Walking routes in East Devon cater for everyone. Whether you’re looking for coastal rambles, woodland walks, circular or linear trails there’s plenty to choose from. There are family-friendly walks, rambles that take in pubs, cafes and tea-rooms, city trails and walks along the cliff tops.
The East Devon Way is a 40-mile route that runs inland between Exmouth and Lyme Regis. Following footpaths, bridleways and quiet lanes, it’s broken down into six stages. The website offers linear directions for both east to west and west to east, as well as a number of circular walks.
Linear walks in the East Devon Way: from west to east
Exmouth to Woodbury Castle: takes in the Exe Estuary, one of the largest nature reserves and areas for migratory birds over winter. It passes by National Trust property A La Ronde before you walk through the woodland area of Lympstone Common and onto Blackhill Quarry.
Woodbury Castle to Aylesbeare Common: starts at Woodbury Castle car park where traces of the Iron Age hill fort can still be seen underneath the moss. Expect to see beautiful views of the Exe Estuary, Lyme Bay, Dartmoor, Exmoor and the Quantock Hills in Somerset. The trail continues across Woodbury Common and includes the Pebblebed Heaths, an area of heathland that was created over 240 million years ago.
Alyesbeare Common to Sidbury: this walk covers a varied landscape and includes Aylesbeare Common Nature Reserve, a lowland heathland habitat. Crossing the River Otter the route goes through Harpford Wood, rising to Fire Beacon Hill, before finishing in Sidbury.
Sidbury to Church Green, Farway: expect to see charming villages with thatched cottages as well as walking through fields to Knapp Copse nature reserve, an ancient woodland. Before ending the walk you’ll cross the Bronze Age landscape of Farway Common.
Church Green to Colyton: this is mainly a flat walk, crossing over the River Coly through to a village dating back to Saxon times. There are plenty of picnic spots by the River Coly before reaching the market town of Colyton.
Colton to Lyme Regis: on this day walk you’ll see rivers, an Iron Age castle, the spectacular Cannington Viaduct as you cross the Axe Valley. The East Devon Way finishes at Lyme Regis.
The East Devon Way website offers 13 different circular routes within the area it covers. These include leisurely and moderate walks between 3 miles and 8 miles in length. The routes take in a mixture of villages, heathland, nature reserves and woodland along tracks and footpaths.
Among the circular walks are Woodbury Common, Aylesbeare Common, Newton Poppleford and River Otter, Fire Beacon, Sidbury and Buckton Hill, and Musbury Castle.
Do check on the website before you set off as it does provide news updates on temporary closures of certain walks or sections due to restoration works or other reasons.
There are 28 miles of footpaths, bridleways and trails within the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty along the coast and in the countryside. Routes have been designed for anyone interested in walking, whatever their fitness levels or abilities.
This includes five family walking trails designated as gentle walks with accessible trails. Plus there’s the chance to discover wildlife, history and culture as you wander. The walks cover the following areas: Beer Head, Ladram Bay, Mutters Moor, Branscombe and Trinity Hill.
Further details about the walks are available at the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty website on its Discover leaflet.
The 630 miles South West Coast Path runs from Minehead in Somerset to Poole Harbour in Dorset.
The East Devon section of the South West Coast Path covers Exmouth to Lyme Regis along the Jurassic coastline, an area described as a geologist’s playground. You’ll also get to see a variety of wildlife along the path as much of the land has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
The walking route in East Devon passes through Exmouth, Budleigh Salterton, the Otter Estuary Nature Reserve, Ladram Bay, Sidmouth, Branscombe, Beer, Seaton and ends up in Lyme Regis.
A number of half-day walks have been put together. These are around 5 miles and are broken down into easy and moderate strolls to the more strenuous. In addition, there are suggestions for family, pub, cafes and cream teas and seasonal walks.
Family Walking Trails
Get the whole family out stomping, East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty have mapped out five trails and have a free booklet to help you get the most out of your walk.
