Best Short Walks in Devon

7 Best Short Walks in Devon (Walking Route Plans)

Devon, in the south west corner of the UK, is well known for its mild climate and unspoilt beautiful countryside.

There are walks to suit every taste, whether you are looking for rugged coastlines, moorland hikes, or tranquil river valley strolls to work up an appetite for a country pub lunch.

7 best walks in devon shown on map of devon
7 Best Short Walks in Devon Map

From guided tours to short one hour rambles with the dog, you are guaranteed to find a walk that works for you.

Walking Devon can take a year and I bet you’ll never walk the same pathway twice.

Now that’s impressive!

The famous South West Coast Path runs over 600 miles in total and has been built up over the centuries by fishermen, coast guards and smugglers.

It is now Britain’s longest national trail. The Devon side of the coastal walk runs a little over 200 miles. It runs from Lyme Regis in the East of Devon, along the coast taking in Exmouth, Dawlish, Torquay before finishing this section off in Plymouth.

In the north of Devon many famous villages are taken in including Croyde, Ilfracombe, Lynton and Lynmouth, before it disappears into Somerset and Minehead.

If you want to continue the walk through Devon the Two Moors Way links both north and south Devon making this a very large and challenging circular walk!

Only for the brave with plenty of time on their hands.

Here is a list of the best short walks to be found in the most popular tourist areas of Devon.

little switzerland walk in north devon
Photo: Lizzie Parker

Devon’s Little Switzerland Circular Walk

This beautiful short walk takes you round Lynton and Lynmouth in North Devon and is approximately 5 miles long.

It is a walk of contrasts ranging from the river valley stroll to high up valley views. Named “Little Switzerland” by the Victorians after the Poet Laureate, Robert Southey,  visited in 1799 and described its beauty in one of his poems.

The two towns are framed by the high rise cliffs creating a valley for the river to run through and divide Lynton and Lynmouth.

It takes in part of the Two Moors Way, the Tarka Trail and in on the edge of Exmoor National Park. Littered with places to stop off for a quick drink and something to eat, this is a beautiful stretch of the Devon coast and, if you are lucky, you will have the mountainside goats to keep you company when walking the return journey.

A must see visit is the water powered funicular railway which joins the two towns. It was funded by Baron Marks of Woolwich and the publisher Sir George Newnes back in 1898 and took just three years to complete.

Details:

  • Walk length – 5 miles/8 km
  • 1 steady climb
  • 1 short sharp climb
  • Facilities – All facilities in Lynton plus Watersmeet Cafe (seasonal)

For more information click here

templer way walk in newton abbot
Photo: Stephanie Jane

Templer Way Walk

The Templer Way walk stretches from Haytor on Dartmoor to Teignmouth on the Devon coast and runs for nearly 18 miles.

The walk can be broken down into various stages depending on how energetic you feel.

This lovely little section of the walk runs through the historic town of Newton Abbot along the Teign estuary. It starts at the river Lemon, a major tributary of the river Teign, and takes you round in a circle until you end up walking the reverse of your outbound journey back to the river Lemon. An easy afternoon stroll along level grounds although parts do become waterlogged during heavy rainfall.

Details:

  • Walk length – 7.5 miles/12 km
  • Facilities – plenty in Newton Abbot

For more information click here.

berry head hotel in Brixham

Walking Berry Head, Brixham

As part of the South West Coast Path, this beautiful walk takes in the scenic views of Brixham harbour and Torbay.

Starting in the beautiful fishing village of Brixham, this is a circular walk that takes you up to Berry Head and back again with plenty of stop off points and places of interest to visit.

The original town centre and harbour were slightly further inland but this is now the main car park.

Brixham was the original landing port of William of Orange in 1688, later King William 3rd, and his wife Mary, on their way to London.

Berry Head is a nature conservation site and the cliffs are well known for having the largest collection of Guillemots in southern England. The fort itself was built during the Napoleonic Wars of 1815, when Brixham was a strategic service area for the British Navy.

The Berry Head hotel is a fabulous place to stop off for lunch with its views across the bay and was the home of Reverend H F Lyte, known as the writer of the hymn “Abide With Me”.

Alternatively, pack up your backpack and take a packed lunch with you and sit by the fort and watch the Brixham fishing boats hustle the tides below.

Details:

  • Walk length – 5.5 miles/9 kms
  • 4 Stiles with no steep climbs
  • Facilities – All facilities in Brixham plus Berry Head hotel and cafe (seasonal).

