Have your­self a merry, muddy Christ­mas!

A win­ter walk from Mor­chard Bishop which is rich in views, with SI­MONE STANBROOK-BYRNE

Devon Life - - Promot I O N - COM­PASS POINTS

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!

ROUTE

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!

WITH ATTRAC T I V E PART­NERS

Ex­pe­ri­enced Per­sonal Match­mak­ers • Ex­ten­sive Client List of At­trac­tive, Suc­cess­ful Sin­gle Men & Women • State of the Art ID Check­ing Sys­tem Ex­clu­sive Sin­gles Events • Mem­ber of the Dat­ing Agency As­so­ci­a­tion

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