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Barnstaple Attractions - North Devon Walks

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Well known for its mild climate, unspoilt beauty, peace and tranquillity, there are walks to suit everyone - through gently rolling countryside, over high moorland, along river valleys or beside some of the finest stretches of coastline and breathtaking views to be found anywhere in Britain. From a full day’s trek to a one hour ramble, a guided walk to a family stroll, a leisurely circular walk to the challenge of a long distance trail, you will find a wide variety of walks just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. Devon - the walking county of the South West

There is a fascinating variety of stunning and picturesque long-distance footpaths in Devon, some with literary or historic connections. The jewel in the crown is the South West Coast Path, Devon’s National Trail. Many of the trails link up to form a network of walks, providing opportunities to do a shorter day or half day walk, a circular or linear walk. Many walks can be accessed by public transport.

Walking builds up an appetite - the County is renowned for the wide range and quality of local produce available. Imagine scrumptious Devon cream teas, delicious home-made snacks and freshly caught sea food …be sure to discover the real taste of Devon and enjoy!

Whatever takes your fancy and wherever you stay in Devon, there is always a choice of walks nearby, ranging from a two or three mile easy amble through to longer more challenging walks, imagine… Drifts of bluebells lit by dappled sunlight, the smell of new mown hay, the sound of the sea…crisp country walks followed by a roaring fire and hot ‘toddies’! National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, England’s first natural World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve - Devon is a unique and special county, full of history and heritage, with a network of walks just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.

Tarka Trail
Inspired by Henry Williamson’s much loved novel ‘Tarka the Otter’ which was based on real places, this 180 miles/290km recreational route, in a figure of eight, follows Tarka’s journeys through the northern part of the county. The Trail takes you through an ever changing variety of some wonderful Devon scenery described in the book, including tranquil countryside, wooded river valleys, rugged moorland and dramatic coast. Comprehensively waymarked, walking along the Trail varies from easy to challenging. Short sections of the Trail and circular walks from it are ideal for day and half day excursions.

Two Moors Way
Running for just over 100 miles/160km between Ivybridge in the south and Lynmouth in the north, this famous path links the two National Parks of Dartmoor and Exmoor.

The route covers a wonderful diversity of scenery including a wild and remote stretch of Dartmoor and some of the most beautiful sections of the valley of the River Dart. After some delightfully unspoilt parts of central Devon, the trail reaches Exmoor and its deep wooded valleys, with magnificent views from the high moorland. Walking is easy with just one or two challenging stretches and the route is comprehensively waymarked, apart from the open moorland sections which require navigational skills.

Devon Coast to Coast
Unlike the better known walk in the north of England which runs west to east, Devon’s goes from north to south. The Two Moors Way forms the bulk of the route, but at Ivybridge it meets the Erme-Plym Trail which provides the link to the south coast. Take the opportunity of dipping your boots in the English Channel and the Bristol Channel in one walk – they are a just a mere 117 miles/184km apart at either end of the Devon Coast to Coast Walk!

Although the two trails, Two Moors Way and Erme-Plym Trail, maintain their own identities and names, the green Coast to Coast badge has been incorporated in the waymarking along both of these routes, just to remind you of the opportunity they give of achieving a really special walking experience.

Devonshire Heartland Way
The Devonshire Heartland Way runs for 43 miles/60km through the heart of Devon, linking the Exe Valley in the east, with Okehampton in the west. Walkers will discover a gentle pastoral landscape, much of it through traditional Devon redlands, whilst towards the west of the Way, the outline of Dartmoor provides a characteristic backdrop. Generally easy walking, the route passes through market towns and picturesque villages along the way.

Ruby Trails
The north west interior of Devon is one of the county's lesser-known areas. Its quiet attractions receive relatively few visitors and many Devonians are unfamiliar with the area. However, it comprises perhaps the most truly completely rural part of the county, and is to be celebrated for its tranquillity and wide, open views. These quiet attractions are the basis of a network of circular walks promoted under the name of the "Ruby Trails", named after the local Ruby Red cattle. They give the opportunity to see a quiet and remote corner of Devon while helping the local economy.

