The charming Speke's valley can be accessed only via the coast path or a choice of footpaths heading coastward from country lanes in the area. However, the walk down over rough terrain is well worth the effort. Here you will find one of the highest and best waterfalls found on the Hartland Peninsula, and abundant wildlife in thriving coastal heath and grassland ablaze with colour in the summer months. Steps lead down to the cove where sand was once collected for use on local farms.
Landscape and nature
The waterfall at Speke’s Mill is 15 metres high (50 feet) - the highest in Hartland. Speke's falls within the Tintagel to Clovelly Special Area of Conservation. The common land around Speke’s valley is also an SSSI.
The valley is extremely picturesque with remnant coastal heathland and some unusual structures near the coast. These are sand bins; used to contain sand and gravel brought up from the beach in panniers on the backs of donkeys. This material was then loaded up and used by local farmers and builders for fertiliser or in construction.
The origin of the name Speke’s is unknown but has been suggested to be connected with the African explorer of that name John Hanning Speke (1827-64) who lived at Buckland Brewer.
A favourite for walkers, Speke's is also a popular beach for experienced surfers in certain swell and wind conditions. Please note that this rocky beach is very remote. Any emergencies should be reported to the Coastguards by phoning 999.
The nearby Docton Mill tea rooms, Hartland Quay hotel and Hartland village provide the closest facilities and refreshment.
Please also be aware that there is limited parking in the area around Speke's, and lockable gates across the farm track leading down to Speke’s Mill. Please be particularly mindful and considerate of those who live here when visiting this location.
There is no lifeguard cover for any of the beaches in Hartland – but the Coastguards cover all sections and are an emergency service.