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England – Devon

  • 7 Night Route

    Price: £745
  • 6 Night Route

    Price: £675
  • 5 Night Route

    Price: £620

A tale of two rivers

Back to Routes
Exeter Cathedral

Exeter Cathedral

Widecombe

Widecombe

Grimspound

Grimspound

Buckfast Abbey

Buckfast Abbey

Leaving Buckfastleigh

Leaving Buckfastleigh

Hookney Tor

Hookney Tor

Leaving Totnes

Leaving Totnes

South Devon Railway

South Devon Railway

Bow Creek

Bow Creek

'Greenways' - Agatha Christie's home

'Greenways' - Agatha Christie's home

Bayard's Cove

Bayard's Cove

Dartmouth

Dartmouth

The gardens at Dartington Hall

The gardens at Dartington Hall

Price: £745
(2018 price: £785)
Nights: 7
Grade:
Walk: 3-6 hr/day
Max. party size: 10

Travellers Blog

Devon On Footer Caroline as artist

Wednesday 1st February | Posted by Simon Scutt

Devon On Footer Caroline as artist view article

Travellers Reviews

This is a wonderful, fabulous walk which we enjoyed enormously. You have done a

great job (our thanks to Caroline for working it out). Thank you so much.

Roger Davey, Chester

You’re certainly right about the Devon walk. It is absolutely lovely! We’ve had a lovely walk,

the scenery has been marvellous, the accommodation wonderful, and all the arrangements perfect. The accommodation has been excellent. The Maltsters and surrounds are beautiful and Mitchellcroft is the best B&B we’ve ever seen. Standing out; outstanding. We had a really lovely time! Thank you to all.

Leigh and Heny Fletcher, Australia

I wanted briefly to reassure you that our Tale of Two Rivers tour was a huge success.

Everything went perfectly to plan. We loved the walking, the route, all our overnight stops, and all the attractions and activities along the way. The girls had a wonderful time and putting them in charge of one of the map sets gave us a suitable treasure hunt dimension to the week. We were blessed with the weather and it was especially satisfying to experience Dartmoor both bathed in sunshine and shrouded in mist.

Mike Unwin, Brighton

More independent feedback
About the Route

At a glance

7 nights (6 walking days) - the full route. We recommend extra nights in any accommodation (upgrading for extra comfort)

How much walking?

Full days: 11-19 km per day, 3-6 hrs walking
Using shortening options: 10-14 km per day, 3-4 hrs

Max. Grade:

A tale of two rivers

Devon and Cornwall occupy the south-west peninsula of England, an area defined by England’s remarkable maritime heritage.  Devon, perhaps the lesser known of the two counties, nevertheless contains three great and ancient ports of which two, Exeter and Dartmouth, form the beginning and end of this route.

The journey between the two centres takes you through some of the most beautiful and varied country in the British Isles. After a night in medieval Exeter and a short bus ride (walkers can opt to stay in the village of Dunsford instead), the route takes you up the wooded Teign Gorge to stylish Chagford, stopping en-route to visit imposing Castle Drogo. Then on to legendary Dartmoor: windswept downs of a lonely and unsurpassable beauty and the background to much literature, both romantic and mystical.  Overnight in pretty Widecombe-in-the-Moor, then a breathtaking walk along the fringes of the moor to the upper reaches of the River Dart, where your journey back to the sea begins.  Buckfast Abbey, Dartington Hall and the fine town of Totnes itself line themselves along this majestic waterway, winding down to the sea at the historic town of Dartmouth, from where many a buccaneer sailed and, more notably, the base from which the Pilgrim Fathers sailed in the Mayflower to colonise the New World (watch out for celebrations in 2020).

Staying in country inns and carefully chosen B&Bs, and with a variety of ways to shorten and ease the walking (including a steam train and a river steamer!), the walker will experience the best that England can offer, though should be ready to navigate intelligently as the paths are not always well signed.

Walked by Simon and Harriet.

REVIEWS: For independent walker reviews of this route submitted to the Association of Independent Tour Operators visit AITO.com

ARTICLES: Read an article on the Silver Travel Advisor website about On Foot’s Devon holiday here.

Writer Andrew Morris also managed to coincide with the annual Fair at Widecombe-in-the-Moor during his trip, and wrote about it here.

Route Highlights

  • Exeter cathedral with its incredible vaulted ceiling
  • The wooded Teign Gorge and Lutyens’ Castle Drogo
  • Stylish Chagford
  • Dartmoor, wild hills and long views
  • Widecombe-in-the-Moor
  • Buckfast Abbey and Dartington Hall
  • Totnes High Street
  • Sharpham vineyard – wine and cheese tasting
  • The Dart estuary
  • Agatha Christie’s Greenway
  • Dartmouth

We Recommend

Upgrades in various stops - stay at Dartington Hall, watching an arthouse film in the evening and dining in the vaulted hall.

