Chagford to Morchard Road 
14 miles
route diagram

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Dartmeet to Chagford Back to Devon Coast-to-Coast index Morchard Road to Witheridge

The Walk

Having left Dartmoor behind yesterday we now commence the crossing of mid Devon - a world of farms, pastures, tiny villages and little used back lanes. Today's walk follows the Two Moors Way throughout so there will be no route finding problems. There is an interesting and rewarding mix of scenery today, from the riverside walks along the Teign, through the Teign gorge alongside Castle Drogo and the charming village of Drewsteignton, to the woods, hills and pastures of the countryside around Hittesleigh and Wotton. We leave the Dartmoor National Park once we cross the A30 road north of Drewsteignton, and the greater part of the day's walk beyond that point is on road. Our ultimate destination for the day is the railway halt at Morchard Road.

Maps: OS 1:25000 Outdoor Leisure 28 (Dartmoor), Explorer 113 (Okehampton)

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Leave Chagford by the road to Easton Cross. Unless you stayed here overnight, the chances are that this is the road on which you arrived in the village. Soon after the last houses of Chagford fall away, about 700metres from the village centre, take a minor road that forks off to the left. In 300metres it crosses the Teign by way of Rushford Bridge, and the Two Moors Way (which bypassed Chagford itself) joins from the left having followed a riverbank path.

Rushford Mill

Rushford Mill and the riverbank footpathby the banks of the Teign

At Rushford Mill, 300metres beyond the river bridge, look out for the public footpath signboard and turn left to join the path along the northwest bank of the river. You will be alongside the river for the next mile and a half and this stretch is exceedingly pleasant. Tree lined river meadows are the order of the day for the first half mile, after which the tree cover increases and you find yourself walking within a clump of woodland.


Woodland paths in the vicinity of Dogmarsh Bridge

A mile and a half out of Chagford you reach the main A382 road, which crosses the Teign by way of Dogmarsh Bridge. The footpath crosses the road just northwest of the bridge and resumes its course along the riverbank. You emerge from the trees once more to enter another pleasant stretch or river meadows. This section of the route is known as the Fishermens' Path. If you look slightly up to your left you may spot Castle Drogo nestling among the trees at the top of the hill.

Fishermens' Path and a view of Castle Drogo

Castle Drogo and Teign Gorge

Path junction;  Coombe

The path approaches another clump of trees, within which you will find a path junction. Follow the path to the left, for Coombe. This path nips smartly uphill through a tunnel of tree cover. Some 800metres to the north you come out into the open at another path junction. Our route turns hard right to contour along the hillside to Hunters Tor. If you wish to visit Castle Drogo, however, continue straight on to the road and follow it around to the entrance.

  The National Trust - Castle Drogo website

Castle Drogo is one of only two castles built in the twentieth century. (By a curious coincidence the other one, at Culrain in the Scottish Highlands, is also just off the route of the End-to-End). Drogo was built by Lutyens for a wealthy industrialist and was completed in 1930, and is now owned by the National Trust. The house and gardens are open from Easter to the end of October, except on Fridays, and are well worth a visit.

Castle Drogo gardens;  Hunters Path

The path around the hillside below the walls of the castle is spectacular. It runs out to Hunters Tor and makes a sharp left to run northeast, thence curving around to the right as it contours round above the Teign. The river hereabouts runs through a deeply wooded gorge. Hunters Path, as it is known, looks down upon the gorge and over to Dartmoor to the southwest. the path curves round in the direction of Sharp Tor.

The Teign GorgeHunters Tor;  Sharp Tor

Hunters Tor and Castle DrogoPiddledown Common

From Sharp Tor there's another pedestrian route to Castle Drogo off to the left, not shown on the OS map. Our route continues along Hunters Path for another 200metres and then turns left onto a path heading north among bracken and light tree cover. The map gives the name of this locality as Piddledown Common. Never mind, we can be spared any further embarrassments of this type until we encounter Shitlington Farm in Northumberland. The path nips smartly northward, running into trees to approach Drewsteignton from the south.


Rectory Wood

The path runs just inside the western edge of Rectory Wood and crosses a tiny stream at the far end. Beyond the wood the TMW turns half right and heads smartly uphill along a track for 300metres, then turns half left again along a fieldside path to reach Drewsteignton at its southwestern corner. Turn right to walk into the village centre, Drewsteignton is thoroughly charming, a place of whitewashed cottages, some with thatched roofs. There is a public convenience in the village and a couple of pubs, but I don't recall seeing a village shop (so no ice creams, sorry). Drewsteignton is the last village you go through today so don't expect to be able to get any food or drink further on.


