Walks around Barnstaple

Barnstaple is a lovely town near the North Devon coast. It's history as a town extends back to the 900's and it was a very significant port for trade for hundreds of years. Five ships that set out from Barnstaple went to help the British fleet to defeat the Spanish Armada in 1588.

Today the town is the gateway to the well known surfing spots of Croyde and Woolacombe just further north. Around Barnstaple there are lots of great walks. Westward Ho! ,a little further south, has a great geological history, on the way you could go to Appledore or Instow across the estuary. 

  • Appledore & Northam Burrows - 6.7 miles (10.8 km)

    Westward Ho! Photographer Kevin Young, Hornchurch
    Moderate

    A walk around Northam Burrows, at the mouth of the Taw-Torridge estuary, where Westward Ho!'s pebble ridge shields a rare wildlife site of grassy coastal plain fronted by salt marsh and sand dunes. Starting in Charles Kingsley's 'Little White Fishing Village' at Appledore, the route passes Europe's largest covered shipyard, where nearly 200 vessels have been built, and an ancient battleground where 1000 Vikings are said to have been slaughtered.

    This walk is particularly good for dogs as it passes a beach...

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  • Codden Hill from Barnstaple Station - 8.5 miles (13.8 km)

    Walking on the Tarka Trail from Barnstaple towards Bideford. Photographer Colin Milner.
    Challenging

    This walk crosses the old Victorian railway bridge and winds along the tidal River Taw, to follow the Tarka Trail along a riverside woodland walk to Venn Quarry. Footpaths, quiet country roads and an old green lane lead to the top of Codden Hill, site of an ancient bowl barrow and a modern monument, with breathtaking views for miles in every direction. 

     

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  • Home Farm Marsh Walk from Barnstaple Station - 8.7 miles (14.0 km)

    Fremington Quay. Photographer Derek Chaplin, Fremington, Barnstaple.
    Moderate

    The South West Coast Path and the Tarka Trail follow the old Bideford railway line along the River Taw. At Home Farm Marsh, at Fremington, the Gaia Trust has restored the wetlands lost when the farm was an intensive dairy farming unit, and traditional methods of farming have encouraged the return of many species of wildlife. A good walk for children, who will love the old limekiln that looks like a castle, as well as the remnants of the railway and the tour of the...

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  • Torridge Tarka Trail - 3.3 miles (5.2 km)

    Art at Instow. Photographer Tom Hynes
    Easy

    From Bideford catch the bus to Instow, a Victorian seaside resort and one of the south west's most important training areas for the D-Day Landings. Walk back along the eastern bank of the River Torridge, following the Tarka Trail cycleway along the old railway line. Fascinating features along the way include a country mansion with a colourful history and a medieval bridge that kept falling down.

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  • Westward Ho! Kingsley & Kipling Walk - 5.8 miles (9.4 km)

    Signpost, Westward Ho!
    Challenging

    A stroll uphill from the seaside resort of Westward Ho!, made fashionable in Victorian times by Charles Kingsley's novel of the same name. The route travels over Kipling Tor, named after another nineteenth-century novelist with Westward Ho! connections, Rudyard Kipling. Circling the high ground behind Bideford, with dramatic views out across the Bristol Channel as far as Lundy Island, twelve miles offshore, it then returns along the Coast Path. Here high cliffs drop to rocky ridges pointing out into the foam-fringed breakers that roll...

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  • Westward Ho! to Cornborough Cliffs - 2.1 miles (3.3 km)

    The end of a perfect day. Abbotsham Cliffs. Photographer nick woodrow (2012 Photo Competition entry)
    Easy

    An easy walk from the outskirts of Westward Ho! along an old railway line to a viewing point on Cornborough Cliffs offering spectacular views across Bideford Bay towards Clovelly and Hartland Point. A good walk in spring, when the sea breezes whip the waves into white horses, seabirds nest among clumps of pink thrift on cliff ledges and stonechats call from bushes laden with blossom. Also good in autumn, when the noisy migrant birds start gathering in the bushes, ready to leave, and the gorse...

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