“The Tarka Trail is 180 miles long and follows in the footsteps of the character Tarka the Otter from Henry Williamson’s famous novel. The Trail splits into 2 loops centred at Barnstaple and is a great way to explore the world class environment of North Devon’s UNESCO Biosphere that stretches from Dartmoor to Lundy and Exmoor to Hartland.” – Tarka Trail Circular Routes
When last staying with Simon’s parents we spotted their copy of Tarka the Otter and decided to borrow it. Whilst the descriptions of the Devonshire countryside are beautiful, it is quite a laborious read. The most exciting thing we took away from the book was learning that in Devon Hedgehogs can also known as vuzz-pegs! Very sweet and appropriate!
Anyway, as the weather was so lovely last weekend we decided to get out and do one of the Tarka Trail circular routes from the Devon County Council guide. We picked Sticklepath to Belston and back, it being one of the nearer ones to our house.
The walk starts in the centre of Sticklepath and heads down into Skaigh Woods.
The path runs along the north side of the river through the woods. We didn’t realise it at the time, but we missed the turning on to the road which leads into Belston. We carried on through the woods and came out on Belston Common, missing the village entirely. It worked out well though as it meant we got to see a group of wild ponies which we otherwise would have missed had we gone the right way!
The walk then picks up a path running down off the common back to the river and across a wooden bridge.
On the other side of the river we deviated from the guide slightly and took a wider route around the pillow mounds and out onto the open hill.
We eventually picked up the wall around Skaigh Warren and descended back down into the centre of Sticklepath.
At a fairly slow pace and with lots of stops to admire the view, this walk took us about 2.5 hours