THIS easy walk has fantastic open coastal views and the only section of sand dunes in Somerset, as well as shaded woodland paths, the wreck of the Nornen and church cream teas in the summer.

Berrow beach sits in the middle of seven miles of sandy beach between Brean Down and Burnham-on-Sea and is backed by dunes.

Because of its remote beauty, it has become a favourite for film and television companies, most recently in the Channel 4 drama Truelove.

The walk begins at the Berrow Dunes Local Nature Reserve, which has been protected since 1993. Dunes like these contain a wide variety of coastal habitats that support a diverse range of flora and fauna but are becoming rarer in the UK.

The nature reserve is explored in the Berrow Dunes Storywalk ( and it can be used to navigate your way in and out of the Dunes while discovering more about the nature, history and conservation of this unique area.

1. From the Conservation Area car park, take the path to your right as you face the dunes. Follow the hard path until you reach a turning on your left. Take this path until you reach an open grass area. Turn right onto the wide grass pathway and follow it to the end and take the left fork up the hill. Coming down the other side you’ll see another open grassy area. Turn left and walk across this area to the white topped post ahead of you. Stay on this track until you reach two more white topped posts, where you turn right and follow the track to the beach.

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News: SS Nornen Shipwreck, Berrow, reflecting in pools of water on a sunny day SS Nornen Shipwreck, Berrow, reflecting in pools of water on a sunny day (Image: Margaret Clavell/Getty)

2. When you reach the beach turn left and you’ll see the wreck of the Nornen, a Norwegian barque, ahead of you to the right. The Nornen was spotted in distress in the early hours of 3rd March in 1897. The lifeboat from Burnham was dispatched at first light and pulled alongside just as she was being driven onto the mudflats later that morning. All ten crew members and the ship’s dog were successfully rescued but attempts to refloat her failed and she was sold for scrap. If the tides allow it is possible to walk out to the wreck BUT only go if the tide is past the wreck and going out and ensure that you stay on hard sand. Looking out to sea you can see Steep Holm, an uninhabited island in the middle of the Bristol Channel, and Wales in the distance. To the south is Hinkley Point Power Station - the first new nuclear plant to be built in the UK in twenty years and the largest construction site in Europe.

3. After the wreck, continue along the beach until you see a warning sign for soft sand and mud. Turn in to the dunes here and you’ll see a sandy track. Follow this track inland where you cross the golf course and can see the church ahead of you. Take note of the signs that indicate the direction of play.

After the golf course you’ll see a small path to the left with a seat at the top. Take this path, which leads to a gate where you can enter the church yard of St Mary’s Church. This 13th century church nestles amongst the sand dunes and was once whitewashed and acted as a beacon for sailors. If it is open during your walk head inside to admire the beautiful stained glass windows.

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News: St Mary's church used to be white-washed and acted as a beacon for sailors. St Mary's church used to be white-washed and acted as a beacon for sailors. (Image: Isobel Pring)

4. Leaving the church yard turn right towards the main road but follow the footpath to the right just before reaching it. After a short distance turn left onto a wooded path that continues next to the golf course for some distance. At a fork in the path turn right onto Wellington Way. Continue on this path past Berrow Green and the children’s play area on your left, until you reach a short section of quite road. At the end of this, pass through the gate on the right to the golf course. Burnham and Berrow Golf Club opened in 1891 and its first professional player, John Henry Taylor, went on to win the Open championship five times. Your path is across the golf course aiming for the finger post that you can see on the hill ahead of you. Again, take note of the direction of play and stay on the foot path as you cross the fairways. To your left you can see the top of the now inactive High Lighthouse in Burnham-on-Sea and views across to Hinkley Point. Follow the footpath signs towards the sea, which take you from the golf course to a boardwalk, where you pass through the reed beds.

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News: Riders take advantage of the flat sands at low tide. Riders take advantage of the flat sands at low tide. (Image: Isobel Pring)

5. The path brings you out on to the beach next to a tall wooden post and a short post with the number 13 on it. Turn right and walk along the beach taking in the views to Brean Down ahead of you and Exmoor National Park in the distance behind you. Once past the wreck of the Nornen continue until you reach the row of wooden posts heading out to sea. Turn in towards the dunes, the Berrow Beach sign and the waste bin and take the right fork away from the beach and into the Dunes. If you’re using the Berrow Storywalk you can pick it up again here. Continue along the sandy track into the dunes until you see a small concrete post ahead of you where the path rises to an open grassy area. Fork left into the grassy area and head towards the information panel ahead of you. Stay on the path and pass to the right of the information panel to reach a pond and bench seat on your right. Follow the path round to the right and turn right at the white post. Keep right at the next white post and follow the path back to the car park.

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News: The conservation area and pond provides habitats for wildlife. The conservation area and pond provides habitats for wildlife. (Image: Isobel Pring)


START POINT: Berrow Dunes Conservation Area car park. It’s also possible to start at St Mary’s Church, Berrow.

DISTANCE: 4.6 miles (7.5km). Allow 2.5 hours. The ground is flat with a few sandy slopes in the dunes.

MAP: OS Explorer Map 153 (Burnham-on-Sea & Clevedon)

REFRESHMENTS: There are refreshments and shops to the north of the Conservation Area and on Coast Road. During the summer months Berrow church offers cream teas for visitors every Sunday.

PRACTICALITIES: The number 20 bus route between Weston-super-Mare and Burnham-on-Sea passes both start points. This walk is best on an outgoing tide or at low tide, to see the wreck of the Nornen clearly. Check tide times at

This feature was first published in Somerset Life magazine. To subscribe, visit