How much Walking?

Full days: 11-19 km per day, 3-6 hrs walking
Using shortening options: 10-14 km per day, 3-4 hrs

Reasonable signposting on most days, though navigational alertness needed, particularly Chagford-Widecombe across the moor.  Highest point of route 530m. Underfoot conditions mainly good.

Medium: Average cumulative uphill stretches (CUSs) 441m (300m-600m) per day.

Easy-Medium: CUSs 279m (100m-400m) using shortening options

Important note: Times given for each day are  walking times for an “average” walker and exclude stops.  “CUSs” stands for “Cumulative Uphill Stretches” and measures the aggregated ascents in each day, expressed in metres of climb.  See “Walk Grading” for more information.

When to go?

The best months to walk
May , June , July , August , September , October

Other possible months
April , November

The best time to go is any time between May and October, though the summer months can have accommodation availability problems so you may not get the accommodation you hoping for.  In early and late season the length of daylight can make the use of shortening options sensible.

Start Dates

Recommended
Possible
Unavailable

Weather Chart

 

Temperature and rainfall chart for Dartington

Itinerary

About the Route

Day 1 - Arrive in Exeter (or Dunsford)

Arrive in Exeter, check in to your accommodation and take a look at the cathedral and other ancient delights (a second night here would be rewarding). Alternatively travel on that day (bus or taxi) to charming Dunsford, and stay in the village to get into the rural swing without delay.

Day 2 - Dunsford to Chagford

Whether staying in Dunsford or starting with a short bus ride from Exeter, this long but easy walk follows the River Teign upstream through the remarkable Teign Gorge. Look out for black and white Dippers (river birds who can ‘fly’ through the water) sitting in the river along the way. You have the opportunity to visit an Iron Age fort before lunching at the atmospheric Fingle Bridge Inn, and then on to Castle Drogo, home of the Drewe family. Built by Edwin Lutyens in 1930, it is reportedly the last castle to be built in England. Your goal, Chagford, is a fine moorland town with some excellent shops and inns. (Medium: 4¾hrs, 19km, CUSs 350m) OR (Exeter starts only) Bus to Drewsteignton followed by easy walk via Castle Drogo (Easy: 2½hrs, 8km, CUSs 195m).

Day 3 - Chagford to Widecombe

Today’s walk follows the Two Moors Way for the whole of the day. Heading out of town along leafy lanes, your path leads south and up onto the high moor. After visiting Grimspound, a Bronze Age circular stone settlement, you continue up above the stone circle and along a ridge. On a fine day, the views from here are almost 360° of stunning countryside, with several tors in sight in the near and far distance. On reaching the far end of the ridge, you head down quickly to reach the village of Widecombe, your resting place for the night. (Medium-hard: 5½hrs, 19km, CUSs 730m). 

Alternative: If you prefer a shorter walk or the weather is inclement, each half of the day has a shorter version. The first half would be mainly on quiet asphalt road and the second would miss out the moorland section (Medium: 4hrs, 14km, CUSs 530m)

Day 4 - Widecombe to Scorriton

An easy start from Widecombe takes you up to spectacular high moorland and into the wooded West Webbern river valley at Jordan, to follow the ‘Two Moors Way’. Passing through tiny hamlets and woods (carpeted with bluebells in May), you will find yourself in seemingly forgotten places, untouched by the 21st century. Continuing through the picturesque village of Ponsworthy, you climb once again up onto moorland at Bel Tor Corner, to walk Dr Blackall’s Drive, an eccentric way along a high ridge above the stunning Dart River valley. Coming down off the moor at “New Bridge”, a pretty medieval bridge across the river Dart, and one of only a few crossing points on this section of the river, you head up through farmland to Scorriton for the night. (Easy-medium: 4hrs, 13km, CUSs 485m)

Day 5 - Scorriton to Dartington

Today’s walk takes you away from the moorland landscape of Dartmoor, and into the softer South Hams, with its voluptuous rolling hills and hidden valleys. The walk starts with a gentle introduction through ancient woodlands and then on to beautiful Buckfast Abbey. After this you enter the bucolic South Devon countryside, walking the delightful ‘green lanes’ to Staverton, where you will meet the River Dart once again. From Staverton you enter Dartington Hall Estate. Even if you are not staying here you should have a look at Dartington Hall, an Elizabethan Manor world famous for its summer music schools, and its beautiful quad and Great Hall. Here you can find refreshments and peace in various forms, not least in its gardens, complete with sculptures by Henry Moore. It’s then an easy walk down to Dartington village, to a welcome pint in the lively Cott Inn. (Medium: 5½hrs, 21km, CUSs 650m).

