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Tarka Trail - Great Torrington to Westward Ho

Hiking route · United Kingdom
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  • St Michael & All Angels Church
    St Michael & All Angels Church
    Photo: George Hudson, Macs Adventure
m 100 50 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 km
An easy walk along a mixture of stoney, mud and smooth concrete paths, including a section of the famous Tarka Trail. Start in the sleepy town of Great Torrington and walk along the River Torridge to the seaside town of Westward Ho! 
easy
Distance 16.5 km
4:00 h
101 m
190 m
109 m
1 m
Great Torrington is a small town that has a rich history and cultural heritage, and can be explored before setting off on the walk. Start at the impressive St Michael & All Angel's Church before joining a public path that meanders through forest before joining the Tarka Trail, made famous by Henry Williamson's novel. Walking along a flat section of the Tarka Trail, you have the chance to enjoy the rural and river scenery, as well as the local wildlife such as Grey Heron, Sedge Warblers and salmon. The route passes through the market town of Bideford which is home to a number of traditional shops before winding along a short section of the South West Coast Path to the finishing point in Westward Ho!

Author’s recommendation

 A relatively simple walk to get you into the swing of things, we recommned taking some time to explore the Royal Horticultural Society Garden Rosemoor on the outskirts of Great Torrington - the peaceful garden is one of four in the UK. 
Profile picture of George  Hudson
Author
George Hudson
Update: September 21, 2017
Difficulty
easy
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
109 m
Lowest point
1 m

Safety information

There are a few short sections where you are required to walk over or alongside country roads, please take care when crossing especially if walking with children. 

Tips and hints

 

here are numerous places to stops to refuel along the way, especially in Bideford and Northam. However, as ever we would advise you to carry enough snacks and water to last you the whole day.

 

Points of interest

 

RHS Garden Rosemoor - located about 1.5km outsode of Great Torrington on the A3124 the RHS Garden Rosemoor is one of four gardens that the Royal Horticultural Society owns in the UK. Gardeners or anyone interested in aesthetics will enjoy spending an hour exploring the various gardens including; the woodland garden, the fruit & vegetable garden, the hot garden, the cottage garden and the stone garden.

https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/rosemoor/plan-your-visit

 

Great Torrington Heritage Museum - conveniently located in the centre of Great Torrington, the Heritage Museum has a number of interesting artefacts that reflect the interesting history of what is an ancient market town. Situated on South Street.

http://www.torringtonmuseum.org.uk/

 

Bideford - in the 16th century Bideford had Britain's 3rd largest port, and remained an important maritime town right up until the 20th century. The Victorian novelist Charles Kingsley described Bideford as, "The Little White Town which slopes upward from its broad river tide " . Little has changed from when Kingsley lived in the area nearly 150 years ago during which he wrote part of his well-known novel Westward Ho! Today, Bideford is both a thriving market town and working port and amongst the many buildings and places of interest you will find the historic covered Pannier Market, dating from 1883, which holds a market every Tuesday and Saturday. Take some time to explore the narrow streets and traditional shops. 

 

https://www.devonguide.com/bideford

 

Start

St Michael & All Angel's Church in Great Torrington (105 m)
Coordinates:
OS Grid
SS 49521 19227
DD
50.952781, -4.143732
DMS
50°57'10.0"N 4°08'37.4"W
UTM
30U 419664 5645196
w3w 
///zips.obtain.moons

Destination

Westward Ho! Town Centre.

Turn-by-turn directions

0.00km - With St Michael & All Angel's Church on left walk STRAIGHT ON.

0.35km - TURN RIGHT onto Stonemans Lane.

0.55km - Stonemans Lane leads to muddy public footpath, on right you will see the glass factory, TURN LEFT walking away from the factory. 

0.95km - BEAR RIGHT before the gate to stay on the more established, stoney path. You are walking along the perimeter wall of a cemetary.

1.10km - At corner of cemetery, TURN RIGHT, heading downhill. Stay on the stoney path as it meanders downhill towards the river. Cross the small bridge. 

1.50km - BEAR RIGHT staying on the stoney path and heading uphill.

1.60km - BEAR LEFT onto level & mud/gravel path.

1.70km - You will come to a fork in the path, continue STRAIGHT ON ignoring the path on the right that heads uphill. 

1.90km - BEAR LEFT, crossing over the river. Continue up the path towards the sound of the road. 

2.10km - When you reach the road, TURN RIGHT. You should see a brown sign for the Tarka Trail. Enter the car park and, on crossing over the railway siding TURN LEFT. You are now walking on the concrete Tarka Trail, heading northwest. Stay on the Tarka Trail for the next 8km.

10.50km - You will come to the site of the old Bideford railway Station. BEAR LEFT after the picnic benches at the large wooden Tarka Trail information board, heading towards the bridge over the River Torridge. Cross opver the bridge into Bideford. 

10.80km - At the end of the bridge TURN RIGHT. Walk along the quay for about 1 km, passing by the Victoria park and playing fields on left and skateboard ramps on right. 

11.90km - Continue STRAIGHT ON past Torridge District Council building into the residential area. Turn Right at iron bollards, following sticker for SWCP.

12.20km - TURN RIGHT onto Chircombe Lane, following wooden sign for Coast Path then BEAR RIGHT at fork following sign for Coast Path, heading uphill and walking under the road bridge.

12.40km - TURN RIGHT at small wooden sign for Coast Path into narrow, muddy path. Easy to miss so keep an eye out.

12.70km - TURN RIGHT onto Lower Cleave. Continue follwoing Coast Path/Acorn symbol signs. 

13.10km - At T junction in path TURN LEFT following Public Footpath sign. The path/road heads uphill and will eventually spit you out on Clevelands Park road. Follow the road. 

13.80km - You will reach Heywood Road (A386) TURN RIGHT, following road sign for Westward Ho!

14.00km - TURN LEFT onto Bay View road.

15.60km - TURN RIGHT onto Fosketh Hill, heading downhill. 

16.00km - BEAR RIGHT onto Nelson Road which will lead you back to the centre of Westward Ho! 

16.20km - The Holy Trinity Church should be on your right hand side. Continue along Nelson Road into the centre of Westward Ho! TURN LEFT onto Golf Links Road and walk down to the shore front where you will finish your walk.

Note


all notes on protected areas

Coordinates

OS Grid
SS 49521 19227
DD
50.952781, -4.143732
DMS
50°57'10.0"N 4°08'37.4"W
UTM
30U 419664 5645196
w3w 
///zips.obtain.moons
Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Equipment

The walking is on mostly level ground, with some sections through woodland where there may be exposed tree roots. You will be OK walking in shoes rather than boots and can afford to leave the walking poles at home. 

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Difficulty
easy
Distance
16.5 km
Duration
4:00 h
Ascent
101 m
Descent
190 m
Highest point
109 m
Lowest point
1 m
Refreshment stops available Family-friendly Cultural/historical interest Botanical highlights

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