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Brean Down

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Published August 7th 2019
Can you reach the peak
Brean Down is a promontory that sits between Burnham-on-Sea and Weston-super-Mare at 97 meters high and stretches out 1.5 miles (2.4km) into the Bristol channel.

Making a day trip here to this National Trust managed site we drove up from Exeter as its only 8 miles off the M5, with most of the drive being easy-going. As you get closer to the parking area, the road gets narrower, with several caravan parks located along the side of it. There isn't a lot of space for two vehicles to pass, so expect a lot of stop-start driving.

Unlike many National Trust managed sites, you don't have to be a member or even pay to visit this one, apart for parking.

We arrived from the Burnham-on-Sea side, where there is a National Trust car park which is free for members, including temporary members. Otherwise, it costs from 2(off-season) to 4.50 for all-day parking. If it is full, there is also a private pay and display car park beside it. The National Trust car park gate closes at around 5.30pm, but you can still get out after this time so no need to stop enjoying yourself and rush back.

The walk around the promontory is around 4.8km long and would take most people around an hour to complete or a bit longer if you stop at the fort to enjoy the view.

To access the top of the promontory, you can use two different routes. The short one takes you up some steep stairs while the other one winds its way up the side, both of which probably take around the same length of time to reach the top. The cliffs are quite steep, so you need to keep an eye on any children with you, especially if you are not on the walking paths as the cliff drop off quickly at some points.

Down at the old fort you can explore the ruined buildings that have a few information signs around giving you details about what each area was used for in the past.

There are free-roaming cattle and goats in the area with a cattle grid at the front of the fort to stop them getting into it. Though it didn't stop them on the day, we went so you may get a surprise when walking around inside the fort.

You'll find two cafes near the car parks with one that is run by National Trust and the other privately owned. At the time, we visited the prices were reasonably similar though we found the ice cream was cheaper at the National Trust one. They also have beach toys and other gifts in the shop and toilets. You may also find some vans selling ice cream on the beach.

The cafe and shop are open from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm in summer, and 10.00 am to 4.00 pm in winter. You can pick up a leaflet in the shop for more information about the area and the walks that you can do.

If you bring a picnic, there are plenty of places to sit and eat though none of the picnic areas we saw had cover from the rain.

Overall, it is a beautiful location to spend time relaxing and exploring the area.

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Why? Walk with a view
When: From dusk to dawn
Phone: 01278751874
Where: Brean, North Somerset, TA8 2RS
Cost: Free except for parking
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