North Devon Walks
While on holiday in north devon why not try one or two of these walks and enjoy some of north devons varied and beautiful scenery. Print them out now ready for your holiday
GREAT TORRINGTON - Torridge Valley Circuit
About 4.5 miles. A mixture of green paths and lanes, with a look at the Tarka Trail
Park at the Old Bowling Green on the Bideford Road out of Torrington. Take a green path above the A386 downhill to join the road near the Puffing Billy, the former Torrington Station.
Cross with CARE and continue opposite for about a quarter-mile. At the Frithelstock (Rakeham) junction turn left uphill.
Just beyond the Monkleigh turning take the bridleway on the left, soon entering woodland and descending to Tucking Mill Cottage.
Here take a footpath sharply on the left via a gate to a wooden footbridge. A gate leads to the newly established Tarka Trail (cycling and walking) and a second gate - the former North Devon Light Railway.
Continue straight ahead up a green lane to pass Servis Farm - it can be muddy here between cattle barns. You soon reach an improving metalled lane terracing above the River Torridge and descending to Taddiport to meet the B3227. Cross the river heading uphill on the left past disused factory buildings. Reaching Common land take the footpath on the left (opposite Ferndale), soon joined by a wider track. Descend to the bed of the former canal - the Rolle Road. Turn right and walk on the high lefthand bank. At the iron bridge take steep brick steps on the right and continue uphill bearing right to a tarmac pathway. You can see the Tarka Trail crossing the river at the iron bridge and heading away towards Bideford. The pathway eventually meets the B3227. Continue straight across, turn left by the wall and head for the car park above.
Cross the A386 with CARE - there are refreshments and facilities close at hand. This is an ideal family walk - there are facilities of all sorts at the car park, including a children's play area. The lower car park is set aside for dog owners - and dogs! And the whole area is 'common land' for all to enjoy.
About 5.5 miles. A quiet walk along old tracks above the Taw Valley.
Chittlehamholt lies between Umberleigh and Kings Nympton, north of the A377. You can park at the village hall and from here walk past the Exeter Inn and take a footpath on the left straight ahead, alongside fields and golf course. At the lane turn right, bearing right at the next road junction (Tarka Line rail links). At Drake's Cross take the T-junction to Spycott (half a mile). There are excellent views of the meandering River Taw from this well sheltered lane. Pass the entrance to Chapple's, continuing right at Spycott (thatched) - the old track now leads downhill. At the woods ahead take the righthand footpath steeply down the woodland - protected by the Forestry Commission. Descend two flights of steps to a bridge and make uphill on the obvious track, climbing with the hedge to your left. Go up several field edges and, at a collection of gates, take the lefthand and continue with the hedge now on your right. Soon meet the lane where you turn left. Continue, to take a footpath to the right where it crosses the lane. Follow the hedge (it is well signed) directly ahead then cross a field making for Warkleigh church tower. Turn right down the stone wall, past two large oaks, making for a hunting gate. Turn right and stay in Pool Lane for some time, passing Pool access drive. This charming green lane is firm underfoot and secluded. Pass Lambpark Copse and wind towards Oldridge Wood. At Shortridge Wood re-enter Forest Enterprise woodland. The path drops to a prominent forest trail. Continue ahead on this main track, leaving the woods to reach the county road. Turn right and you are (almost) at the Exeter Inn. These paths are excellently parked and maintained under the County P3 scheme.
BISHOPS NYMPTON & MARIANSLEIGH CIRCULAR
4 miles. A hilly farmland walk crossing many streams and with expansive views across the Mole Valley.
After parking in the village, take the road running due west.
After half a mile at a sharp right hand bend join a track downhill to the left. Cross the farm drive and make diagonally over a large meadow to find a footbridge in the corner. Cross the 'Crooked Oak' stream. Pass a stone barn, following the tree-lined bank, to a gate. Here join Moorhouse Lane, a sheltered track climbing steeply for nearly a mile.
