Walk - East Budleigh
Walk information provided with help from Natural England. Map reproduced by permission of Ordnance Survey on behalf of HMSO. © Crown copyright and database right 2020. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100022021.
- From the Lime Kiln car park take the path which leads out of the far left-hand corner, inland along the small stream, and carry on straight ahead when the Coast Path branches off to the right, at the top of the car park. Walk along the river path until you reach South Farm Road.
The whole of the river valley was once an estuary deep enough for vessels as large as 100 tons to dock at Otterton, some considerable distance inland, and this made the area one of the major ports in mediaeval times (see the Passaford and Pavers walk).
Over time the river silted up, so that by 1808 John, Lord Rolle, who owned the land at the time, decided to build an embankment to channel the water along the eastern side of the estuary and convert the 163 acres on this side to grassland. The work was scheduled to be completed by Christmas Day 1811, at a cost of £2862.
Lord Rolle was a great advocate of canal-building, and had already been a major influence in the building of the Torrington/Rolle Canal in his North Devon territories in 1827. The plans for the embankment along the River Otter also showed a canal, presumably intended to make it possible for shipping to continue up the valley, but it was never built.
The construction of the embankment was plagued with problems caused by flooding which was caused by the diversion of the waterways, as well as by storms. In March 1811 flooding at the mouth of the estuary washed away the bridge in Budleigh Salterton, making it necessary to divert labour from the construction of the embankment to bridge-building, and in October of that year unusually high tides caused further delays. In November 1824 a violent storm damaged much of the seafront and breached the embankment, so that a further four-figure sum had to be spent on its repair.
The same storm swept the boats of Budleigh Salterton out to sea; and according to notes in the Fairlynch Museum, 'the sandy beach became pebbles'. Presumably these pebbles were washed from the face of West Cliff on the seafront, today a noted feature of East Devon's Triassic coastline (see the Colaton Raleigh walk).
- At South Farm Road turn left on the road and walk up to the main road, turning right and crossing it carefully to continue up the small road on the opposite side, forking left and then right to continue up Kersbrook Lane.
- Turn left on the main road half a mile or so beyond. This road can be busy, so stay on the verge and keep an eye on the traffic. Cross the road and walk past Tidwell Manor until you come to the footpath which heads around the back of it to Shortwood Common.
Tidwell was a mediaeval manor, but the current house was built on a new site in 1725 as a gentleman's residence and is a grade II listed building.
- When the path hits the track at Shortwood Lane, take the footpath to the right and with it climb uphill beside the trees to cross the common. Coming out onto the open ground on the far side of it,carry on in the same direction for about 200 yards, until you come to Hayeswood Lane.
Hayeswood Lane is an ancient Hollow Way, or Trackway, which has been used by drovers for hundreds, possibly thousands, of years (see the Greystone Hill walk).
- Reaching the track at Hayeswood Lane, you have two options:
The first is to turn right onto the track and follow it to East Budleigh, ignoring the next track which crosses it about three quarters of a mile later. Reaching East Budleigh, turn right onto Middle Street.
The other option is to turn left for a circular detour of about a mile and a half, en route visiting key places from Sir Walter Raleigh's early life. Walking about 300 yards westwards along the edge of Hayes Wood (Raleigh's childhood playground), you come to a footpath on the right, going into the wood. Following this through the wood and across the field beyond brings you to Hayes Barton, Raleigh's birthplace. Turn right in front of it, and walk along Hayes Lane for about a mile, until you come to East Budleigh. On your right before you reach the village is Vicar's Mead, where Raleigh was educated. Turn right when you reach the village, and walk down the High Street, bearing right with it onto Middle Street, where you rejoin the shorter route at 6.
Raleigh was one of Elizabeth I's favourites, and he was knighted in 1585 after his part in quashing rebellions in Ireland and then colonising Virginia under a royal patent. The Queen was less impressed with him, however, when he secretly married her lady-in-waiting Elizabeth Throckmorton – a misdemeanour for which both miscreants were imprisoned in the Tower of London, although they were eventually set free and retired to his estate in Sherbourne, Dorset.
In 1594 he sailed for South America in search of El Dorado, the City of Gold, which restored him to royal favour; but when Elizabeth died he was again imprisoned in the Tower, this time charged with spying. However, he was once more released, in order to conduct another expedition to El Dorado. Not only was the expedition unsuccessful, but some of his men ransacked a Spanish outpost: a crime for which Raleigh paid with his life on his return to England, in order that the Spanish king should be appeased.
- Walk down Middle Street, bearing left through Lower Budleigh and carrying on to the main road running through from Newton Poppleford to Budleigh Salterton.
- Cross the road and carry on along Frogmore Road, opposite, for about three hundred yards.
- When the road curves to the left, pick up the footpath to the right and follow it across fields to the river.
- Turn right onto the river path and follow it until you hit the other end of South Farm Road, about a mile beyond, ignoring the path to your right at the aqueduct.
- Join the Coast Path here, crossing the road and carrying on alongside the River Otter and through the nature reserve, back to the car park and the start of the walk.
In Budleigh Salterton or East Budleigh