Starting point: Park outside Harpford Village Hall. EX10 0NQ
Google Maps Plus Code PP46+39 (tap this into Google Maps)
Grid Ref: SY 0910 9030
This walk is a little over six miles – Can be very muddy :Aprox 4 hours
Recommended kit: A walking pole or two and sturdy footwear. Maybe something to eat and drink
The Harpford Woods Circular is a lovely walk that will present one with beautiful views of East Devon at various points. From Sidmouth head to Newton Poppleford. Past the BOWD Pub to the top of Four Elms Hill. Near the bottom of Four Elms Hill is a right turn, signposted ‘Harpford’. Take this turning and follow the winding lane until you reach the church. Turn left at the church and after about 50 yards you will find the village hall (It’s pretty) set back off the road – you can park just about here. Now walk back the way you just came but go left after the church and then walk up ‘Knapp’s Lane’ which is on your right. Keep on going – when the lane sweeps to the left you should continue on the narrow path. you will eventually reach a little glade with a gate on the left and a gate dead ahead. Go through the gate dead ahead. You are now in Harpford woods.
As you walk through the woods you will pass a large drainage tunnel on your left and a brook on your right. Keep to the right path as you go, there is a ramp to the left – ignore this and continue on. There couple of paths further on – it does not matter which you choose although one is easier to navigate than the other – they end up at the same place.
You will finish up on the side of the road – the Bowd pub will be to your right, across the road, do you fancy a drink? Watch out for the traffic.
To continue this walk, instead of heading for the pub, look across the road to your left and you will see Fire Beacon Lane, a right turn. Go up this lane and follow it round to the left, there is an inset gate on the left a little way up – a good place to stop for five minutes. Continue on until you see the sign for Fire Beacon nature reserve and to the right of this is a path with a gate that you can walk around. Go up here and keep right.
The path does get quite narrow in places with a steep drop on the right in places. There is a bench along here, only one, it gives one a chance to rest and take in a fabulous view of Sidmouth. Further on you will walk over some small tread boards in a boggy area before reaching a bit of a clearing. Continue forward to find the style that takes you into a field.
Over this style and straight across the field to another style. From this style you find yourself in a lane (Core Hill Road). Turn left here and shortly on your right is the entrance to Core Hill Woods.
In Core hill Woods take the right hand path and follow it up the steep bank. At the top there is a small gate to your right – ignore it, continue left and keeping the big trees on your left and continue up the path. After a hundred yards or so the path becomes very overgrown and boggy – you need to hop over the bank between the trees on your left and continue in the same direction for a short distance until you reach a cross in the path. Take the left one – you will notice two signs pointing in opposite directions – take the left one and continue down the bridal path. It’s all downhill now.
Keep walking straight as the path takes you behind a cottage. At the end of this path you are back in core Hill road but further up. Turn left and not too far on the right is a Public Footpath sign that takes you down over the donkey field back towards the main road and Harpford Woods. Once you are back at the main road, watch out for traffic and go straight across to the next gate. Follow the path straight on.
You are now back in Harpford Woods and going downhill the path gets a bit dodgy. Eventually you will find a railway bridge, have a walk under it for the view, for what it is. Now track back and take the steps up to the top of the railway bridge and continue right. You are now on the old railway line to Tipton St John. This path takes you under two more bridges before you end up in another lane. Turn left here and follow the road back to the church and your car.
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