Have yourself a merry, muddy Christmas!
A winter walk from Morchard Bishop which is rich in views, with SIMONE STANBROOK-BYRNE
The winter trees are mostly bare now, a few persistent leaves clinging to otherwise naked branches that weave a dark tracery against the sky. Winter sun, when it bothers to appear, is low, shadows are long, and underfoot the way is mushy once the frost leaves the ground.
This is the time to wrap up and rub away the winter rust from your soul. Grab those wellies and waterproofs, add some spare socks and a sense of fun and off you go! There’s a cosy, festive pub or café waiting for you at the end (or start) of it!
1Morchard Bishop is an historic village whose name harks back to the time when it was owned by the Bishop of Exeter. Its 16th century London Inn was once a coaching inn on what was the main Exeter-barnstaple road.
At the road junction near this inn ( Village Cross) look for the footpath fingerpost pointing along a track, clearly signed as the Two Moors Way, denoted by an M above a W. The track goes between houses and soon ends at a collection of gates; spot the old bread oven door attached to the wall.
Go through the gate on the left, still following the Two Moors Way, then pass through a wooden kissing gate a few metres away. You now follow a narrow and mud-slippery fenced path. Try to stay upright as you pass through another gate and continue on the narrow path; if you sit down you’ll be providing amusement for the woolly and disdainful residents of the paddocks alongside the path. Stay with this obvious footpath until, almost 300m from the start, it emerges onto a track near a house called Higher Parks, where you may find a wayside egg stall.
7A few metres beyond this junction look for the footpath going right off the road (ignore the one on the left). This is Queen’s Walk again. The path leads through a gate and past a collection of mouldering junk, including an old car door that is being absorbed into the undergrowth: bashes to bashes, rust to rust.
The path emerges into a field, keep straight ahead, following the left-hand hedge. Just before the corner go through a wooden gate on the left then bear right, Start point: Morchard Bishop, Fore Street/ Church Street junction Grid ref: SS769075. Nearby postcode: EX17 6NW
Parking: Public car park on Church Street (nearby postcode: EX17 6PJ), or park considerately on-road in village centre Morchard Bishop is signed off the A377, about eight miles west of Crediton
Public transport: Fairly regular buses call here, see travelinesw.com
Map: OS Explorer 113 Okehampton 1:25 000 tracks; some road walking. Good supply of winter mud so wellies needed (7.25km)
Dog friendliness: Good, but many animals grazing and a little road walking. The inn allows dogs
Exertion: Moderate, some steady ascent
Refreshments: The London Inn, Morchard Bishop, EX17 6NW, 01363 877222; Church Street Stores & Café, Morchard Bishop, EX17 6PQ, 01363 877826. Check opening times for both to avoid hunger!
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