Restful views from gateways give aspects across Bishops Nympton and South Molton and to Exmoor beyond. At the road turn right into Mariansleigh, passing the church. Shortly take a footpath on the right, follow the fence downhill and, where it turns right, make for the bottom left corner below. Go through a gate, follow the hedge to a second gate and cross the marshy meadow to a footbridge. Go left of farm buildings (Lower Radley) to the track. Turn left and soon bend sharply right for West and East Radley. Take a footpath on the right, through East Radley yard, passing the duck pond. Cross a stile, continue left of the hedge to another, then cross to a gate and continue ahead, left of a derelict building, aiming just left of the farm ahead (Westwood). There is a stile by some barns, a further gate and stile. Now cross the farm drive and another stile, making for yet more barns ahead (Eastwood). Soon meet a third footbridge and ladder stile leading to the meadow above. Take a gate, a second on the left and cross a short meadow to a stile, a final footbridge -and then climb uphill on a good track with the stony bank and woodland to your left. Follow this field edge all the way to the lane above, arriving at a gate at the head of Moorhouse Lane. Turn left for a short return to Bishops Nympton.
BARNSTAPLE - A Country Walk From The Town
About 6 miles. Farmland and an estuary walk on the Tarka Trail
Leave your vehicle in one of the car parks near the Civic Centre. Walk initially up the A39 (Lynton direction) on the left. Shortly take a road bending back and rising (Higher Raleigh). As it descends towards the church take an even sharper narrowing bend back to the right (Littabourne). Continue to the brow and just past on the left is Northfield Lane. This leads quite soon to your footpath on the right, between housing and continuing to a field, down to a wooden bridge where you cross to Anchor Mill. You are quickly clear of the town! Turn left onto the mill lane, following the leat on the left, to rise and meet the road at Bradiford. Turn right uphill (CARE!) to the brow. A little further is a footpath on the left across the green in front of houses and to a stile. Cross the field straight ahead to a second field. At the far lower corner (damp) negotiate the stream. Bear right, up the field, to a fence. Then take a new line, behind the buildings. Stay on this line for several fields making for Ashford. You meet a track, lane and at the county road turn right going steeply uphill to the church.
Here bear left up the road (Heanton and Marwood). At the 'T' junction bear left again (Heanton and Braunton). Just beyond the housing take a stile on the left and bear right, across the middle of the field making for the stile central in the far hedge - just below the house. Cross a further field to the corner where the house fence meets the lane. Here there is a stile and gate. Turn left downhill passing West Ashford Barton. Cross the A361 (ENORMOUS CARE!) and go right to a former rail bridge. Cross and descend steps to the Tarka Trail - the bed of the former Barnstaple to Ilfracombe line. This leads to Barnstaple and the Riverside Walk near the Civic Centre. There are extraordinary panoramic views across the estuary and burrows - and towards Barnstaple. At low tide or sunset it is a memorable walk - a rich haven for bird-watchers.
About 3.5 miles This rail and river route is over farmland with views of Lapford across the River Yeo.
Park above the church and walk downhill to take an old lane on the left at Court Barton (footpath sign on wall). Go right at a 'Y' split and as the lane swings right cross a stile. Follow downhill by the hedge, cross the brook at a wooden bridge and continue under the railway. Now cross leftwards to a second, metal bridge spanning the Yeo. Make for a stile at the A377 and CROSS WITH CARE! From the stile opposite climb leftwards up a wide grass track to meet the lane. Turn right passing Bury Barton with its thatched 15th century barn (once a chapel). At Kelland Cross turn right and shortly take a footpath on the left. This soon turns sharply uphill at a second field to reach the lane. Turn right for Nymet Rowland. As the road levels there are views of four church towers - Coldridge, Nymet, Lapford and, more distantly, Morchard Bishop. Pass a right junction and at the top of the hill where the road veers left take a farm track on the right, through Parsonage Farmyard and into the field behind. Follow the track with the hedge on your right. Go through a wooden gate - the hedge now to the left - heading for Lapford church. Road, rail and river are all visible below. Meet a further gate and bear right, downhill. Cross a stile at a damp woodland corner and make diagonally uphill towards the far left hand corner where there is a gate and stile. Turn right and walk along the railway to a further stile. Cross the bridge, turn right and join the road (A377).
Now turn left, crossing the river and soon take the fenced footpath on the right for Lapford. At the road go ahead uphill, soon to pass Court Barton and reach the church and car park.