Exe Valley Way
Almost 45 miles/72km end to end, this trail runs through beautiful Devon countryside between the Exe Estuary and the heights of Exmoor. The route is partly waymarked, except for urban areas and on Exmoor. The variety of scenery includes a wide estuary, historic city, quiet rural landscapes, steep wooded valleys and moorland.

Devon's Little Switzerland
This circular walk is based on the scenic little town of Lynmouth, on Devon’s Exmoor coast. A walk of contrasts, its outward leg follows the valley of the East Lyn River while the return, on the route of the Two Moors Way and Tarka Trail, is a high, airy walk along the valley top. From the little tower at Lynmouth Harbour walk inland, alongside the harbour. Lynmouth was "discovered" as a scenic and romantic location in the early 19th century.

The tower at the harbour, known as the Rhenish Tower, was built at this time in imitation of similar towers on the Rhine. The poet Southey and the Shelleys were among the early visitors who praised the area, calling it "England’s Little Switzerland". The steep hill on the right, next to the pub, was the original main road into Lynmouth, giving some idea how isolated it was then. Continue walking inland, past the footbridge, alongside the rocky River Lyn. At the bridge at the road junction cross the road and walk the path alongside the river.

Note the commemorative plaque on the bridge. At this point the East and West Lyn rivers meet. The route now follows the valley of the East Lyn, a deep and wooded valley, or "cleave". Cross the next footbridge over the river, at the end of the car park, then turn right along the lane and continue alongside the river. At the end of the lane continue on the footpath ahead into East Lyn Cleave. At the next footbridge keep to the riverside path, signposted to Watersmeet.

The cleave is important as an area of ancient oak woodland, one of the largest remaining areas of semi-natural ancient woodland in the South West. Continue following the signs to Watersmeet, re-crossing the river at another footbridge. Shortly afterwards, the National Trust seasonal café at Watersmeet comes into view. Keep on the path to climb, then descend to two footbridges. There are two rivers which meet here, to give the location its name.

The Watersmeet café and shop, open April - October, was built in the 19th century as a fishing lodge when the area was becoming fashionable. The route now follows the Hoar Oak Water. Take the steps which climb on the right immediately after the first footbridge, signed to Hillsford Bridge, then continue ahead parallel to this fast-flowing river.

A little way along the path a short diversion on the right goes to a waterfall viewpoint. Keep an eye open on the river for dippers on stones or the river bed. The path continues to climb steadily until it reaches Hillsford Bridge, where the road from the Simonsbath direction crosses the Hoar Oak Water. Go through the gate and turn right over the bridge. At the road junction ahead the walk joins the route of the Two Moors Way and the Tarka Trail.

After the bridge cross the main road ahead to the grass verge with the "steep hill" and "road bend" signs; walk up this to the sharp bend at the top. At the top follow the path ahead signed to Lynmouth, with a MW symbol on the post (the symbol of the Two Moors Way).

The path climbs through woodland to emerge at Myrtleberry, an Iron Age settlement site. It is one of a number in the area, chosen for their defensive strength and views of potential attackers. Keep following the MW marked path, signed to Lynmouth.

Very soon the distinctive wooded dome of Hollerday Hill comes into view ahead with the town of Lynton sheltering below. Then Lynmouth and its harbour become visible, at the foot of the hill. The path follows a series of steep zigzags down to cross a stream, then another series back up again, to an even higher point. As the sea gets closer, look out for the signpost indicating Lynmouth and MW on the slightly fainter path to the right. Go down here. Superb views over Lynton and Lynmouth open out from this path.

Keep to the path as it descends, sometimes quite steeply, and with the aid of some more zigzags. It eventually enters Lynmouth on a narrow enclosed path. After a gate the tarmac path is steep and often very slippery – take special care here. At the road at the bottom, notice the stone erected for the Two Moors Way opening in 1976.

