8 of the best Devon dog walks during lockdown

Hope Cove & Outer Hope from Bolt Tail (c) Keith Murray, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Hope Cove & Outer Hope from Bolt Tail (c) Keith Murray, Flickr (CC BY 2.0) - Credit: Archant

Read on for Natalie Millar-Partridge’s pick of the best Devon dog walks in the area, make sure to abide with social distancing rules

Hisley Bridge

1) Parke to Lustleigh - 6.8 miles

Start/finish: The Cleave, Lustleigh - Dog friendly in the bar area and back restaurant.

An unspoilt and dramatic part of Devon on the edge of Dartmoor, follow the River Bovey from Parke Estate into the picturesque village of Lustleigh, along a well-defined path, that runs parallel to the abandoned railway line to Moretonhampstead.

When you reach the old packhorse bridge, turn right onto a public footpath and continue the steep climb into Lustleigh. The route follows a bridlepath past the cricket grounds, before joining a lane that will take you left into the village where you will find The Cleave, offering a super Sunday roast and selection of local beverages.

In Wistman's Wood

2) Wistman's Wood and Littaford Tor - 5 miles

Start/finish: Two Bridges Hotel, Princetown. Dog friendly in all areas of the hotel, other than the restaurant. Dog treats in the bar and welcome packs left in the rooms, including treats, toys and a bowl.

Starting at Two Bridges Hotel, turn right, crossing the road to Crockern Cottage, at the end of the track. Follow the footpath alongside the cottage garden wall and enjoy the views to the West Dart valley to Wistman's Wood. Continue on the path to Wistman's Wood, one of the last surviving native Dartmoor woodlands, home to over 100 species of lichens.

Cross a wall with a stile and as you approach the wood, take a detour through the gnarly trees by using a path between the rocks and moss-covered boulders. Re-join the path to the higher right side of the woods and carry on until you reach the end, then turn right uphill to the high pointed Longaford Tor for staggering views across Dartmoor.

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The return journey follows the high ground south, along a path to Littaford Tor and to a high stile in a wall corner, from here fork downhill in the direction of the distant television mast and Two Bridges Hotel for a well-earned cream tea!


3) Shaldon/Maidencombe via the South West Coast Path - 6 miles

Start/finish: The Thatched Tavern, Maidencombe - Dog friendly throughout the bar area as well as the rooms.

A particularly stunning walk that follows the South West Coast Path from Shaldon into the village of Maidencombe, taking in some impressive scenery, with staggering views from the highest point.

Park at Ness Car Park, Shaldon, and pick up the coastal path that begins parallel to the golf course. Follow the signposts all the way into the village of Maidencombe, where you will find the Thatched Tavern, an ideal spot for a Sunday lunch by an open fire, or local ale in the beer garden, unbeatable on warmer days.


Some more great Devon walks:

Beer, Devon


4) Beer to Branscombe - 4.5 miles

Start or finish: at the Mason Arms - Dog friendly in the bar area, and beer garden, with seven dog friendly rooms available.

A simply gorgeous coastal walk in East Devon which includes strenuous stretches of uphill climbing, well worth the effort for the spectacular coastal and valley views of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. Perfect for picnicking and buzzard spotting on warmer days.

Walk out of the village and continue along the cliff tops until the path descends via 83 steep steps down to Branscombe Mouth cove. This is a great spot to take a rest or perhaps a dip in the sea! Continue along the track, gently up the valley to the second river bridge where you turn right.

Follow this track right into the village of Branscombe, where you will find The Mason Arms, with its large beer garden, serving locally sourced pub classics and exclusive Brewer & Bean coffee.

Castle Drogo

5) Teign Gorge and Castle Drogo - 3.5 miles

Start/finish: Fingle Bridge Inn - Dog friendly in the bar, well stocked with dog treats.

Follow the breathtaking Hunter's Path, high above the River Teign, or Fisherman's Path, alongside the river banks; walk through history and abundant wildlife, following the river, surrounded by oak woodland, passing Sharp Tor, a rocky outcrop that juts out from Hunters Path, follow signs to Castle Drogo - the last castle to be built in England.

Fisherman's Path passes the end of the Drogo Weir, and on the opposite side of the river, is Foresters Track, if you follow this route, you can look downstream from the suspension bridge to see the Weir. Climb a stone stile over the Deer Park wall and cross the bridge to join Fisherman's Path.

Turf Hotel

6) Exeter Quay to Turf Locks, passing Double Locks - 12 miles round trip

Start/finish: Turf Lock Hotel - Dog friendly throughout, dog treats and Lily's Kitchen doggie dinners ordered at the bar.

Parking at the Exeter Quayside, this is a lengthy, yet easy-going walk, along the banks of the canal, taking in an abundance of plant and wildlife, passing the Double Locks, ideal for a refreshment stop-off.

The six-mile walk is level, so easy going and once at the Turf, you will find an array of areas to relax over local, seasonal fare, sample the alfresco barbeque and enjoy the beer garden with spectacular estuary views. *It is worth noting The Turf Lock is closed throughout December and January.

Tarr Steps, Exmoor, West Somerset

7) Tarr Steps, Dulverton, Exmoor - 4 miles

Start/finish: at Tarr Farm Inn - dog friendly in all areas other than the restaurant, with treats at the bar. Dog beds, towels, bowls and treats are left in dog friendly rooms.

A beautiful circular walk that runs alongside the River Barle in the Exmoor National Park; take in woodland and the old Clapper Bridge, dating back to medieval times, it forms part of the Tarr Steps National Nature Reserve.

Begin the walk from the car park, east of the bridge and follow the path to the river before crossing the ancient stone bridge by foot, then following the route along the river, crossing a little footbridge at Great Bradley after about two miles. Relax in the beer garden at Tarr Farm Inn, with fabulous views over the bridge.

The route uses a section of the Two Moors Way, long distance trail, allowing you to extend your walk; simply continue north along the river to Withypool. Here you can follow trails to Landacre Bridge, where you will find further ancient monuments.

Hope Cove & Outer Hope - from Bolt Tail

8) Hope Cove to Bolberry Down - 5.5 miles

Start/finish: at The Hope and Anchor Inn - Dog friendly throughout, with dog treats aplenty.

Set in one of Devon's prettiest coves, with sandy beaches, this is an exhilarating coastal walk that takes in the delights of Kingsbridge and the surrounding area. Begin the walk on the seafront at Hope Cove and follow the path round to Bolt tail. The headland is the site of an Iron Age promontory fort and commands fabulous views along the coast into Cornwall. Continue along the path, east to Bolberry Down where you will find some great footpaths with picturesque views over to Burgh Island and Bigbury Bay.

Back at the Hope and Anchor, relax and enjoy the views from the suntrap terrace, whilst tucking in to some stylish pub grub, and award-winning St Austell Brewery Ales.


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