About 3 miles. A circular farmland walk on the Two Moors Way with views over Dartmoor.
Find a parking spot near the village cross and take a footpath almost opposite the London Inn, signed Two Moors Way. Go ahead ignoring a branching path to the right and continue following Two Moors Way signs for some time (until Weeke Barton). Head across fields and stiles and past barns to reach a downhill track. This improves, becoming a wide green way, turning left at a gate and on to further stiles. Cross a stream - a boggy area here - and turn right across the fields, remaining fixedly on The Two Moors Way (very well signed). Reach a protected hedged path leading past substantial cottages at Woodgate to become a drive, reaching the county road at Weeke Barton. Here leave The Two
Moors Way and turn left up the lane past Middle Weeke. For a shorter walk take the returning path to Morchard Bishop near the crest of the hill, opposite Ridgeway. Continue to the next junction - Jane Ways Grave Cross. At this corner there are fine views across Dartmoor - high moorland south of Okehampton is to the right and the double hump of Haytor is easily identified to the south. Make for Oldborough, turn left at the cross and shortly take the footpath on the right straight across the field to a gateway. Cross a second field and reach a stile and wooden bridge at Oldborough Brook. Climb the hillside following the hedge, go left of the barns at Watcombe, take a stile in the corner to the left and turn down the field towards Morchard Bishop along the hedge side. Cross two fields on this line, re-cross the Brook - very muddy hereabouts and continue up a farm track passing right of Lowertown to meet the road. Cross to the churchyard, circuit the church to leave opposite the school. Here turn left and soon you reach the junction just right of the London Inn.
About 2.7 miles. Footpaths and quiet lanes. Easy under foot.
Start at the Earl of Portsmouth Inn in the village and walk towards Chulmleigh, taking the right hand fork at the 'Y' junction (Hollow Tree Cross). After about a quarter-mile take a track into fields on the left and continue on the right hand field edge to the road - in fine weather there are clear views of Exmoor to the North. Cross to take a path to the right of the bungalow opposite and continue straight down the hedge-line -now with splendid views across Dartmoor in clear weather. Bear left to the valley and a stile, and make your way round the ponds by two bridges (CARE NEEDED). Continue up the field with a ditch to your right, to a gate. Now make for a grove of mature trees with a metal shed alongside. Go through the trees, passing the shed, towards two metal gates to the left, ahead. Take the right hand gate and ahead is a stile, quite close at hand, in the top field. This leads to the lane. Turn left and shortly reach Southcott Cross. You are now on the Ridge and Valley Walk. This leads you gently to the Tiverton road where you must turn left for Chawleigh village. The Ridge and Valley Walk links the two major linear trails, The Tarka Trail at Eggesford with The Two Moors Way at Witheridge. It follows much of the Little Dart River for about 11 miles. Fuller details of Chawleigh Walks are in the Mid-Devon District Council leaflet, Country Walks No.9.
This short 3 mile exhilarating walk to Baggy Point is a steep climb but rewarded with amazing seascapes.
Park at Croyde Bay National Trust park for Baggy Point. Take the stile from the car park uphill across the field to the open hillside. Struggle to the very top -there is a seat. Continue over the brow and descend to a farm track. Here, at a gate, turn left along the track, through a further gate and soon take a short scramble to the right through gorse to the lower path. Turn right, crossing a marshy corner and near the sign 'National Trust - Baggy Point' branch right, ever uphill! There are more seats at intervals. The path soon becomes a wide track with a good wall on the right. At the top you meet a gate and Coast Path sign. Go right and walk up to the coastguard signal post on the cliffs.
Wander as far as you wish along this northern side of the Point. Returning from the signal post go down through a fenced area towards the rocky outcrop at the Point. Here are warnings of possible HAZARDS.
Again, give time for spiritual - and physical - revival. You may well see kittiwakes, gannets, shearwaters - or a seal basking below. An endless coastline stretches south westwards past Croyde to the Taw-Torridge estuary and on to Hartland. To the north projects Morte Point. And ahead lies gloomy Lundy. Descend carefully to the level path heading back to Croyde. It is firm and friendly giving good opportunity for binocular and camera activity. At the fork you met earlier go ahead along the shoreline. The path becomes a private road, then joins the lane just above the car park.