For more information, click here.

Fingle bridge walk on dartmoor
Photo: My Dartmoor Walks

Fingle Bridge Walk, Dartmoor

The Two Moors Way passes through this gem of a walk, and whilst that may be for the more adventurous hikers, this little excerpt of a walk is perfect for the family ramble.

Once you get to the top of Hunter’s Path, a fairly steep climb, you will have clear views of Castle Drogo and across to the North Moor.

If you prefer you can amble along the river Teign which is a perfect place for all the family to explore.

The castle itself reaches a height of 300 metres and has some fantastic views across the Moors.

The most common walk starts at the Fingle Bridge Inn, takes in Hunter’s Path and Castle Drogo where you can stop off for refreshments and then head off to Sharp Tor before returning to your car.

Fingle Bridge Walk can be quite steep and rocky in places and, because of the height of Castle Drogo, you’ll need to make sure you have the appropriate clothing in case the weather changes.

Castle Drogo was built between 1911 and 1931 and designed to look like a medieval castle built in traditional Dartmoor granite. It was originally built for the retail millionaire of the day Julius Drewe.

Details:

  • Walk length – approx. 3-4 miles
  • Easy grade walk with some steep climbs
  • Facilities – The Fingle Bridge Inn at the start and Castle Drogo cafe

For more information, click here.

wembury bay walk in South Hams
Photo: Royal William Yard Apartments

Wembury Bay & the River Yealm Walk

The perfect circular walk for any day with options to extend it during the fine summer months.

This walk around Wembury Bay and the River Yealm offers a great variety of pathways with plenty of beautiful views. After the initial slight climb the terrain improves to a rough coastal pathway which has been worn over the years by plenty of walkers.

You can take your dogs with you but they will have to be kept on leads as Dartmoor ponies graze nearby. Also, dogs are not allowed on the beach section during the summer months.

It all starts at the National Trust car park where you join the pathway up through the gorse, this is a little steep to be begin with but eventually flattens out.

With views across Wembury Point and the River Yealm you’ll have plenty of chances to spot the wildlife including nesting Peregrine Falcons in the cliff face.

A varied walk taking in Wembury village, shaded woodland, estuary pathways and the coastal path. During the summer months you can extend this walk by taking the foot ferry over to Noss Mayo.

Details:

  • Walk length – 6 miles (approx.3 hours)
  • Easy climb, flat rugged coastal paths and dog friendly

For more information, click here.

bolt head view in devon
Photo: Ruth's Coastal Walk

Bolt Head Walk Around Salcombe

Bolt Head walk takes in the dramatic coastline of Salcombe estuary, East Soar and the jagged rocks at Bolt Head.

A short walk with one steep climb and uneven paths which have a tendency to become muddy and slippery in the winter months so make sure you have your sturdy walking boots on.

This walking route is also perfect for dogs as long as they are kept on leads.

There are some steps, rugged coastal areas as well as shaded woodland, but the views across Salcombe are superb. In the clear summer days the turquoise blue seas are a real sight for sore eyes!

Details:

  • Walk length – 4.5 miles
  • An easy walk for you and the dog with fantastic views and coastal paths.

For more information, click here.

parke in bovey tracey

Parke, Bovey Tracey

This really is a short walk.

In fact it’s a choice of three short circular walks around historic parkland now belonging to the National Trust.

It is a fascinating insight into how a small country estate of the 1800s was able to be almost self-sufficient with its orchard, cottage walled gardens, parkland and grazing fields.

Parking in the purpose built car park allows you the freedom to explore for the day at minimal cost. You have a choice of three short walks without any steep hills but there are places that become boggy after rainfall, so come with wellies or decent grip walking shoes.

You can amble alongside the River Bovey, walk through shaded woodland or explore ancient trees and fields surrounding Parke House.

Children and dogs can paddle at the water’s edge and everyone can follow this up with a fantastic cream tea at the Home Farm Cafe. Your time will not be wasted if you just visit the cafe and try its cakes and open sandwiches.

I’ll see you in there!

Details:

  • Walk length – Up to 3 miles
  • Easy, accessible and with a variety of walks to suit every taste including riverside, woodland and open tree-lined fields.

For more information, click here.

Over To You

Let us know of your experience of these 7 best short walks in Devon. Leave your comments below so others can learn and enjoy the experience too.

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