Leave Drewsteignton on the road to the north, taking the right fork at Netherton House. The lane goes downhill to Vere Mill, after which the TMW takes a vehicle track north through the tiny locality of Winscombe. Shortly beyond Winscombe you reach a main road, the old A30 trunk road through Devon and a spur off the new A30 just 200metres ahead. At this point you leave the Dartmoor National Park. Cross the new A30 using the old A30 as an overbridge.  

Manor Farm

Crossing the A30;  Manor Farm

The buildings of manor Farm are just ahead to your right but before you reach them turn right onto a minor road called Hask lane. This lane dives under the new A30 some 300metres ahead but before you reach the underpass you will see a footpath heading off to the left.

This footpath heralds a delightful section, roughly two miles of field paths rising and falling over undulating countryside. Keep your eye on the map and navigate by field boundaries. The TMW is well waymarked so you shouldn't have any problems. Initially the path hugs field boundaries but after about 600metres the route crosses two pastures on the diagonal, heading downhill into a ribbon of woodland. Walk through the wood towards Forder Farm.

Woodland path, Forder Farm

At the far end of the wood cross a stream by a footbridge to come out onto a tiny motor road. This is an intricate and confusing section. Go left for a few yards to a junction and then right for a few yards, before turning left again for the continuation of the footpath, which rises uphill towards Hill Farm. Here the Dartmoor OS map, the Okehampton sheet and the TMW guidebook disagree on the exact route of the path but it should be obvious enough on the ground. This might be a good point at which to put the Dartmoor OS map away and get out the Okehampton sheet.

Hill Farm

Grazing cattle, Hill Farmfootbridge

Hill farm is, appropriately, on top of a hill. Keep the farm buildings to your left but just beyond the farm ignore the lane (which curves off right) and go slightly left for a path heading downhill. A plank footbridge crosses the stream at the foot of the hill after which you go uphill yet again, to Whitethorn farm. The map shows a fieldside path passing the farm about 100metres to the right, the TMW guidebook has the path using the farm driveway. Take the path if it's obvious on the ground, and in any case the path merges with the farm drive after another 300metres. Follow the lane out to a motor road just south of Hittsleigh.


Approaching Hittsleigh Barton

Most of the next few miles is on tarmac. Walk through Hittsleigh - just a scattering of cottages - and at the crossroads take the road heading slightly left. Hittsleigh Barton lays 600metres ahead, a slightly larger village with a church. You're in amongst archetypal mid-Devon scenery here, a world of tiny villages set among undulating countryside dotted with hedges and clumps of woodland. On a warm, balmy summer afternoon this is heaven. Follow the road north and just keep going. Amble and take your time. The traffic will be light.

Howard Cross

A mile north of Hittesleigh you reach the minor junction of Howard Cross and here the road bends around to the right. You're quite high up here, at an elevation of 187 metres, and the views are good. Down to your right is the wooded dell of Shortridge; it looks inviting but unfortunately there is no public access, and in fact it is the paucity of public footpaths around this area that make road walking necessary. A pity.  The road takes a fairly straight course to the east-northeast for the next three miles and leads direct to the railway halt at Yeoford - this direct route is an option for shortening the day's walk should you wish. There is no habitation along the road save for a couple of farmhouses. You pass a side road to the left and walk pass Road Down Copse, after which the road heads smartly downhill to the junction for Binneford. Continue straight on, uphill again, towards Highfield. You reach another road off to the left; this is decision time. If you've had enough for the day leave the Two Moors Way here and continue along the road for Yeoford halt. If you feel good for a few more miles, then turn down the lane to Newbury.


The Two Moors Way between Newbury and West Wotton Farm

If you're feeling in need of cool, liquid refreshment then Newbury will disappoint; it's just another farm. Immediately before the farm buildings turn half right onto a vehicle track, which heads off northwestwards and uphill between trees and hedges. After some 500metres the lane gives out and the route now follows fieldside paths for a further 500metres, coming out onto another motor road by West Wotton Farm.


The road approaching Prestons Farm;  The route at Prestons Farm

Turn right onto the road and walk along it to the northeast, passing West Wotton Farm, Westcombe Hill House, Great Wotton and Hill Crest. These are all individual buildings, not villages or localities. This road section lasts for some 800metres. Just beyond Hillcrest and just before Prestons (presumably a farm but just named as Prestons on the map) a track goes off towards woodland to the left.

Horwell Wood

Horwell Wood

Crossing the Okehampton railway line

The path through the wood is pleasant and well defined. Towards the northern edge of the wood you cross the single track railway line to Okehampton on the level. The line no longer carries passengers but is still open to serve the quarry workings west of Okehampton - look out for approaching trains. Beyond the wood the path continues, almost due north, heading smartly uphill across pastures to pick up the road network once again at Whelmstone Cross.

