Walking has been solace for Tom Davies for many years. When Covid struck, walking on his beloved Dartmoor was out of bounds so instead he explored the beautiful countryside around Crediton. We persuaded him to write up his adventures and now have 18 of his local walks listed, with more to come. Here he describes some of their special features and shares advice on apps and groups to get you walking.
Some of my walks are short rambles and others show off the majestic local views to be had or touch on places of particular historic interest. The walks vary in length and of course they change dramatically through the seasons and can be walked in part or in different directions according to the wind and sun.
All the walks can usually be modified en route or extended by reference to the appropriate Ordnance Survey maps, but mainly OS Explorer 114 available as a hard copy or as a phone app.
The walk around Posbury highlights an interesting local history as well as being the site of an ancient volcano that accounts for our dramatic red soil and is one I have done more than 100 times since the pandemic began. At this time of year, the track around the iron age fort (Posbury Clump) is smothered in primroses and wild orchids, soon to be followed by bluebells and a spectacular display of rhododendrons at the Dimmits Farm end of the track.
The walk from Coldridge has recently taken on a special significance following the suggestion that Edward V, one of the two princes thought to have been murdered by Richard III, was in fact sent to Coldridge and lived and died there as a Mr Evans. There is much compelling evidence in the church and guides are available by arrangement through the Parish Council website
Some walks are more suited to difficult weather conditions than others. For example, on hot sunny days the walk from Newton St Cyres is mostly through shady woodland and on good tracks although recent forestry work has caused some loss of shade and damaged some of the track.
From the middle to the end of May is usually the best time for bluebell walks and two excellent examples are Killerton and Fingle Bridge where, if you simply would like to see the display in the Whiddon Deer Park, you can easily modify the route to minimise the distance and climbing involved.
One way walks offer advantages in the hilly countryside of Mid Devon and Walk 10, starting from Kennerleigh, is an example of a country walk which would be difficult to do as a circular walk without a considerable amount of roadwork.
Walking along Raddon Top affords some of the best views of any local walk but Walk 15 can be made less arduous by having transport available in Cheriton Fitzpaine to avoid the hard work of the return leg. Even better if a walk is planned from Raddon Top car park to Thorverton, then there is no climbing required if transport is arranged by the church in Thorverton.
There are various free mobile phone apps available for walkers and I tend to use Simply Walking which logs all my walks and shows where I am at any one time. What I sometimes forget to do is switch it off when I get in my car and drive home which has the effect of extending the “walk” and greatly improving my average speed!
The Ordnance Survey app is very popular with keen walkers since it allows you to plan a walk and then shows you if you have gone off route whilst walking.
There are several walking groups in the area which welcome new members. I am a member of Moor Ramblers which is a Crediton U3A long distance (i.e 8 miles) walking group focussing on Dartmoor and fringes.
Crediton U3A runs two other groups, a medium distance group (up to 5 miles) and a short distance group (up to 2 miles).
The Ramblers Association operate several groups in Devon and there is an Exeter branch which covers this area. Many parish councils also publish leaflets on walks in their respective areas.
Finally consider using public transport as part of your walking plans. From Crediton you can easily use the railway to get to many starting points (including Okehampton) for interesting walks, 22 of which are described in the booklet Tarka Line Walks available in The Bookery in Crediton or online.
One of my favourites is to take the train from Crediton to Exmouth, walk along the coast path to Budleigh Salterton, catch the bus back to Exmouth Station and then the train back to Crediton. Total time about 5 hours.