Mid Devon is a paradise for walkers, with a huge number of footpaths and lanes to explore across gorgeous countryside, with spectacular views and fascinating villages. In a series of blogs, keen walker Tom Davies shares some of his favourite local walks, starting at the historic St Luke’s Chapel at Posbury.
This could be an easy circular walk of around 1.7 miles with 360 degree views across Devon or a figure of eight walk of around 3 miles with some steep ascents/descents.
Start at the car park at Posbury St. Luke’s Chapel (NGR SX 814 976) (A)
St Luke’s Chapel was built in 1836 by Richard Hippersley Tuckfield of Shobrooke Park. In 1838 his wife Charlotte set up a small school nearby (now demolished) where she trained teachers. Sir Thomas Dyke Acland of Killerton was so impressed by what he saw that he was instrumental in setting up the Exeter Diocesan Education Committee in 1838, which was the first in the country and which led to the creation of the St Luke’s training college in Exeter in 1840.
An easy 1.7 mile walk
- Walk left from the car park towards the former Franciscan convent to be seen on your left (C). An order of nuns moved here from the Isle of Wight in 1942 and ran a retreat for the Diocese of Exeter until it closed and was sold in 2020.
- Carry on past the entrance drive to the convent and take the bridle way at the right hand bend in the road you will see ahead of you (B).
- Carry on to the top of the hill where there is a 3-way cross (Merrymeet) (D).
- Take the right track which takes you around the iron age fort of Posbury with magnificent views south and west towards the Teign Valley and Dartmoor and brings you back onto the road near Demmitts Farm (E).
- Turn right to return to Posbury St Luke’s. On a clear day this section of the walk has very fine views over Mid and East Devon looking north and east.
To extend the walk
- When you arrive at the entrance to the convent you can then opt to extend the walk by 1.3 miles by taking the track past the convent buildings which then makes a right turn before the former chaplain’s house (Priestcott) and enters a wood passing by the nun’s graveyard, emerging eventually on the busy Tedburn road at Posbury Lodge (F).
- Here turn right and after about 100m turn right on the signposted bridleway (G) which, after a steep climb brings you to the 3-way cross at Merrymeet (D).
- Turn right and return to the car park.
The original trustees of St Luke’s training college were all local gentry, Sir Stafford Northcote of Newton St Cyres, Sir Humphrey Davie of Creedy Park, James Buller of Downes and John Sillifant of Combe House, Colebrooke.
A fascinating history of the local gentry involved with setting up St Luke’s chapel and the convent can be found here.
The Tuckfield Memorial in Crediton Parish Church is an indication of how significant the family was in the area.