Devon Life - - Ladds Guns -

Huge va­ri­ety of bird life

The café build­ing is very redo­lent of the rail­way era and makes an en­tic­ing start and end point for the walk. Get there in time for break­fast and you’ll be well set-up for the day.

Sec­tions of the walk in win­ter are likely to be very muddy – spare socks ad­vis­able. And don’t for­get the binoc­u­lars.


1From the café walk along the lane with views across the River Taw es­tu­ary to your left. Within 100m take the right-hand fork where a me­tal post pre­vents ve­hi­cles from driv­ing onto the Tarka Trail. Fol­low this sur­faced path keep­ing a watch­ful eye open for cy­clists as this is part of a very pop­u­lar cy­cle path. (Hav­ing taken a tan­dem along here some years ago I can vouch for the fun of it.)

2Fol­low the tree-flanked path through this deep cut­ting for 400m, at which point it passes un­der a bridge and con­tin­ues. If you wish to add an ex­tra there­and-back stretch to your walk you can, at this point, take the steep path on the left, up be­side the bridge, to reach a muddy bri­dle­way at the top. Turn left along it and this track will take you out along Pen­hill Point for more views and, pos­si­bly, more birds. Then re­turn to the Tarka Trail be­neath the bridge.

Soon af­ter the bridge the views open up: fields and es­tu­ary to the left with Ash­ford vil­lage on the far side of the river; way ahead, the road bridge spans the River Taw in Barn­sta­ple. Also across the es­tu­ary you may spot a wind farm.

3Con­tinue for 650m beyond the bridge then keep a look out for some rusty me­tal fenc­ing on the left that sur­rounds a drainage chan­nel. Here, at­tached to some wooden fenc­ing on the right, you will find a faded foot­path ar­row, di­rect­ing you right off the Tarka Trail, down some wooden-edged steps and across a small plank bridge. (If you reach a yel­low-topped post by a bench in me­mory of Bob Tucker you have gone about 30m too far.)

Fol­low this foot­path, cross­ing the sturdy but ir­reg­u­lar planks, then con­tin­u­ing on the broad, hedged track. This bends sharply left, soon fol­lowed by a bend right, and brings you to a cross­ing track by Clampitts Farm.

‘As far as birds are con­cerned this is the jewel in the crown of the walk’

Turn left on this broad track and fol­low it round as it brings you, within 300m, to some new hous­ing on the edge of Bick­ing­ton. The track emerges at the houses. Keep straight ahead and look for the four-way fin­ger­post on the right in less than 100m.

4Take the bri­dle­way go­ing right along a nar­row tree-lined path, a pleas­ing old way de­spite its prox­im­ity to the well-screened new de­vel­op­ment. The path emerges at a lane, along which turn right, head­ing to­wards the dis­tant wind tur­bines. Within 300m the lane bends left, stay with it, pass­ing a pretty thatched house called Pen­hill Cot­tage fol­lowed by a bun­ga­low. Im­me­di­ately af­ter this take the signed foot­path go­ing left, along a short and muddy path that soon en­ters a field.

Once in the field keep ahead, fol­low­ing the left-hand hedge with the vil­lage of Frem­ing­ton vis­i­ble ahead. At the end of the field emerge onto a pub­lic by­way.

5Turn right along the by­way as it runs be­side the in­let of wa­ter known as Frem­ing­ton Pill; as far as birds are con­cerned this is the jewel in the crown of the walk although what you see will de­pend on the state of the tide and how much of the food-rich mud­flats are ex­posed.

There will be a few pass­ing cars, also head­ing to Frem­ing­ton Quay – the by­way goes nowhere else. Si­mone Stanbrook-byrne and James Clancy have pro­duced a se­lec­tion of West Coun­try guides in­clud­ing: Favourite Walks in Devon, Cir­cu­lar Walks in the South Hams, Cir­cu­lar Walks in East Devon, Cir­cu­lar Walks in Cen­tral Devon, Cir­cu­lar Walks in North Devon/ex­moor, A Dozen Dra­matic Walks in Devon, Town Walks in Devon. cul­m­val­ley­pub­lish­ing.co.uk/01392 881513

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