THE LYN GORGE
About 5 miles. A classic walk offering spectacular river scenery and a glimpse of the sea.
Park at Hillsford Bridge on the A39 a few miles south of Lynmouth. From the car park cross the road and turn uphill to the left. Take the path straight ahead on the corner, soon leaving road and river below to your right. This climbs past an old settlement and winds above the river -at every corner giving expansive views across the gorge. There is one excellent viewpoint from a stone seat. You are in Myrtlebury Cleave looking across 1,000 acres of National Trust estate -and the path is the last few miles of The Two Moors Way, which links Ivybridge with Lynmouth. After about two miles the path swings south. Follow signs for Lynbridge and Lynton. Eventually a zigzag path descends to the West Lyn, to cross at Lynbridge. Turn right and shortly take a narrow lane on the left towards the Youth Hostel and on into Lynton. Now make your way down to Lynmouth -by road, steps or the unusual funicular railway, gravity and water powered! At Lynmouth go through the gardens by the river bridge and take the left bank of the river, passing cottages and continuing below Wester Woods upstream. There are many bridges and paths on both sides for much of the way. However, only the left bank will lead you eventually to Watersmeet where there is a 19th century fishing lodge, a National Trust property. At Watersmeet the Hoar Oak Water meets the East Lyn. You must follow the right hand river, the Hoar Oak water -there are waterfalls and many rocky scrambles giving good views. The path winds through woodland, left of the river: Hillsford Bridge is a short mile upstream.
ILFRACOMBE & WATERMOUTH COVE
About 7.5 miles. An invigorating, hilly walk, passing an 11th century manor house and a 19th century castle
Park at Larkstone, the Hele end of Ilfracombe and return to the main road. Cross and bear left behind the Old Thatched Inn. Proceed steeply up Chambercombe Road, signed 'Chambercombe Manor'. Continue at the crest onto a bridleway (Trayne) Leading to Chambercombe. Continue behind the manor to Comyn Farm and stables. Enter the yard, taking the gate slightly left to a junction of tracks (CARE). Take the track between the stream and high bank of trees, following gently uphill. Soon take a gate (left) and climb over fields to Lower Trayne. Leave the farm by a metalled drive to reach the road at Slew Hill - a breezy spot at 203 metres. Cross a stone stile, taking the footpath ahead towards the bottom right hand corner at another stile. Continue above the woodland, dropping to cross a small bridge. Turn left at the foot of new plantation and along the hedge-line to reach a short track leading to the road at Lower Rows - in the flower-laden, sheltered Sterridge Valley. Follow the valley (left) to Berrynarbor village. Here climb right of the church up Barton Lane to the A399. Cross (WITH CARE!), joining the Coast Path ahead. Soon turn left at Sandy Cove Hotel onto the Old Coast Road. NB: There are a few strenuous sections to come - and also regular bus services near at hand from Berrynarbor to Hele Bay. Follow White Acorn signs from now on (Coast Path). Soon leave the Old Coast Road at a stile, into Big Meadow and hug the cliff-edge to the road. There are magnificent views of the Watermouth Castle and complex ahead. A narrow roadside path leads to the harbour. At low tide cross the foreshore to steps and a footpath sign. (otherwise stay on the road for 30 yards, to a stile). After woodland the path heads seawards for Widmouth Head climbing steeply to the road. Stay on the right (path, then pavement) to Hele where there follows a final zigzag assault of Hillsborough. There are amazing views ahead, then an easy descent to Larkstone.
HUNTER INN TO WOODY BAY
From Hunter's Inn start on the path to Heddon's Mouth. Take the first turning signposted Woody Bay through the woods on the wide track and out onto the cliffs. A sign indicates a small track up to Martinhoe fortlet. This fortlet was discovered during excavations in 1960 when a small Roman military post was revealed with two timber barracks, a workshop, a store, field ovens and a forge. The coins and pottery found indicated that the fortlet was built and occupied during the reign of Emperor Nero to keep watch on the Silure, a warlike tribe on the opposite South Wales coast. The coastal path emerges onto the road above Woody Bay car park. Follow the road signposted to beach and Martinhoe Manor. Some way down the 'return' lower footpath strikes left into the woodland and runs back to Heddon's Mouth. Before returning you can continue on down to Woody Bay beach - there is a lime kiln but it is another three quarters of a mile and the walk back up is hard going. At low tide the beach is exposed with some sand but at high tide the beach disappears so be careful not to get cut off. Along this walk through the Heddon Valley various birds can be spotted - green and lesser spotted woodpecker, treecreeper, pied flycatcher, redstart, wood warbler and whitethroat.
