The hedgerows around us are coming to life, the sun is (mostly) shining and it’s a wonderful time to explore the area that surrounds us to see nature at it’s most glorious. There are so many choices, from open moorland to lush valleys, there is sure to be something for everyone. Your adventure awaits!
Our top picks include some of the best pubs around – how better to reward yourself after some stirring exercise than a pint and pub food at the end of it?
Here are our top places to enjoy the outdoors while you are here in Tavistock as Spring turns to Summer.
Mary Tavy to Peter Tavy Circular
W3W #childcare.touched.among | Grid Ref SX 508 787
A splendid walk rich with industrial heritage through pretty woodland littered with reminders of the past, up onto open moorland with some terrific views. The walk is about 4 miles on a mixture of lanes, tracks and moorland. Park on the roadside by the Church of St. Marys. Duration: 2 hours.
With the Church behind you, follow the road to the left until it becomes a track down to the river. Cross the River Tavy and Mary Tavy Clam and immediately bear left. As you follow the path upwards, you will come across remains of the Devon United Mine. Look out for the inscription on the water turbine as you pass by. Follow the path upwards, bearing right, until you come to the road. Follow the road left to Cuddliptown. Take a left towards Broadmoor Farm. Just before the u-bend, take a footpath off to the right. You are now accessing open moorland. Carry on the footpath until you come to deserted farmstead ‘Twist’ on your left and then out onto Smeardon. Turn right to walk along the top of the ridge, eventually heading down the steep side towards Peter Tavy Church in the distance. Once you have rejoined the road, follow the lane with beautiful bluebells in the hedges, down to the Church. From the Church, take a short cut behind the farm cottages to come out at the Peter Tavy Inn, a good pit stop! From the pub, take the lane to the right, then right again. Follow this all the way back to down to Mary Tavy Clam, where you will pick up your original route.
Refreshments: Peter Tavy Inn | W3W #magic.pulsing.detriment | Grid Ref SX 512 777
Meavy to Burrator Circular
W3W #commander.curable.scores| Grid Ref SX 540 672
This is a delightful walk in late spring through woods carpeted with bluebells and the added bonus of a pub lunch or dinner at the end! Taking in the impressive Burrator Dam and interesting church of St. Leonard, it’s a relatively easy walk of 4 miles, with a few steep parts in places and stiles to navigate. Duration: 1 ½ hours.
Park in the village centre by the Green. Take the road out of the village past the village hall. At the houses at the end of the lane there is a footpath straight ahead across fields signed Burrator Dam. Bear left as you pass through oak woods until you reach the Drake’s Leat, built to carry water to Plymouth. Follow the leat then bear left to a lane that will take you to Burrator Dam.
Cross the dam and follow the road to the village of Sheepstor. It’s worth visiting the 15th-century St Leonard’s Church to learn the history of the white Rajah’s of Sarawak. Turn back on yourself slightly to cross a stream. Take a track through a gate, bearing left then right to follow the hedge of a field.
You will soon come to the edge of the wood. Keep going over a number of stiles. Once in the wood, you will turn left, bearing downhill. Follow the well-trodden path down through the woods, keeping the wall close to your left. Climb over a large stile over a tree/hedge and bear right. The path now skirts around Yeo Farm and brings you out over a small bridge to a road by the old farmhouse. Turn left and follow the road to a junction by medieval Marchant’s Cross. Turn right and cross the river at the stepping stones (or the bridge if you prefer). Then it’s left and you are back at the pub!
Refreshments: Royal Oak Meavy | W3W #throw.quietly.smuggled | Grid Ref SX 540 672
Lydford Gorge – Lydford
W3W #efficient.spare.loaning | Grid Ref SX 508 844
Download the route here
This circular walk takes in the most dramatic section of the River Lyd including the deepest river gorge in the South West and the 30m high Whitelady Waterfall. The river is surrounded on all sides by ancient oak woodland, which makes for some truly spectacular spring smells and colour. There is some challenging terrain and can be slippery in wet weather. Duration: 2 ½ hours.