Whelmstone Barton

You reach Whelmstone Cross at the top of the ridge, at an elevation of 139metres (about 450ft). The cross is actually a "T" junction. Follow the lane to the north, which heads downhill again and then curves around to the right through the tiny locality of Whelmstone Barton (just a couple of houses, in fact).

Whelmstone Barton

Some 500metres beyond Whelmstone Barton take a footpath off the road to the left.


Footpath at Paschoe;  Paschoe House

The footpath goes initially uphill for about 200metres then, having reached a ridge line, falls again towards a tiny river valley. The path crosses cropped fields. As you stroll downhill cast a glance to the left where you will see Paschoe House. The path runs down to Paschoe dairy farm then turns left and uphill along an enclosure boundary, then right again to pass through a ribbon of woodland. Beyond, and downhill, is Appledore Farm.

Paschoe Dairy Farm

Paschoe dairy herd, and the footpath beyond

Appledore Farm

Footpath to Appledore Farm

Appledore Farm

Follow the path down to Appledore Farm, which lays immediately to the right of our route. The farm driveway takes you out to the road just beyond; turn left (west) along the road.


The TWM at Sweetfield Farm

About 100 metres along the road you will see a footpath sign pointing to the right (first image above). This leads into the grounds of Sweetfield Farm, an area where the layout of field boundaries looks nothing at all like the map. The first point of ambiguity occurs straight away, where you are confronted with a short, narrow flight of steps forking right and a short farm track to your left. Choose the steps, and if no other route is obvious from here on, follow the field boundary to your right (this field boundary is missing from the map). This will lead you to a point just short of the farmhouse, where you should spot a stile deep in the hedgerow (second image above).

Go around the side and then the back of the farmhouse. It's pointless looking for the pattern of field boundaries shown on the map to the rear of the farm, because they don't exist. Find the TMW marker on a pole and follow its direction, towards an electricity pole and subsequently along a gap between crops (third image above) towards the western end of a copse of trees. Once you're past the trees the map should start to make sense again.

Clannaborough Barton

Clannaborough Barton

Follow the obvious track to a point 100 metres north of the trees, where it bends sharply to the right. The track becomes quite substantial and heads for the tiny locality of Clannaborough Barton; a farm, a church and a couple of cottages. Turn left just short of the church and follow the driveway out to the main A3072 road beyond.


The Lammacott farm lane

Walk along the main road to the right (east) for some 200 metres then turn left along the narrow lane to Lammacott Farm. This is a pretty little section, with the lane wandering downhill between lush fields. Follow the lane to the right beyond Lammacott itself, and after 300 metres turn left for the footpath heading due north and yet further downhill.

Barn Shelley

The short woodland section approaching Barn Shelley

Towards the foot of the hill the path hits a little complex of field corners, so keep an eye on the map (which can be trusted here). Follow the bends past a screen of trees (first image above) then enter a short section of woodland (second image) to arrive at a footbridge over the stream (third image).

Pastures, and the road at Barn Shelley

Beyond the footbridge cross an open pasture (first image above) then follow the left hand side of a hedge (second image) to emerge onto the Down St Mary road. Follow this to the right, passing the house named Barn Shelley.


Pastures, Wolfin Farm

Two hundred metres beyond Barn Shelley you leave the road to the left, for a footpath than runs through the pastures of Wolfin Farm. Go half right after the first stile to reach an open field, possibly grazed by sheep (as seen above). The field is an odd shape, but just keep going and seek out the far top right corner, passing Wolfin Farm itself to come out suddenly on the busy A377 main road.

The A377 and the footpath beside the railway

Take heart now, for the intricacies are behind you and there's less than half a mile to go. Follow the TMW signs across the road to find a footpath that first wanders uncertainly through a patch of scrub. Eventually it sorts itself out and leads to a stile across a fence. Turn left now and follow the path alongside the fence. On your right is the railway line from Exeter to Barnstaple. Keep going for some 500 metres until you reach Shobrooke Bridge, where a farm track crosses the line to the right. The route continues along this track but we're finished for the day. Turn left, follow the short track back to the main road, and walk along it for the short distance to Morchard Road.

Morchard Road

There's not much to see at Morchard Road. The railway station is a short way along the road. It carries services between Barnstaple and Exeter but the stopping pattern is irregular. If there isn't a train due for some time you might be able to fall back on the bus services. A bus between Exeter and Chulmleigh runs this way, and connections are available from Chulmleigh onwards to Barnstaple. Check for up to date times, however.

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Dartmeet to Chagford Back to Devon Coast-to-Coast index Morchard Road to Witheridge

This page last updated 22nd December 2006