HUNTER INN TO HEDDON'S MOUTH
This walk goes through the beautiful and ancient valley down to Heddon's Mouth.
The start and the end of the walk is by the old Hunter's Inn - originally an old Devon Longhouse, but replaced in 1901 by this Victorian lodge - an ideal spot to stop and enjoy the stunning scenery and enjoy some of the pub's fayre. On arriving in the heavily wooded valley choose the path beside Hunter's Inn and follow this along the water meadows and the river. This is a beautiful valley at whatever time of year - the sessile oak woods giving way to ice-age old scree hillsides. The path having crossed the river eventually winds to Heddon's Mouth beach. Here stands a lime kiln built in the 19th century when limestone was brought along by boat to be burned in kilns such as these. The lime from the limestone was spread onto fields to sweeten the local acid soil. This kiln was restored in 1982 and makes a stunning addition to the already impressive scenery.
The return journey can either be repeated or take the path on the the other side of the river. Heddon Valley is a very good butterfly site.
Various types of the fritillary species is evident attracted by the bracken and violets growing there.
THE HANGMAN HILLS
At just over 5 miles this This walk starts in the Lime Kiln car park in Combe Martin, next to the beach.
Follow through the car park and along the coastal path to Lester Cliff. Here there is a wooden shelter and from here on there are National Trust path signs to follow. From this shelter there are views of Combe Martin.
Follow the path up this steep slope past the pathway to Wild Pear beach (inaccessible for the present). There is now a stiff climb up Little Hangman (716 feet). From Little Hangman either turn back towards West Challacombe Manor and down into the village via Shute Lane or continue along the coastal path along the Rawns to Great Hangman. Great Hangman stands at an impressive 1,043 ft above sea level and is an enormous sandstone cliff. It is the highest cliff in Southern England and is the best example of a hog's back cliff where the steep upper slopes give way to vertical cliffs, sometimes undercut by the sea. These sea cliffs are home to many rare species including the peregrine falcon and the blackneck moth. The coastline is also one of only two areas in North Devon with colonies of razorbill, guillemot and kittiwake.
About 2 miles. A quiet country walk along Bratton Fleming byways, with one steep section.
Park opposite the church at Bratton Fleming and walk up the street to take Beara lane at the Baptist Chapel. Continue to the end of this beautifully sheltered lane, banked with wild flowers. Go left of the farm, via a gate and stile and downhill, right of the hedge. Soon veer diagonally right, in line with a distant aerial mast. Meet a double stile with stone steps and a handsome grassy track bearing right, downhill. Drop to a metal gate, stepping stones and steps up into the meadow. Stay right of the hedge to a metal field gate and continue uphill, now left of the hedge. Soon leave the hedge, cutting diagonally towards a wooden five-barred gate by a telegraph post. Follow the field edge (and posts) to the bottom corner and a small hunting gate and wooden bridge over the stream. Continue up the meadow to a stile and gate into the lane, between a newish barn conversion and derelict barn, at Knightacott. Turn right and, at the triangle (Knightacott roundabout!) go left for Narracott. Stay on the lane, passing Narracott and the access to Rye Park. As you descend take a ladder stile on the right, cutting the field corner. Then continue to your right, downhill. The lane is sheltered, quiet, and the valley stream is charmingly wooded. There remains a steep climb, passing Holywell and leaving the woodland. sign ahead heralds the village -you are soon in Bratton Fleming.
About 5 miles. A hilly, dry-weather walk mixing fields, lanes and woodland.
