Those who know North Devon will have their favourite walking routes, but we’ve pulled together a few of our top picks – alongside some routes you may never have heard of, so have a read of this North Devon country walks guide.
One of the reasons North Devon is adored by so many people is the amount of walking and hiking routes there are. Plus, when you include Exmoor, the rambling options are almost endless. Let us know if we missed another beauty via our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages…
Glenthorne House and Sisters’ Fountain – Exmoor
You may have never heard of this before, as it’s a bit of a hidden gem, but for those who love a serious walk we highly recommend finding Glenthorne House and Sisters’ Fountain.
Glenthorne House is placed in beautiful isolation just above the sea on the north Exmoor coast, hidden amongst the trees. There are many fantastic walks in the surrounding area, full of challenging routes, dramatic views, spooky woods, streams, and massive cliffs with the sea below. You can find Sisters’ Fountain at Glenthorne, where Joseph of Arimathea is said to have created a spring by striking his staff against the ground.
(📷 from http://offthebeatentrackinsomerset.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/holy-wells-and-other-named-springs.html)
Whatever the tales, the pictures are amazing and are worth finding in person. Located between Countisbury and Culbone on the A39, there are no villages nearby so you’re in the middle of nowhere. Brendon, EX35 6 – is the closest we can get you, from there it’s over to your sense of adventure.
Discover more North Devon hidden gems in our blog: 5 hidden gems in North Devon
Watersmeet and the East Lyn River – Exmoor near Lynmouth
One of the first places that come to mind for a North Devon walk is Watersmeet. As the East Lyn River winds its way from Exmoor to the sea at Lynmouth, some of Britain’s deepest gorges tower up, and lush valleys provide an amazing place to walk. This whole area is a walker’s paradise, with options to explore inland woodland or follow the river.
Did you know the river is home to otters and salmon? Then on land, there’s a wealth of wildlife: red deer, herons, wood warblers and jays all call the area home.
Watersmeet House is a good start and finish point, and also a great little cafe to refuel. From there it’s up to you. The woods around the area are great for losing yourself in nature, and for a proper hike the walk from Watersmeet to Lynmouth, then along the coast to Countisbury and back to Watersmeet House is worth your time and energy!
Torrington Tree Trail – Great Torrington
Great Torrington is a quiet town in North Devon – often overlooked as a place to holiday. However, with fantastic views, access to North Devon beaches, and a great deal of local history, it’s well worth a stay – oh and the walks are fantastic too, with stunning views.
There are many Torrington walks to try, but we recommend the Tree Trail as it’s considered an easy route and a good opportunity to enjoy a day out.
As suggested by the name, the Tree Trail has a bewildering assortment of trees, from common species to rarer West Country natives, such as the Devon Whitebeam. The area, focused around a focal point known as The Commons, has 20 odd miles of named paths to explore and something to spot during every season. Another highlight is the ability to book a guided tour for the full experience. Enjoy.
Eggesford – Central Devon
We’ve thrown a spanner into the works and picked a place just outside North Devon. Instead, Eggesford is in Mid Devon, on the A377 route between Exeter and North Devon. Why then have we popped it in? Well it’s only 30 to 45 minutes from Barnstaple and is one of the few areas in Devon not connected with moors, rivers or the coast. Eggesford is all about the forest.
There’s easy access and well-marked woodland trails, and it’s really peaceful. For many this is a place to get back to nature and escape life, as there’s few facilities and a lack of phone signal.
A particular section, known as the Flashdown Woods, has trees planted in 1919 still standing today. In 1956 the Queen visited to record the planting of the millionth acre of trees and you’ll find a commemorative stone at Hilltown.
Dunkery Beacon, Dunkery and Horner Woods National Nature Reserve – Exmoor
Dunkery Beacon is the highest point on Exmoor (1,704ft). Believe it or not, on the best days you can see both the Bristol and English Channels, the Brecon Beacons in Wales, Bodmin Moor and Dartmoor to the west, and even Cleeve Hill, nearly 90 miles away in Gloucestershire.
The surrounding National Park Reserve is embedded into Exmoor, highlighting everything that makes Exmoor so popular. It’s picture worthy, barren but beautiful, remote but refreshing, full of wildlife, and a perfect place to hike and camp.
To reach Dunkery Beacon, start at a pub called The White Horse. To the North West the lane turns into a bridleway taking you up the moor to the highest point. Get your walking gear ready, you’ll need it.
Arlington Court – Near Barnstaple
If you don’t know Arlington Court, have a look at the grand house and beautiful gardens.
Away from the gardens, horse stables, and cafe, are an abundance of walks – for a full day exploring the nearby woods, looking for deer and all the other wildlife in the area. There is a set area named Deer Park Woods which can be found following the green arrowed signs from Arlington. For a longer and intense hike head out to Loxhore Cott and Webber’s Wood walk. Bird watchers will enjoy the Centenary Walk where a Bird Hire can be found. Finally, use the red arrowed signs to discover the Lake Walk.
There’s plenty of woods and views to be exploring, a good reason to return time and time again to Arlington.
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