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National Trust walks in Devon

There is no better way to appreciate the beauty and wildlife in Devon than on a walk. Challenging coastal walks, moorland treks and ambles in search of butterflies can all be found on or near National Trust properties.
There is no better way to appreciate the beauty and wildlife in Devon than on a walk. Challenging coastal walks, moorland treks and ambles in search of butterflies can all be found on or near National Trust properties.

Teign Valley

A pleasant one-to-two hour walk along the Teign Valley is a wonderful way to enjoy Devon’s wildlife, birds and herons. Start the walk in Drewsteignton and join the Two Moors Way which runs across the county from Ivybridge to Lynmouth, crossing both Dartmoor and Exmoor. Once you reach the river valley, follow the Hunters Path westwards with its breathtaking vistas. Take a break at Castle Drogo, a National Trust gem and the last castle to be built in England.

Cross the river on the dainty bridge then follow what is known as the Anglers Path where you may see herons and woodland awash with bluebells in early summer. Detour for refreshments at Fingle Bridge if you wish, before returning to the starting point via Drewston Woods.

The National Trust medieval manor at Bradley, just outside Newton Abbot, is well worth adding to your itinerary to see its grotesque stone carvings on the exterior and carved oak within.

Killerton Butterfly Walk

A leisurely 4-mile circular walk can be enjoyed in the Ashclyst Forest near the National Trust property of Killerton House at Broadclyst. The bridlepath runs through fields and woods where Fritillary butterflies, bright-winged Peacocks and White Admirals can readily be seen. Finish the walk in the tearoom at Killerton. The estate boasts stunning gardens and a historic costume collection in the house.

Sidmouth to Seaton along the Jurassic Coast

This is a full day’s walk along the South West Coast Path running for 9 miles along this World Heritage Site. Stunning scenery is on offer, but at a price. This walk involves total elevation gain of over 4000 feet, so expect tired legs on the bus ride back to Sidmouth! Highlights along the way include the National Trust owned Branscombe Manor and Mill. Beer Head is famous for its fossils in the chalky cliffs and Beer is one of Devon’s prettiest seaside villages for exploring or enjoying afternoon tea.

Combe Martin to Lynton

This 10-mile walk is a challenge even for keen walkers, but you can just do the first part of the walk as far as Martinhoe if you prefer. This half has slightly less hills to climb and still offers magnificent scenery. Highlights, apart from the two attractive villages at the start and end of the walk, are Great Hangman Cliffs, the highest in Britain at 244m. The walk joins the Tarka Trail for a couple of miles at Holdstone Hill, passes beautiful Heddon’s Mouth Beach and the Valley of Rocks. These rocky outcrops are home to wild goats which you may see regarding you warily from their precarious perch on Rugged Jack.

Lynton to Porlock

This 11-mile coastal walk takes in the diversity of Exmoor – woodland, river valleys, open moorland and scenic coastline – along the edge of the national park. Look out for the Giant’s Rib, a natural rock arch, and prepare for a long steady climb out of Countisbury. Towards the end of the walk, the scenic footpath from Porlockford Bridge is a pleasant way to reach Porlock.

These are just a few of the selection of walks through beautiful National Trust countryside. More details and maps are available here.

About Gillian Birch

Born in Cheshire, Gillian Birch moved to Cornwall at her earliest opportunity and never looked back. After 20 years, her ongoing discovery of popular attractions, quiet footpaths and local eateries has made her a fount of knowledge as she entertains readers with her informative articles on the hidden gems of Devon & Cornwall from a local point-of-view.

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