For the town centre and harbour turn left at the road, then right and immediately left at the road junction.

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Abbeyford Woods, Near Okehampton, Tel: 01409 221692
Big Sheep (The), Abbotsham, Bideford, EX39 5AP Tel: 01237 472366
Bradworthy Transport Msm, Higher Alsworthy Farm Tel: 01409 241597
Braunton & District Museum, Braunton, Tel: 01271 816688
Brocklands Adventure Park, West Street Bude, Tel: 01288 321225
Broomhill Art Hotel & Gardens, Muddiford Tel: 01271 850262
Burton Art Gallery & Msm, Kingsley Road, Tel: 01237 471455
Castle Hill, Filleigh, Barnstaple, EX32 0RQ Tel: 01598 760 336
Clovelly Court Garden, , Clovelly , EX39 5TA Tel: 01237 431
Clovelly Village Visitor Centre, Clovelly, Bideford, Tel: 01237 431781

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Cobbaton Combat Collection, Chittlehampton, Tel: 01769 540740
Cheristow Lavender, C Lavender Farm, Hartland, Tel: 01237 440078
Combe Martin Wildlife & Dinosaur Park, C.Martin, Tel: 01271 882486
Dartington Crystal, Dartington Crystal, Torrington, Tel: 01805 626242
Docton Mill Gardens, Spekes Valley, Hartland, Tel: 01237 441369
Dovetails Gallery, 60 High Street, Ilfracombe, Tel: 01271 864769
Dragon Archery Centre, Westcott Cott, Holsworthy, Tel: 0800 0372466
Eggesford Forest, Eggesford, Tel: 01409 221 692
Eggesford Garden & Country Centre, Eggesford, Tel: 01769 580250
Exmoor Zoo Park, South Stowford B. Fleming, Tel: 01598 763352

Gnome Reserve, West Putford, Nr Bradworthy Tel: 01409 241435
Halsdon Wood, Great Torrington, Okehampton, Tel: 01392 279244
Hartland Abbey & Gardens, Hartland, Nr Bideford, Tel: 01237 441264
Hartland Peninsula, Hartland, North Devon, Tel: 01237 431504
Hartland Pottery, Hartland, Nr Bideford, EX39 6DE Tel: 01237 441693
Heddon Hall Gardens, Parracombe, EX31 4QL Tel: 01598 763541
Holsworthy Community Woods, Holsworthy, Tel: 01409 221692
Ilfracombe Aquarium, Ilfracombe Harbour, Tel: 01271 864533
Lundy Island, The Quay, Bideford, EX39 2LY Tel: 01271 863636
Marwood Hill Gardens, Marwood Hill, EX31 4EB Tel: 01271 342528

Milky Way Adventure Park, Clovelly, Bideford, Tel: 01237 431255
Plough Arts Centre (The), 9-11 Fore St, Torrington, Tel: 01805 624624
Queens Theatre, Boutport Street, Barnstaple, Tel: 01271 324242
Quince Honey Farm, North Road, South Molton, Tel: 01769 572401
RHS Garden Rosemoor, Rosemoor, Torrington, Tel: 01805 624067
Tarka Cruises, 20 Market Street, Appledore, Tel: 01237 476 191
Tarka Garden Tours, Barleycott Blakewell, Barns, Tel: 01271 375002
Tarka Line (The), D & C Rail Pnership, Plymouth, Tel: 01752 233094
Torrington 1646, Castle Hill South St, Torrington, Tel: 01805 626146
Tropiquaria, Washford Cross, Watchet, TA23 0QB Tel: 01984 640 688

Tunnels Beaches, Bath Place, Ilfracombe, Tel: 01271 879123
Watermouth Castle, Ilfracombe, EX34 9SL Tel: 01271 867474
Westcountry Nurseries, Donkey Meadow, Bideford, Tel: 01237 431111

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Serious Shopping: Dartington Crystal, Green Lanes and of course Atlantic Village.

And finally for the active ones: Loads of Golf, Cascades, North Devon Karting and Skern Lodge.

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