Alternative: If you would like a shorter day or simply have some different fun, you can take a steam train for the stretch from Buckfastleigh to Staverton and save 7km of walking (Easy-medium: 3½hrs, 14km, CUSs 405m)

Day 6 - Dartington to Tuckenhay

A short day spent walking in the South Hams of Devon, the area of South Devon between Dartmoor and the sea, visiting Totnes and a vineyard. This region is of gently undulating hills, verdant pastures and spectacular views of the river Dart. The moorland left far behind, you are following the River Dart to the tidal reach of the sea at Totnes and beyond towards the coast, to finish your day a few kilometres upriver from the sea. Highlights of the day include time to visit the beautiful town of Totnes with its famous High Street, and the vineyard at Sharpham, where you can taste the wines and cheeses produced there. (Easy-medium: 3hrs, 11km, CUSs 300m)

Day 7 - Tuckenhay to Dartmouth

A delightful end to your walk with quintessential English charm around every corner. The day starts with a steep but short climb out of Tuckenhay, leaving Bow Creek behind you. Passing through the delightful village of Cornworthy, you rejoin the river and have the option of walking right along the creek into Dittisham. After sampling Dittisham’s enviable collection of eateries, summon the boatman to ferry you across to Agatha Christie’s Greenway. It’s then an easy walk above the river into picturesque Kingswear, and another ferry sees you sail into beautiful Dartmouth, and journey’s end. (Medium: 4¾ hrs, 16km, CUSs 570m OR  shorten by taking boat from Greenway to Dartmouth Easy: 3 hrs, 7km, CUSs 2905m )

Departure day

Depart for home, or why not stay extra nights in this fine old seaport? Whichever, your options for getting home include a steam train to the railhead at Paignton or a boat trip to Totnes!

Travel Information

ARRIVING BY AIR
The best “local” airport is either Exeter or Bristol. Intercontinental flights use London airports.

Flight information can change rapidly and not all flights run daily. Please do check directly with the airlines’ websites or Skyscanner (see below) before finalising any booking with us. Do not book your flights until we have confirmed that we have provisionally reserved accommodation for you.

For up-to-date schedules and flights from all airports check Skyscanner.

EXETER AIRPORT is situated close to the city. Local taxi best.

BRISTOL AIRPORT
Land by: 16:00 for shuttle + train to Exeter (c. 2 hrs).
Return flight earliest: 12:00 for train connections from Paignton or Totnes (c. 3 hrs) – accessed by bus or private steam train (Kingswear-Paignton, seasonal)

HEATHROW AIRPORT
Land by: 14:00 for shuttle to Reading + train to Exeter (c. 3 hrs).
Return flight earliest: 14:00 for train connections from Paignton or Totnes (c. 3 hrs) – accessed by bus or private steam train (Kingswear-Paignton, seasonal)

See “Getting to the start of the walk” below for transfer information

ARRIVING BY TRAIN
Nearest railway station:
Start: Exeter
Finish: Totnes by bus from Dartmouth, or Paignton by private steam train in season

 

Getting to the start of the walk

The first hotel is in the city of Exeter or the villages of Dunsford or Chagford, depending on route version, and the last in the port of Dartmouth. Transfer times and methods are suggestions from London Heathrow airport, but you can also fly to Exeter or Bristol.

LONDON HEATHROW

Outward: Bus then train to Exeter (c.2½ hrs) then short walk or local taxi to first hotel/B&B (or regular bus on from Exeter train station to Dunsford/Chagford)

Return: Historic steam train from Kingswear to Paignton, train to Reading then airport bus to Heathrow (c.4 hrs)

Full transfer advice, including timetables, is provided in your Walkers’ Pack. Contact us if you would like additional pre-booking information.

Where You'll Stay

A wonderful array of village pubs and B&Bs on this walk.  You can also upgrade in Exeter, Chagford, Dartington and Dartmouth, and to a once-owned-by-celebrity-chef riverside restaurant with stylish rooms in Tuckenhay.

Exeter – Telstar: (B&B)

Night 1

Exeter – Telstar: (B&B)

Victorian guest house just ten minutes from the cathedral.

Dunsford – Weeke Barton: (Dinner, B&B)

Night 1 (Upgrade)

Dunsford – Weeke Barton: (Dinner, B&B)

Stunning Devon longhouse with 6 pretty bedrooms, a lovely garden and good kitchen.

