When we visited Lydford Gorge a few weeks ago we picked up a new book of Dartmoor walks in the gift shop. Last Saturday we set out to do a walk on Belston and the high moor but on the way Simon realised he had forgotten his walking shoes. It’s a bit like the time he forgot to put the pasta in a pasta bake but I’ll save that story for another time. Fortunately, on the next page of the book, we found an easy walk around Okehampton that he could do in his normal shoes. We parked just off the main street and proceeded to the start point in Simmons Park.
The park sits alongside the East Okement River and has ornamental gardens, several water fountains and a Swiss style chalet.
Crossing the river on a small footbridge towards the end of the park, we passed a children’s play area and a couple of playing fields before crossing a wooden bridge across an old mill leat. We turned right through the gate on to the Ball Hill path and walked beneath the trees for several minutes.
We emerged at the railway viaduct which crosses the river near the A30, the place where we started our very first Devon walk after we moved in the winter.
We decided to carry on and see what difference the spring was making to the area since the last time we visited. The leaves were definitely greener and the stepping stones by the side of the river were much drier.
We doubled back on ourselves and picked up the walk route again at the viaduct. It led through a lovely open meadow and into Tramline Woods. The path then follows a set of steep steps up to Okehampton Station which has a tea room and a museum. Heading right out of the station car park, we picked up the granite way for a hundred metres or so before crossing a road and descending into a woody valley down towards Okehampton Castle. The Granite Way runs right down to the Meldon viaduct and then on to Lydford and we intend to walk it at some point.
We caught glimpses of the castle through the trees but were disappointed that there were no bluebells in the wood as the book said there would be in the spring. Perhaps it is still a bit too early.
At the end of the wood we crossed the bridge at Lovers Meet to take a closer look at the castle which is looked after by English Heritage.
The walk then runs from Lovers Meet along the bank of the river, passed the old work house site and back into the centre of Okehampton. There is an ornamental water pump and a ‘cell door’ from the old workhouse displayed along the way.
Overall this was a very easy walk but still very pretty pleasant none the less. In total it took us about 2 hours at a fairly slow pace.