Start the walk at the Devil’s Cauldron Entrance. Go through the gateway signed ‘Lydford Gorge Trails’ and follow the path as it zig zags down to a junction with a signpost for the ‘WF entrance’. Follow the path for a mile until you come to a gate. You can turn left and up to the Waterfall Entrance or go through the gate and turn right, following the path down and keeping left. Turn right at the junction towards the White Lady Waterfall. From there cross the bridge and carry on along the river until you come to another bridge at Pixie Glen. Do not cross but carry on until you see signs for the Devil’s Cauldron. Follow the signs here to see the Cauldron or head up the path and back to the main entrance.
This walk is not for the faint-hearted but the sights, smells and sounds of this ancient woodland are well worth the effort. Please be careful as the ground and rocks can be slippery. Refreshments: Castle Inn, Lydford | W3W #statement.mainly.plays | Grid Ref SX 509 847
W3W #heartache.fidget.dissolve | Grid Ref SX 553 740
Download walking route PDF here
This is a lovely walk that takes in ancient lanes, a rare kind of Tor, a deserted railway line and the Merrivale Stone Rows. There is a bit of something for everyone on this 5-mile walk and you can top it off with a drink or food at the Dartmoor Inn. Duration: 2 ½ hours.
From the car park, following the B3357 down on the left-hand side until you come to the entrance to Hillside. Follow the path, closing gates and keeping dogs on a lead until you pass through Longash Farm. Soon after this you start to follow an ancient track into impressive woodland. Hucken Tor is a rare type of tor given that it is surrounded by trees, rather than standing high on a windy summit.
From here, continue on the sunken path until it comes out at Daveytown. Follow the road through Withill until you come to a crossroad. Take the left fork until you come to open moorland. Walk up the track until you reach the old railway line that skirts around King’s Tor. Bear left at a track that takes you back towards Merrivale Stone Row. Be careful as the ground under foot here can often be boggy and wet. Explore the Stone Rows before descending back toward the car.
Refreshments: Dartmoor Inn | W3W #gong.strict.nozzle | Grid Ref SX 548 751
Tavistock Viaduct & Railway
W3W #animal.slate.audio| Grid Ref SX 478 745
Download walking route PDF here
A fantastic 3-mile walk that is accessible from the very centre of town, taking in the viaduct (which carried the London and South West trains from Exeter around the north western fringes of Dartmoor), out onto leafy lanes with some great views of Dartmoor. The walk is relatively flat but is steep in places. Duration: 1 ½ hours.
Starting in the town centre, walk up Market Street to Bank Square, past the Union Inn and take a steep pedestrian footpath off to the left. We warn you - it is steep! At the top, catch your breath and take a right towards the Railway Bridge. Access the Railway line before the bridge, to the right. At the end of the viaduct, the road bends sharply to the right past some houses. There is an almost hidden footpath on your left which skirts the old railway station. At Kilworthy Park, the route is signposted back onto the railway line. You carry on until the path loops back onto itself and joins a residential road. Here you turn right and follow the road until you come to a sign for Cycle Route N27 through a gate to the right. Rejoin the railway line, across Wilminstone Viaduct until you are directed to exit once again back onto Old Exeter Road. Here take a right, down the hill, right again underneath the viaduct towards Kestrel Kennels. At the car park for Kestrel Kennels, bear left along a track until you come to a cottage. Go left over the bridge, through a gate and up a steep field. The route takes you around the edge of another field until you reach a bridleway. Follow this back to the main road. Retrace your steps but, instead of joining the railway line again at the bridge, carry on down Old Exeter Road until you come to steps on your left down into Paddon’s Row.
Refreshments: here are plenty of places to eat & drink in town, but you won’t go wrong stopping here at Mime Café for some delicious refreshments. See www.visit-tavistock.co.uk/eat