Chagford – Ring o’ Bells: (B&B)

Night 2

Chagford – Ring o’ Bells: (B&B)

Traditional village pub with rooms over - and a renowned kitchen.

Chagford – The Three Crowns: (B&B)

Night 2 (Upgrade)

Chagford – The Three Crowns: (B&B)

Former coaching inn with lots of space and comfortable rooms.

Widecombe-in-the-Moor – Higher Venton Farmhouse: (B&B)

Night 3

Widecombe-in-the-Moor – Higher Venton Farmhouse: (B&B)

Classic Devon farmhouse with flag floors, chickens running wild, rusting tractors and exceptional cream teas. Some shared bathrooms.

Scorriton – The Tradesman’s Arms: (B&B)

Night 4

Scorriton – The Tradesman’s Arms: (B&B)

Great village pub with quiet rooms above, presided over by Kevin and Suzanne.

Scorriton – Mitchelcroft: (B&B)

Night 4 (Upgrade)

Scorriton – Mitchelcroft: (B&B)

Stunning modern B&B with four lovely rooms and a beautiful outlook. Owners Michael and Debbie are walkers too.

Dartington – Appalachian Spring: (B&B)

Night 5

Dartington – Appalachian Spring: (B&B)

Pretty house within walking distance of the pub.

Dartington – Dartington Hall: (B&B)

Night 5 (Upgrade)

Dartington – Dartington Hall: (B&B)

More an event cente than a hotel, this fine old former college boasts beautiful gardens, comfortable rooms, a pub, restaurant and even arts cinema on site. An experience.

Ashprington – the Durant Arms: (B&B)

Night 6

Ashprington – the Durant Arms: (B&B)

Great village pub with a noted kitchen.

Tuckenhay – The Maltster’s Arms: (B&B)

Night 6 (Upgrade)

Tuckenhay – The Maltster’s Arms: (B&B)

Riverside pub with comfortable rooms and a celebrity chef heritage.

Dartmouth – Compass Rose: (B&B)

Night 7

Dartmouth – Compass Rose: (B&B)

Modern architect designed B&B with incredible views over the town to the River Dart (ten minutes walk). Not available June-August.

Dartmouth – Bayards Cove Inn: (B&B)

Night 7 (Upgrade)

Dartmouth – Bayards Cove Inn: (B&B)

Comfortable rooms above a restaurant in a historic building, close to the sea front.

Prices

Price: £745 (2018 price: £785) for 7 nights

Total 7 nights in double/twin room, all breakfasts and 2 picnics, luggage transfers between all hotels on walking route; full Walkers Pack with route directions, maps, transfer and background information; local telephone support.

All prices are per person unless otherwise indicated (e.g. for taxis).
Savings and supplements

Single Room Supplement (SRS) from £225

Lone Traveller Additional Supplement (LTAS) from £110

Larger party saving (on identical itinerary) – from £55 off per person (except first two)

 

Add Ons

Extra nights and upgrades Contact On Foot Holidays (seasonal pricing)

Travellers Blog

Devon On Footer Caroline as artist

Wednesday 1st February | Posted by Simon Scutt

Devon On Footer Caroline as artist view article

Travellers Reviews

This is a wonderful, fabulous walk which we enjoyed enormously. You have done a

great job (our thanks to Caroline for working it out). Thank you so much.

Roger Davey, Chester

You’re certainly right about the Devon walk. It is absolutely lovely! We’ve had a lovely walk,

the scenery has been marvellous, the accommodation wonderful, and all the arrangements perfect. The accommodation has been excellent. The Maltsters and surrounds are beautiful and Mitchellcroft is the best B&B we’ve ever seen. Standing out; outstanding. We had a really lovely time! Thank you to all.

Leigh and Heny Fletcher, Australia

I wanted briefly to reassure you that our Tale of Two Rivers tour was a huge success.

Everything went perfectly to plan. We loved the walking, the route, all our overnight stops, and all the attractions and activities along the way. The girls had a wonderful time and putting them in charge of one of the map sets gave us a suitable treasure hunt dimension to the week. We were blessed with the weather and it was especially satisfying to experience Dartmoor both bathed in sunshine and shrouded in mist.

Mike Unwin, Brighton

More independent feedback
Reserve your dates Add to shortlist
Caroline Evans

Route designed by:

Caroline Evans

Caroline has lived in rural South Devon for 25 years. Now that her family have all left home, she spends her time teaching and producing art, attempting to master Spanish, and helping tend the smallholding; whilst her husband also fills the sheds with plenty of logs for the winter

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