Exploring the East Devon Way

After yesterday’s exploits I study the map to plan a walk that we can do from Pidgeon’s Farm CL without coming close to a busy road. The proposed route will mean sections on minor lanes, but with luck these will be quiet.

We turn right out of the site and at the T-junction we turn right again to head towards Woodbury. Soon after entering the village we take a turning on the right onto a lane that leads to the B3179, we go straight across to a lane on the opposite side leading down towards Rydon Farm. Where the lane turns to the right we continue straight on to Rydon Farm and follow this track as it bends its way to a lane at Exton Farm leading to the A376.

We cross this busy road and walk on the lane around the edge of Exton and then arrive at the village pub, The Puffing Billy. When my mucker Maff was at University in Exeter he had a spell living near this pub, on occasions we would pop here for a drink. That was the best part of forty years ago and it has had at least one serious makeover since then.

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Passing the pub we head down to join the East Devon Way running besides the Exmouth to Exeter railway line. This line was destined for closure in the 1960’s as part of the Beeching cuts but was saved by local petition. It was said that passenger numbers did not justify keeping the route open, today close to a million people a year make the trip from Exmouth to Exeter, with many more joining the service at the frequent stations along the route. I wonder how many other lines lost in the 1960’s would be viable today.

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This is pleasant walking, the line is close to the Exe Estuary, the tide is out and there are frequent views over the exposed mud banks. As we pass the Commando Training Centre on the edge of Lympstone there are a couple of recruits on the challenging assault course. They appear to be making good progress but the encouragement they are receiving from a senior officer suggests they are falling behind the expected time. I wonder if I should adopt a similar tone when encouraging Lynnie to up the pace on one of our walks. I expect that there would be insubordination in the ranks!

On reaching Lympstone the path leaves the railway line for a while and we opt to take a route through the pretty village. I cannot recall being here before, but will put it on the list of places to visit when we have a bit more time.

The lane we are on soon meets the railway line again and we turn right to continue on the path that leads to Exmouth. For a section we cross the railway and are right alongside the estuary, this is a stunning spot and is part of the Exmouth Nature Reserve.

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Eventually we arrive in Exmouth and wander to a natural harbour, from here we pick up a road to the seafront close to the Marina.

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At the seafront we turn and walk west, in the distance we spot a group of people on the beach. As we move closer it appears to be a wedding party, but all in fancy dress.

 

After passing The Maer nature reserve we reach the lifeboat station, the doors are about to be closed. There is just enough time for a quick picture of the large lifeboat before it is locked away for the day.

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Now we turn in land along Maer Lane and walk up to Littleham. When planning the walk I had thought we would continue through the village to pick up a path along a disused railway line. However, I have underestimated the distance to this point and we decide that it would be sensible to follow the roads that skirt Exmouth and will eventually meet up with the East Devon Way.

This is not the most interesting section of the walk, walking on pavements through urban developments is rarely enjoyable. So we are both pleased to reach a road that is also the route of the East Devon Way, this road leads through an area of highly desirable properties on one side and Bystock Wood on the other. It would be an even nicer place to live if the road wasn’t used as a rat-run.

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We continue on the East Devon Way as it enters Lympstone Common. The highland cattle grazing here provide a photo opportunity for Lynnie.

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The markers for the East Devon Way lead us around an old quarry site and gravel pits before crossing a minor road to continue across Woodbury Common to Woodbury Castle Fort. It is now late in the day and unusually Crosby has developed a bit of a limp. I check his paws but see no obvious sign of what is making him lame.

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We contemplate exploring the fort but with Crosby limping choose not to add any more distance to our trip. We cross the road taking a footpath that is still the East Devon Way and takes us through woods to join a track that leads onto the road going between Woodbury and Woodbury Park Golf Club. We turn left and walk down the road turning right just after the caravan park.

Crosby is now moving freely, but Dexter has started limping. The reason for this is unclear but he does not look at all happy. We return to the van at a very steady pace.

Our little jaunt has turned out to be more of a major trek, my Suunto Traverse shows we have covered sixteen and a half miles. Further than I had intended and much further than Lynnie wanted. Given that both the dogs have been limping I think a shorter walk is called for tomorrow.

To view this route on OS Maps Click Here

To follow this walk you will need Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 115 – Exmouth & Sidmouth

21st April 2016

© Two Dogs and an Awning (2016)

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