Pound the paths of East Devon this Summer

PUBLISHED: 16:03 10 July 2020

There is a circular walk that takes in the River Otter, Budleigh Salterton and Otterton. Picture: Simon Horn

There is a circular walk that takes in the River Otter, Budleigh Salterton and Otterton. Picture: Simon Horn

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Take to one of the many footpaths or bridleways in the area this July...

Walkers can follow the South West Coast Path from Ladram Bay to Seaton. Picture: Alex Walton PhotographyWalkers can follow the South West Coast Path from Ladram Bay to Seaton. Picture: Alex Walton Photography

If you want to escape the crowds this summer, then you may wish to pound one of the many footpaths or bridleways in the area instead.

East Devon is a hiker’s paradise with miles of wide, narrow, flat, steep, undulating, tarmacked and earthy footpaths, stretching across a vast expanse of coastline and countryside.

Residents have the luxury of taking their pick of walks depending on how they may be feeling on a particular day.

Here’s a small selection of what’s on offer...

The South West Coast Path offers a strenuous challenge. Picture: Alex Walton. Ref shs 0001- 16-15AWThe South West Coast Path offers a strenuous challenge. Picture: Alex Walton. Ref shs 0001- 16-15AW

Challenging Walks

East Devon Way

If you’re wanting a marathon of a walk, rather than a sprint, then the 40 miles of the East Devon Way should prove to be just the ticket. Running inland, and broadly parallel to the coastline between Exmouth and Lyme Regis, the route largely follows a series of public footpaths and bridleways. Its rural terrain is pretty diverse, featuring heathland, agricultural land, pebble bed commons, woodlands and river valleys. There’s an option to extend the hike, by walking back along the South West Coast Path, making a 70-mile circular walk a possibility. To work out how to break up the walk into different daily sections, visit www.eastdevonway.org.uk

The Coast Path between Ladram Bay and Seaton

Part of the East Devon Way goes along the banks of the River Coly at Colyton. Ref edr 35 17TI 9930. Picture: Terry IfePart of the East Devon Way goes along the banks of the River Coly at Colyton. Ref edr 35 17TI 9930. Picture: Terry Ife

For a challenging walk to get the heart pumping, the steep ascents and descents along the coast path from Ladram Bay to Sidmouth, then on to Branscombe, Beer and Seaton, should give you plenty of hands-on-knees, catch-your-breath moments. With the towns and villages placed conveniently en route, there are plenty of excuses to stop and replenish.

Circular Walks

Budleigh to Otterton and back

A delightful riverside ramble that can accommodate a welcome mid-way stop for something to eat and drink, starts at Lime Kiln car park in Budleigh Salterton. From the car park a largely level path runs alongside the River Otter inland towards the village of Otterton, which is a great place to grab something tasty from Otterton Mill or the recently re-opened The Kings Arms pub which, incidentally, has a spacious beer garden. En route back to Budleigh, look out for the beavers, otters and kingsfishers, that call the river home. This walk is around seven miles and will take around four to five hours, including a stop for a bite to eat.

Colyton, Shute Hill and the Axe Valley

The moderate-graded walk, taking in Colyton, Shute Hill and part of the Axe Valley, is an interesting circular, rewarding hikers with panoramic views of the Axe Valley – with Axminster to the north east and Seaton, and the sea, to the south. It is roughly eight miles in length and should take around four hours to complete. Various points of historic interest line the route including views of Musbury Castle hill fort.

Colaton Raleigh Circular

A leisurely trek of around five miles, is the popular Colaton Raleigh Circular that conveniently leaves a wide berth from the MOD Range that it seems to circle. The track starts at Woodbury Common, leading on to Colaton Raleigh Common, and crosses open heathland and then woodland around Woodbury Castle. Plenty of vantage points along the route include excellent views of East Hill, the Otter Valley, Mutters Moor, the coast and Peak Hill, that give walkers ample opportunities to pause and breath in the peacefulness of the place. During the warm summer months, it is common to spot gatekeeper butterflies fluttering about.

A pick of some of the rest:

● Seaton Wetlands – the appeal of this beautiful nature reserve, with its abundance of wildlife, led to a sell-out of all of its bespoke guided walking tours throughout July. Further walks are scheduled to take place so do call the team on 01395 517557 to find out more.

● At low tide, it’s pretty hard to beat the short-looped walk from Exmouth to Devon Cliffs at Sandy Bay, taking in the coastal path along the cliffs in one direction and walking along the wide sandy beach on the way back. Or vice versa, of course.

Websites for Walks:

Keep the details of these websites close to hand for when you want to venture outdoors. Each site has a plethora of walks, with detailed descriptions.

● EDDC Countryside services: https://eastdevon.gov.uk/countryside/walks-in-east-devon/

● East Devon Area of Natural Beauty: www.eastdevonaonb.org.uk/explore/get-active/walking

● South West Coast Path: www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/walk-coast-path/south-west-coast-path-national-trail/day-walks/

● Wild East Devon: www.wildeastdevon.co.uk

● Ordnance Survey and Natural England have designed a useful go-to guide, providing important information about what outdoor spaces are open, car park opening hours and the available facilities in popular spots. For more information visit www.getoutside.co.uk/covid/


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