can occur though: exceptional rarities have included single Great and Little Shearwaters.

The bushes around the point are worth checking for migrants: Ring Ouzels and Firecrests are found most autumns. In spring Wheatears pass through, and a pair or two stay to breed east of the Coastguards; the path is narrow and not for those who dislike heights! A few Whitethroats breed and Dartford Warblers occasionally descend from their breeding grounds above.

  • Directions

    From A39 between Minehead and Porlock, turn right for Allerford and follow road through to Bossington and NT car park at end of village.

  • Accessibility

    Open access. A decent track goes from the car park up to the coast guards at Hurlstone. It is steep in places and not suitable for wheelchairs. One section gets very muddy in winter. Toilets at car park.

  • About the Site

    Like much of this area of Exmoor, it is part of the National Trust’s Holnicote Estate.

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