10 of the prettiest National Trust walks in Devon and Exmoor

Fingle Bridge (c) Ben Ervine, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Fingle Bridge (c) Ben Ervine, Flickr (CC BY 2.0) - Credit: Archant

As the weather starts to warm up and the Devon countryside beckons, Lizzie Jane of the National Trust in the South West offers plenty of walk ideas for you to try.

Whether you want a relaxed Sunday stroll or a more strenuous hike, here are 10 walks across Devon (and beyond) to help you escape the crowds and head off the beaten track

1) Tucker's Pool, Lydford Gorge

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Lydford Gorge has the deepest river gorge in the South West, with most visitors heading straight for the spectacular 30-metre Whitelady Waterfall or Devil's Cauldron.

Instead, when you arrive, why not head off the beaten track towards a lesser-known spot, Tucker's Pool, where you will find calm and peaceful surroundings? To find it, follow the path from the Devil's Cauldron upstream and under the road bridge - the tranquillity of Tucker's Pool will be waiting at the end of the path. Take some time out, and you may see brown trout swimming against the current or catch a fleeting glimpse of a kingfisher patrolling.

2) Fingle Woods, Castle Drogo

Fingle Bridge

Situated on the northern fringes of Dartmoor, the ancient woodlands surrounding Castle Drogo offer a walk through history with incredible views and an abundance of wildlife.

Begin your walk from Castle Drogo and follow the breathtaking Hunters Path set high above the River Teign as it descends and crosses the river to Fingle Bridge. Look out for Sharp Tor, the outcrop of rocks that jut out from Hunters Path.

3) Deodar Glen, Killerton

Killerton, August 2016

 

Set in 6,400 acres, Killerton is loved for its calm spaces and chance to get away from it all whilst only 20 minutes from the bustle of Exeter.

This dog-friendly walk through the parkland of Killerton takes in the Park Wood, Deodar Glen and The Clump, where you can discover an Iron Age hill fort. Why not take a seat and enjoy the views at Deodar Glen, look out towards the distant hills of Dartmoor? Please remember to keep your dog on a lead where animals are grazing.

4) Welcombe Mouth, North Devon

Welcombe Mouth

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Welcombe Mouth is off the beaten track in North Devon, near the county border at Bude.

Head down the rugged road to the National Trust car park at the bottom and begin this simple one-mile circular walk that takes in stunning Atlantic views and luscious valleys.

5) Bossington

Bossington Chimneys

This circular walk takes in some spectacular places, including the picturesque coastal hamlet of Bossington on Exmoor. Start in Allerford and head towards the village of Selworthy, making sure you look at the pretty medieval church and stop for a spot of tea and cake at Periwinkle tea room.

Continue heading up towards Selworthy Beacon before dropping down to the coast path to enjoy Hurlstone Point's views looking over Bossington beach.

6) Dunster Castle

Dunster Castle

Many people will know Dunster Castle, but have you explored the lesser-known places on the grounds?

This varied walk takes in the impressive medieval gatehouse, watermill and underground reservoir, as well as panoramic views over the Bristol Channel, surrounding countryside and the moorland of Exmoor.

7) Overbeck's, near Salcombe

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Tucked away on the cliffs above, Salcombe is the hidden paradise of Overbeck's. This subtropical garden is bursting with colour and is filled with exotic and rare plants for you to enjoy. Start your walk at East Soar and follow the signs towards Overbeck's.

Along the walk, you can see the former RAF Bolt Head airstrip from the Second World War and enjoy the breathtaking panoramic views of the South Hams coast and countryside.

8) Greenway

Greenway

Agatha Christie called her holiday home Greenway 'the loveliest place in the world', which is hidden amongst the Dart Estuary banks.

Start your meander at Galmpton and wander along the quiet country lanes and open farmland towards Greenway. You can even take your socks off and walk along the beach foreshore before heading up through the woodlands towards the house.

9) Coleton Fishacre

Inner Froward Point

Why not take a historic walk to Froward Point and see the gun emplacement that was built in the Second World War?

Start at Brownstone and head towards the coast to enjoy the spectacular views along this rugged and captivating stretch of coast. When you get to the viewing point over Pudcombe Cove, you may as well take the short walk to the bottom of the award-winning garden at Coleton Fishacre.

10) Hoist Point

Hoist Point

If you're after a strenuous hike, head towards Hoist Point, the highest point along the South Devon coastline. Starting in the picturesque village of Kingston, near Ringmore, head through the fields along the marked path at Scobbiscombe Farm.

Once you reach the cliff edge viewpoint, turn left and head up to Beacon Point. Continue to reach the peak of Hoist Point, where you will be rewarded with spectacular panoramic views before dropping down a steep path to Westcombe beach.