Monday, 28 September 2009

New Walk- Newton Poppleford in East Devon

There is a new walk on Devon-Walks.co.uk, the Newton Poppleford Circular. I created this walk partly to highlight the East Devon Way, an often overlooked long distance path and partly because I like the name of the village!




Newton Poppleford was established in the 15th Century and the name roughly translates from old English as New Town (of) Pebble Ford. The Pebble ford was at that time the only way to cross the nearby River Otter. Today it is situated on the main road from Exeter to Sidmouth. I think this is a lovely village that is typical of the pleasant villages you get in this part of the county.



The East Devon Way is a 40 mile path between Lyme Regis and Exmouth. Although there are a couple of climbs the route is not overly challenging and I believe it could make a nice weekend trip with an overnight stay in Sidbury.




The section of the East Devon Way that features in this walk includes the section over Harpford Commom. This is part of the pebble bed heaths that includes Aylesbeare Common. It is home to a rich selection of wildlife in particular there are over 30 species of butterfly. If you are vesting in late summer be sure to look out for brimstone fritillaries.



I hope you enjoy the walk and please keep an eye out for more great Devon Walks coming soon.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

New Walking Equipment Page on Devon-Walks.co.uk



We’ve added a new walking equipment page to the Devon-Walks.co.uk website. Check it out for a quick guide to the gear you need to enjoy walking in Devon to it’s fullest. The article covers all equipment areas including the most important item of kit, the walking boot.

Having a good quality pair of walking boots is an absolute must for maximum comfort when walking. The wrong shoe can be an irritant, say if it’s not waterproof on a wet walk and your feet are damp and cold. Or it could be more serious, where a poorly fitting boot gives you blisters that remain painful for some time. The worst case scenario is that you could sustain a serious injury, to your ankle for example, by tripping or slipping. This could stop you enjoying a Devon walk for quite some time, what could be worse!

The importance of a good boot has become such a focus that some shops offer specialised fitting services. In fact in some larger stores I have seen a plastic moulded bridge of ‘rough ground’ for customers to walk over to test fit and grip on uneven surfaces. I’m not sure I’m entirely convinced that 2 metres of plastic knobbles are really a great aid when trying to decide on a new pair of boots but it certainly makes for great entertainment.

Personally I don’t think you can find one pair of boots that are suitable for all conditions. A main bugbear of mine is that the sturdier boots which have a strong sole that are excellent when walking in muddy conditions seem to have absolutely no grip when walking across rocks. For anyone that enjoys a walk on the coast, or even scaling the odd Tor, having a flexible sole that provides some grip on a smooth rock surface is a must. Admittedly the stiff sole provides the best base for longer hikes but even a wet country lane can prove treacherous in this kind of boot. Therefore I favour a lighter trail boot with more flexibility. You sacrifice some ankle support but it does live you free to bound from rock to rock whilst your boot wearing companions march steadily beside you.

In the summer I like a trail shoe in good weather. These very light low cut shoes are almost a trainer in some respects and don’t look out of place around town. They tend to be well ventilated and being lightweight won’t bog you down in the heat. These are best sorted to shorter walks and I would still recommend a light boot on longer hikes.

Whilst it is best to try boots on in store if you are familiar with a particular brands sizing it is well worth ordering online to enjoy the savings you get with the internet. I personally like to use Amazon as they are an established retailer with good customer services. They are normally thought of as a seller of books, CDs and other media but also stock a good range of walking equipment

Thursday, 17 September 2009

New Walk on Dartmoor



A new walk has been posted on the website- Hay Tor Circular.

This easy 4 mile walk features one of the iconic landmarks of Dartmoor. Hay Tor dominates the landscape but climbing to the top of the tor and you are rewarded with some of the finest views of Dartmoor on offer. In addition there are plenty of free car parks in the area, offering plenty of options for starting points to your walk.

This is a very popular area of Dartmoor so it is best avoided during school holidays as it does get very busy. My favourite time to visit is at dusk on a sharp winters day. Watching the low sun go down in the west, casting long shadows across the mist filled valleys truely is a magical experience.

Climbing is also popular at Hay Tor and it is always worthwhile to stop and watch those brave individuals pit themselves against the rough granite of the tor. There are companies in the area that offer an introduction to the sport if the sight of others dangling from the tor inspires you. Just don't look down! 

If you are looking for a more sedate way to enjoy the countryside and wish to explore outside of Dartmoor please check out Devon-Walks.co.uk for more ideas on walking in Devon.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

North Devon Autumn Walking Festival

Following the success of the annual North Devon Walking festival, usually held in May, the organisers have decided to run an additional Autumn walking festival from the 18th to the 21st September. 

There will be over 30 events with guided walks suited to all levels of ability. Several walks have a culinary focus with the availability of wild food becoming the main focus of the walks. The fungi forage is likley to be a very popular walk, and it provides an excellent oppourtunity to pick up some expert knowledge on a tricky subject. 

Wildlife fans have not been forgotten to with the return of the popular deer search walks led by an experienced Exmoor Park Ranger. There is also the chance to explore some areas of private land not normally open to the public. The guided tour of the grounds of Hartland Abbey is sure to be a highlight of the festival and is a must for all those Jane Austen fans as a cottage within the grounds was used as a location for the BBC Sense & Sensibility adaptation. 

All walks should be booked in advanced with ticket prices at around £5. For more information visit www.walkingnorthdevon.co.uk.
If you can't take part in the festival or prefer to walk alone visit Devon-Walks.co.uk to see some of the best walks in Devon

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Walking in Devon

Getting ready for a nice long weekend walk, and guess what it looks like it's going to rain! If you are going to go walking in Devon remember to back your waterproofs. With the summer we've had my mac has seen more use than my sunscreen that's for sure.
We're off to Bratton Fleming for a new walk and hopefully a bit of blackberrying if we're lucky. If it's any good expect to see it on Devon-Walks soon.
Happy Hiking!

Friday, 4 September 2009

Welcome to the Blog!

Devon-Walks.co.uk welcomes you to the new blog. We will be posting all the 
latest news here. Whenever a new Devon walk is posted it will be announced 
on the blog. The web site is still in the early stages so expect to see regular 
updates over the next few months. We will also use this blog to document our 
own experiences of walking in Devon and perhaps a few behind the scenes 
reports on how the new walks get put together. 
 
Till then, happy hiking!