Pebblebed Heaths National Nature Reserve
The Pebblebed Heaths National Nature Reserve is the largest area of lowland heath remaining in Devon. This unique landscape has been shaped by the underlying Triassic geology and people living and working with nature for thousands of years. Known locally as ‘The Common’, the Pebblebed Heaths cover more than ten square kilometres, with over 80km of tracks and paths to explore.
Situated in an outstanding area of natural beauty, they are a superb and accessible area of wilderness, ideal for a range of recreational activities for people of all ages. Whether you are a dog walker, a mountain biker, a horse rider, a runner or simply someone who wants to explore this vast and stunning landscape, there is always something to enjoy on the site.
During your visit, please respect the landscape, the wildlife and other visitors so that this area is maintained for all to enjoy, long into the future.
Don’t want to walk on your own – join a group
Tel: 01395 567450
East Devon Ramblers is an enthusiastic and friendly group. Visitors and new members are most welcome. They offer a choice of six varied walks a week, ranging from a leisurely half-day stroll to a full-day strenuous hike.
This is a free scheme, co-ordinated by Leisure East Devon, to encourage people of all ages including those with health and mobility problems, and those recovering from illness, to walk for their health. These walks are led by qualified volunteer walk leaders, who have undergone the National Walking for Health training.
They are a mixture of town and country walks. These are aimed at those who are doing very little or no exercise at the moment, but would like to become more active. Wear walking boots and bring along change for a hot drink afterwards.
A lot of East Devon’s stunning countryside is accessible to people with limited mobility. There are walks for wheelchair users, families with pushchairs, toddlers on scooters or people who prefer a flatter or more easy-going surface without having to clamber over stiles or climb steep slopes.
Budleigh Salterton and the Otter Estuary
By bus: Budleigh Salterton is easily accessed by bus.
By car: Budleigh Salterton’s Lime Kiln car park is right at the entrance to the reserve. EX12 2DQ
A selection of thee short easy walks from the Lime Kiln car park in Budleigh Salterton offer excellent views and bird watching opportunities. There are accessible public toilets, viewpoints, cafes and car parking at Lime Kiln.
The first walk (¼ mile) is along the seafront to the town centre.
The second (½ mile each way) is along a sea wall alongside the Otter estuary, which now provides a level path from which to watch the birds of the estuary.
The final walk (¼ mile) is along a spit of shingle between the sea and the estuary.
Seaton Wetlands, Colyford Road, Seaton, EX12 2DQ
Explore Seaton Wetlands and enjoy beautiful marshland and reed beds alongside the River Axe. There are five bird hides and nearly 4km of level trails and boardwalks suitable for wheelchairs, bikes and pushchairs.
A tramper all-terrain mobility scooter specially designed for exploring the countryside is available to hire. It is suitable for use on unsurfaced footpaths and tracks and for going across open ground with gradients up to 1 in 4 (25%). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a car park, toilets (accessible and baby changing), picnic area, 5 hides, and 3 pond-dipping platforms. Please note no dogs are allowed on site, except assistance dogs.
Salcombe Hill, Sidmouth
By car: The National Trust car park is opposite the Norman Lockyer Observatory (postcode: EX10 0NY). This is signposted from the A3052.
This short, accessible walk offers a fantastic introduction to the South West Coast Path for visitors with reduced mobility. Take in views of the Jurassic Coast UNESCO World Heritage Site cliffs from one of the clifftop benches and orient yourself using the toposcope. There are no toilets. Two picnic benches.
For more information on accessible walks visit exploredevon.info/accessible-walks/
Meet at the Lifeboat Station, Exmouth
Nordic Walking is a fun, sociable, full body workout on a walk. Pushing through the poles on the sand gives 90% of our skeletal muscles a more intense workout. Walk at your pace, chat with and make friends while being physically active out in the fresh air.
Thursdays: winter afternoon and summer evening, one-hour Nordic walk on the beach. Mixed ability group.
Stay afterwards for a hot drink at a beach front cafe.