20th December 2018
Popular North Devon walks that really showcase the area
Where will your feet take you on a North Devon walk?
Whether you have a favourite route already, or are visiting the area and wish to take in the scenery, here’s our list of popular walks in North Devon that we highly recommend discovering on foot...
The Tarka Trail
The Tarka Trail is a key path through North Devon, following the route of a disused railway line that starts in Braunton and ends in Mid-Devon. It's an easy path for both walkers and cyclists to enjoy.
It is named after Henry Williamson’s famous novel “Tarka the Otter”, which features many of the locations along the trail. Walk the riverside paths to see highlights such as the nature reserve outside Braunton, Fremington Quay, Instow with its beach, Bideford, Torrington and beyond into the heart of Devon for those who really wish to spend all day hiking.
The trail can be found just a few steps from our hotel, for easy walks at any time.
Baggy Point divides Croyde Bay and Putsbourough (which leads to famous Woolacombe). The walk around Baggy Point provides spectacular scenery as the path meanders along a jagged point out to sea. On the way, you'll find well-placed benches to enjoy the views plus slipways to secret spots, perfect for picnics.
There are many paths to take so let your feet lead the way, but follow the full circuit and you’ll near on the cliff edge for much of the journey. Don't forget the camera.
The Torrs in Ilfracombe offers a circular walk for those who want to take in some of the best coastal scenery North Devon has. The Torrs themselves are a series of 'wavy' hills that dominate the landscape above the town of Ilfracombe.
The walks around and over these torrs start in and out the way car park and follows the coastline before heading upwards to the hilltops. Walkers can drop down to hidden beaches, see the famous Tunnels Beaches from afar and look along the jagged coast to see the waves crashing against the high cliffs!
Crow Point and Braunton Burrows
Discover the wild Crow Point by either taking a short drive from Braunton or embarking on a long walk beside the river following the same road. You’ll take in the great fields of marshes and farmland, sharing the road with the local woolly residents plus Swans and Kingfishers. At the end emerge, you’ll at Crow Point to be greeted by the estuary to the right and the Atlantic to your left.
You don’t have to wander far to find a magical place to yourself. From Crow Point, lose yourself in the Braunton Burrows - a protected area of natural interest and the biggest area of sand dunes in the UK. Want to lose yourself in nature? This is the place to do it.
Top Exmoor walking highlights
As Exmoor is such an expansive area, full of wonderful sights, pretty villages and of course lots of walks, we've broken Exmoor down into 4 walking areas.
Serious hikers will relish the opportunity to go off track and disappear into the moors, for everyone else, these are the top locations you should visit...
1. Heddon Valley
There's a carpark at the National Trust centre, besides a popular pub, the Hunters Inn. Both are found at the start of the Heddon Valley route, making it a good place to enjoy a well-deserved drink, meal or ice-cream before or after a walk.
The walk from the carpark to the sea runs alongside the river that winds its way through the steep-sided valleys. It’s a classic country path, through woods and beside the water before opening up to have the rocky valley slopes towering over you.
Enjoy the natural beauty of the deep river gorge at Watersmeet, where East Lyn River and Hoare Oak Water meet just outside Lynton and Lynmouth.
There are lovely walks in the surrounding woods and a National Trust cafe where you can stop for lunch or a cream tea. It’s always worth combining Watersmeet with a visit to other key Exmoor locations for a grand day out.
Park on the narrow and curvy road that makes its way down and along the deep valley and then drop down on foot to the bridge that crosses the water. Make sure you take a moment to photograph the rapids and waterfalls.
Walks around Watersmeet are simply breathtaking, from gentle strolls along the water's edge to day-long hikes through the rugged Exmoor countryside.
Perhaps you’ll spot some wildlife on your way. The river is home to otters and salmon, and on the surrounding land there are red deer, herons, wood warblers and jays.
3. Valley of Rocks
On the other side of Lynton is The Valley of Rocks; a dry valley 500 feet above the sea with high cliffs dropping down into the Bristol channel.
Parking is on site, so stretch your legs around the towering rock formations and follow the narrow paths around the back of the cliff tops, with stunning views as the ground drops away.
Taking lots of photographs is a must, and keep an eye out for the goats who call it the area their home.
4. Dunkery Beacon
Climb to the highest point on Exmoor National Park at over 1,700ft, for fantastic views across the moors and a scattering of Bronze Age barrows to explore.
From the top on clear days, you can see the Bristol and English Channels, the Brecon Beacons in Wales, Bodmin Moor, Dartmoor and even Cleeve Hill which is nearly 90 miles away in Gloucestershire.
As the beacon is found in the wild heart of Exmoor the scenery is barren but beautiful, remote but refreshing. There’s wildlife aplenty and it’s the perfect place to hike, following your feet in whatever direction you fancy.
To easily walk to the top is straightforward, simply park at Dunkery Gate car park then follow the footpath for 0.6 miles to the top. The perfect place for a picnic if the weather is nice enough!