Walk - Runnymede Gardens, Ilfracombe
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.
This walk is one of a series of walks to be found at www.phototrails.org The website aims "to help everyone discover and enjoy access to the countryside, tailored to their own needs and preferences." It is run by the Fieldfare Trust who work with people with disabilities and countryside managers to improve access to the countryside for everyone.
Runnymede gardens is a small enclosed garden close to the Landmark Theatre, Ilfracombe Museum and the sea front in Ilfracombe. There is a car park adjacent and there are 7 accessible parking spaces close by although not in the car park itself. All users have to pay for parking.
- The gardens have one stepped entrance in Wilder Road and one level entrance opposite the Theatre.
The gardens are mainly level with a small stream running through the middle. There is a meandering footpath round the gardens with narrow footpaths criss-crossing the gardens with small stone bridges over the stream. In the centre of the gardens is a bandstand which has 6 steps up to the seating area. There are low walls either side of the steps but no handrails. The gardens are used annually during a Victorian week event. The stream running through the gardens has stone edging all along it which give some indication to visually impaired people but there are no upstands or any other tactile warning of the stream. The flow at the time of the survey was low so there was no sound to help identify its location. The gardens currently have a line of timber hoarding along the western boundary where there used to be a building that has now been demolished. Two of the footpaths terminate at the hoarding.
Although now North Devon's largest holiday town, Ilfracombe has its origins in Saxon times and is mentioned in the Domesday Book. During the medieval period it had two centres, around the church and around the harbour. It was important as a fishing harbour and commercial port and there was a quay here in the Middle Ages.
Ilfracombe began to develop as a holiday resort in the early 1800s, although it was the coming of the railway in the 1870s which really marked the beginning of the town's large-scale expansion. As a result of this it is now one of Devon's best examples of a town dominated by Victorian architecture.