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4 great New Year walks to take across Devon

Fernworthy: Photo: Simone Stanbrook-Byrne
Fernworthy: Photo: Simone Stanbrook-Byrne

Our walks writer Simone Stanbrook-Byrne suggests four blow-away-the-cobweb rambles to get you in step for the year ahead.

Great British Life: Ladram. Photo: Simone Stanbrook-ByrneLadram. Photo: Simone Stanbrook-Byrne

Ladram Bay

Map: OS Explorer 115 Exmouth & Sidmouth 1:25 000

Start: Otterton, EX9 7HG. Grid ref: SY079852

Refreshments: Options in Otterton and nearby Budleigh Salterton

A riverside walk from Otterton links with the South West Coast Path, near Budleigh, where ‘habitat restoration’ work in the Lower Otter estuary has recently been undertaken. Head along the view-rich coast path to Ladram Bay, with its extraordinary rock stacks – all part of the Jurassic Coast, showcasing 185 million years of Earth’s geological history. Beyond Ladram Bay there are various options to return inland to Otterton. About 7.5 miles.

Great British Life: Culmstock beacon. Photo: Simone Stanbrook-ByrneCulmstock beacon. Photo: Simone Stanbrook-Byrne

Culmstock Beacon

Map: OS Explorer 128, Taunton & the Blackdown Hills 1:25 000

Start: Culmstock, EX15 3JH. Grid ref: ST101136

Refreshments: Strand Stores, Culmstock; Culm Valley Inn, Culmstock

From the village, quiet lanes then footpaths lead to the lofty and historic beacon on the edge of the Blackdowns, once one of the beacons used to alert England to the proximity of the Spanish Armada. Descend through the access land of Culm Davy Plantation to Culm Davy. Lanes and footpaths lead back to the River Culm via Pitthayne and Pitt Farms, then along the river back to Culmstock. About 6 miles.

Great British Life: Fernworthy. Photo: Alex Heath / GettyFernworthy. Photo: Alex Heath / Getty

Fernworthy Reservoir

Map: OS Explorer OL 28 Dartmoor 1:25 000

Start: Fernworthy Reservoir carpark. Grid ref: SX669839

Refreshments: Picnic benches!

A gorgeous round-reservoir walk – a manmade landscape but lovely, with an ‘infinity pool’ effect at the dam end when it’s full. The reservoir’s surface (at full volume) is 78 acres and it holds around 380 million gallons of water. The map shows historic sites around the lake and the walk can be extended up into Fernworthy Forest to visit Fernworthy stone circle, part of a group of ceremonial monuments thought to be 4,000 years old. About 3.5 miles.

Great British Life: Lee. Photo: Mark Poley / GettyLee. Photo: Mark Poley / Getty


Map: OS Explorer 139 Bideford, Ilfracombe & Barnstaple 1:25 000

Start: Car park opposite church and craft gallery in Lee. Post code: EX34 8LW; grid ref: SS485463

Refreshments: Old Schoolroom Gallery (snacks); Grampus Inn. Both in Lee

A superb and hilly four-mile walk which heads east along the coast then goes inland past Lincombe and the Campscotts, before returning to Lee past Windcutter Hill and through wind-tumbled Vollature Wood. The Grampus Inn offers a warm and hearty welcome to walkers at the end of a winter blast.


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