5 great Devon walks for winter

It may be cold outside but there’s still a whole beautiful county to explore when you’re in Devon – just wrap up warm and you’ll see stunning coastal views and countryside landscapes.

devon walks winter haldon forest

With the South West Coast Path running across 205 miles of the north and south coasts, and a network of pathways criss-crossing the middle, Devon is very popular with walkers. As a result, it’s also become a hotspot for the rise of family-friendly geocaching – sometimes known as digital treasure hunting (or simply, a good walk made even better).

So if you need inspiration for where’s best to walk off your roast lunch, read our guide to five great winter walks in Devon. All are circular routes, and graded as easy, so suitable for most abilities.

Find more great walks across Devon in: South Devon; Exeter and surrounds; Dartmoor; Plymouth; Torquay, Brixham and Paignton; North Devon and Exmoor
Find more active things to do in Devon

devon walks winter totnes bridge1. The Middle Dart Valley walk
Starts/ends: Totnes
Distance: 5 miles
This is perfect for winter walks because it only follows surfaced paths and lanes, so if it’s snowy or been a little wet the going will still be easy, and there is just one gentle climb and no stiles.
It begins (and ends) at the centre of the interesting medieval town of Totnes, then passes along the River Dart through the Dartington Hall Estate, where there are lovely views over the middle Dart Valley. You could make a day of it and stop off at Dartington Hall or the Dartington Cider Press Centre nearby, where there are crafts, shops, and places to eat. The walk continues along lanes and through woodland, where you’ll see a mill with a working waterwheel before returning to Totnes.
Good to know: Dogs aren’t allowed in the courtyard or gardens of Dartington Hall, but you can pick up the route at the far end of the gardens. Long-distance walkers may want to add this middle part of the Dart Valley to the Dart Valley Trail.
Follow links to see maps, detailed routes and what to see on your walk

devon walks winter bolberry down andrew besley2. The South West Coast Path, Bolberry Down
Starts/ends: Bolberry Down car park
Distance: 11.5 miles
Bolberry Down is managed by the National Trust, so this lovely area has a network of well-maintained, easily accessible paths from which to admire the sea views and rare coastal grassland.
There are a number of routes that you can take, but if you want a nice easy stroll take the loop route that heads east along the coast. You’ll pass the Port Light Hotel, then head along the coast, passing a number of viewpoints and benches. When you reach the return point you’ll be able to see along the coast as far as Rame Head in Cornwall, and on a clear day you should be able to see the Eddystone Lighthouse guarding a dangerous reef 8 miles out from Rame Head.
Good to know: this route is suitable for wheelchairs and buggies, and dog-friendly too. The Port Light Hotel is a good stopoff point for refreshments.
Follow links to see maps, detailed routes and what to see on your walk

Devon walks winter haldon forest 53. The Mamhead Sensory Trail, near Exeter
Starts/ends: Mamhead car park in Haldon Forest Park
Distance: 1.5 miles
This all-ability trail is in Haldon Forest Park, just minutes outside Exeter, and takes you along flat, well surfaced tracks. It’s perfect for those with younger children, as it’s a ‘sensory trail’ with special markers along the way to encourage walkers to appreciate their whole surroundings, and plenty of resting points and picnic benches. It’s also pushchair friendly, with no steep inclines.
Starting at the car park in Mamhead, the route follows through the forest and a beech-lined avenue to the high viewpoint near the Obelisk. From here there are views across the whole of Exeter, and on a clear day across to Start Point and Dawlish.
Good to know: There are two loops of one and one and a half miles that both lead to and from the car park, and can be shortened to one mile. The route is very clearly marked by a map board at the carpark and markers along the way, but you can pick up a paper map first from Haldon Forest Park Ranger’s Office a mile or so away.
More about Haldon Forest Park

devon walks winter instow tarka trail4. The Tark Trail, North Devon
Starts/ends: Instow
Distance: 1.5 miles
The Tarka Trail is an accessible walking and cycling path that runs through 163 miles of North Devon coast and countryside. Follow the section that runs through Instow and leave the trail to double back along the South West Coast Path and a footpath that promenades along the edge of the beach.
Join the Tarka Trail where it crosses Marine Parade, at Instow Signal Box. Head north through old railway tunnels and under bridges through the village for about 1 kilometre, until there’s the opportunity to leave the trail to the left in the direction of the thatched Instow Cricket Club building. Follow the path ahead and round to the beach, then walk to the left/south back in the direction of the village – you could walk through the dunes if you like. Once you reach the village, continue south along the path that runs along the edge of the beach until it takes you back to your starting point.
Good to know: If the tide’s in and you don’t want to walk along the beach after you leave the trail at the midway point, you can walk left/south along the cricket club driveway to join the path that leads through the village. There’s a public car park in the village, further along Marine Way, and a few nice pubs to warm up in after your walk.
More about the Tarka Trail

devon walks winter ernest bassett walk5. The Ernest Bassett Walk, Dartmoor
Starts/ends: Okehampton
Distance: 5 miles
Devised by a keen Dartmoor walker and founder member of the Dartmoor Rescue Group, this walk was planned as an easy introduction to the area’s attractions.
It begins in Okehampton on the shoulder of Dartmoor, and initially takes in the sights of the town’s historic architecture and an old waterwheel. It continues along paths, across a field and through woodlands, then alongside the the East Okement river. From this scenic valley the route passes by small waterfalls and still pools, then continues in a climb to East Hill – on a clear day you’ll see fantastic views across to Exmoor and an almost aerial view of Okehampton – before returning to the town.
Good to know: This walk has variations that can make it 2.5, 3 or 4 miles – follow the link below for details.
Follow links to see maps, detailed routes and what to see on your walk

Find more great walks across Devon in: South DevonExeter and surroundsDartmoor; Plymouth; Torquay, Brixham and Paignton; North Devon and Exmoor
Find more active things to do in Devon