Beaford lies on the B3220 a few miles south east of Great Torrington. Park at the village hall beyond the Beaford Centre. Take the bridleway opposite and footpath on the left, leading to a stile opposite. Continue with the hedge about 20 metres to the right, parallel with the road, making for a farm ahead. Go right of the farm to a lane, turn right and at the B3220 take the stile almost opposite for Trigger's Hill. Descend the lane to the bridge -the Beaford Brook here is one of many heading for the Torridge. Climb to Middle Barlington, descend steeply to a junction and bear right taking the bridleway on the left into woodland at a wooden bridge and ford. Take the main track and soon, as it swings right and splits, take the right fork to a wooden gate. Now join a wide forestry track nearby. Follow gently uphill through Combe (Great) Wood. At the top edge of woodland bear right, continuing to the lane. Turn right, descending through woodland to the Mill corner with the Woolleigh Brook below to your left. Retrace your steps to Middle Barlington and take a footpath on the left. Cross towards barns and continue up a track. At the top go through thegateway on the right steeply downhill alongside the hedge. Cross the brook (fordable!) to a stile and wooden gate. Climb ahead, bearing towards the right. Meet a farm track and, where it veers left, take a gate and go downhill to the river bridge below. Cross and take a path on the left which leads uphill to the village. It is well-sheltered and emerges just to the right of a convenient inn -and deserved refreshment!
About 6 miles. Visiting a picturesque village by way of green lanes and moorland tracks,
You can park near the village hall and take the lane uphill past the Royal Oak, turning left up a narrow lane signed 'Dulverton' - Yellowcombe Lane. This winds down to a stream and single cottage. Cross at a gate and scramble up opposite to the forestry track. Bear right gently uphill through woodland. Leave by a gate ('Winsford 11/2 miles') and turn right along a wire fence. Pass through two gates to a second sign (Winsford 2 miles!). You may well see the Exmoor pony herd on Winsford Hill. Leave the track here, bearing right just above a line of beech trees and a ditch. Stay on this line which soon becomes a hedge wall. You will soon see a small stone hut containing the Caratacus Stone - an ancient boundary marker. Continue ahead to a triangular road sign. Turn right down the lane to a cattle grid on a sharp right hand corner. Now take a wide green track on the left, back over the moor (Winsford Estate) and follow the hedge on your right, passing a quarry crater and then heading for trees ahead. Follow above the tree line, bearing left. Soon an expansive open combe appears ahead - The Punchbowl. Your path follows right around the headland of this steep-sided bowl. On the far side descend to Withycombe Farm below.
Cross the Winn Brook and bear right behind the farm up the farm drive, then into meadows on the right just above the stream. Continue on this line eventually to a narrow path heading for the road. Turn right and stroll gently into Winsford past the distinctive Norman church. There is much of interest, including seven bridges and an ancient thatched inn.
THE BARLE VALLEY
About 7 miles. A high and low level route in the heart of Exmoor
At Simonsbath there is parking at Ashcombe car park. At the road go downhill, taking a gate opposite the Exmoor Hotel and join the bridleway (Landacre via Picked Stones. Climb the woods at Birchcleave, bearing left on leaving the woodland and continue to follow BLUE bridleway signs. The walk is very clearly signed throughout by Exmoor Park. Take a gate on the right, follow up the field through two further gates, across the middle of a field to a gateway and straight ahead past a small metal shed, with the hedgebank on your left. Another gate leads to barns where a farm drive runs in to Winstitchen. Continue following the hedge line ahead, passing another sign (Bridleway - Landacre via Picked Stones). Go through several fields always with the hedge or fence to your left, soon descending to a stream and some quarry ruins. Cross over and follow a good track to Picked Stones Farm. There are widening views of the Barle Valley and Cow Castle (Iron Age fort) to the right. Pass right of the farm, out by the drive and take a gate on the right, across the field and to open moorland. After about three-quarters of a mile a track runs in from the right at a signpost (Landacre/Simonsbath via Cow Castle). Here turn back to the right, descending to the Barle. The track passes forestry and a bridge at Horsen Ford, following the right river bank with one or two short cuts, all the way to Simonsbath. Go right, behind Cow Castle. There are some rocky corners to negotiate. After Wheal Eliza (site of 19th century mineral mines) there is a good gully track in dry weather - or higher alternative. You are soon at the Barle bridge in Simonsbath.