Looking for somewhere to stretch your legs and explore the beautiful coast and countryside of North Devon on foot? You needn’t hike away for hours on end to see and experience some wonderfully secluded places. All of the following are shorter walking routes that can be complete in under half a day, from pub walks to circular walks.
1.Follow the Tarka Trail, from Instow to Bideford
Across the Torridge, home to the Tarka Trail’s namesake otters. (Image: Wikimedia/ R Strutt)
The famous Tarka Trail is a must-see destination for anyone exploring North Devon. The views and fresh air are reward enough for your efforts, along with wildlife (yes, including the odd otter), plus historic interest from Sir Walter Raleigh to WW2. How you tackle the route is up to you; but you could always park in Bideford for the day and then get a bus to Instow, before walking back to Bideford, perhaps for a bite to eat and a cold glass of something you fancy.
Distance/ Difficulty: 3.3 miles/ Easy to Moderate
Ideal for: Mixed ability groups, those who want to mix walking with cycling or riding.
Route: Find at the official South West Coast Path Site CLICK HERE.
2. Whale bones and wonderful views at Baggy point
Here’s a coastal location with great views and a tale or ten to tell, should you fancy a taste of sea air. It’s especially lovely in the warmer months, and in spring you may well spot birds of prey, including kestrels, or even a sparrowhawk or merlin if you’re lucky. Meanwhile, there are some quirky old whale bones and other curiosities. At under three miles, you needn’t feel wrecked to take in a lot of local beauty though.
Distance/ Difficulty: 2.7 Miles / Easy to moderate
Ideal for: Great for groups of mixed ability. Kids will also enjoy this route.
Route: The South West Coast Path site has a handy route and directions CLICK HERE.
3. Go with the flow at Tarr Steps, Exmoor
This pretty woodland and river site on Exmoor provides a range of walking routes to try, with something for all abilities. For anyone who is terrible with a maps and directions, however, there is an ideal circular walk here, helpfully marked by orange waymarks. The woodland nature reserve will be of particular interest to those who love wildlife, while you could always dip tired feet directly in the stream; bliss on a hot day!
Distance/ Difficulty: Approx 2 miles/ Easy
Ideal for: Anyone looking for an easy yet wild walking location, plus those whose map reading is bad!
Route: Find a clear map, plus lots more on the area at The Exmoor National Park site HERE.
4. Torridge Estuary Walk
River views -and the odd wreck!- on the River Torridge (Image: Wikimedia/ Phillip Halling)
With great views across the muddy but atmospheric River Torridge on the outskirts of Bideford, here is an easy route of just one mile that’s ideal for a gentle stroll as part of a day out. Time your walk for low tide and there are various wrecks to be spotted too, along with wading birds and classic Devon red cattle.
Distance/ Difficulty: 1 Mile / Easy
Ideal for: Birdwatchers and slower walkers
Route: The National Trust site has further details and things to spot: CLICK HERE
5. Lydford Gorge Walk
The dramatic torrents of the “White Lady” or “Devil’s Cauldron” (Image: Sarah Charleswort/ Wikimedia)
Still under an hour by car, Dartmoor is another must visit Devon destination for any keen rambler. Whilst there are lots of walking routes, however, this is a particularly spectacular location where you will find Devon’s deepest and most dramatic gorge and the tumbling “White Lady” waterfall. Some of the site requires a small fee for non National Trust members; don’t let that put you off because this is a wonderful location to explore on the North West edge of Dartmoor National Park.
Distance/ Difficulty: 3 miles/ Easy to moderate (some parts steep and sometimes slippery)
Ideal for: Photography, Geocaching.
Route: See the Divine Dartmoor Walks site: CLICK HERE
Stay at Northcote Manor, ideal for luxury walking breaks in Devon
Set in an idylic surroundings in the Devon countryside, Northcote Manor is within easy reach of several of the region’s finest walking areas. To the North, guests have the freedom of Exmoor and the South West Coast Path; heading west and south, Dartmoor and North Cornwall await. There are countless beautiful locations to explore for great days out in Devon, while you are sure to love the award-winning food and relaxation on offer at the hotel. Keep an eye on our special offers section and Facebook page for our latest news, travel ideas hotel deals.