Witheridge to Jubilee Inn 
12 miles
route diagram

Morchard Road to Witheridge
Back to Devon Coast-to-Coast index Jubilee Inn to Exford

The Walk

Today's walk is much like yesterday's, another long amble among the fields, pastures, farms, woods, back lanes and tiny villages of north Devon. There is quite a significant section on tarmac, but fortunately traffic is very light. Otherwise the paths and tracks are good and waymarking is excellent.

There are very few habitations on route, only one main road is crossed and there is no public transport between Witheridge and the Jubilee Inn, so there is no opportunity to break this route into half days. Unless you have a friend with a car you're pretty much committed to doing the whole walk in one. Although the distance of twelve miles is comfortable the terrain is fairly hilly and there is quite a bit of cumulative ascent. But this is country worth taking time over.  The village of Knowstone, in particular, is a gem.

Maps:  OS 1:25000 Explorers 127 (South Molton and Chulmleigh) and 114 (Exeter and the Exe Valley)

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Start off from the main square in Witheridge and take the road to the east, immediately forking left into Rackenford Road. Just before the road junction at the edge of the village take a footpath off to the left. It runs alongside a hedge (first picture below) then kinks half right at the first field corner, to follow a series of field paths as far as Yeo Copse.

The route from Witheridge to Yeo Copse

  Bradford Moor

Yeo Copse

Go through Yeo Copse and, at the far gate, keep immediately to the right of the stream. This is a lovely, peaceful spot, just right for a morning refreshment break.

The scene northeast of Yeo Copse

Follow the contours of the valley now, keeping generally fifty metres south west of the stream on a series of field paths hugging hedgerows and patches of woodland to your right. This section continues for about a mile, as far as Bradford Mill. There's one side stream to cross (second image below), after which the path runs hard by the edge of Bradford Moor Plantation. Just short of Bradford Mill itself the path becomes enclosed between the wood and another hedge.

The route between Yeo Copse and Bradford Mill

At the far side of Bradford Moor Plantation the route comes out into a minor road.

Bradford Mill

Bradford Mill

This is the start of a three mile section of road walking. Fear not. Traffic is very light; on the day I did this walk in August 2004 I was passed by only six vehicles on the whole three mile stretch, and three of those were within the last couple of hundred metres.

Bradford Mill

Turn left and walk down to the mill cottage. Just round the bend ignore the right fork to Leat Farm and continue on the main road towards Bradford Barton.

Bradford Barton

Bradford Barton is a very secluded locality, and the road hereabouts is enclosed by high hedges. As you walk uphill, however, the hedges fall away and you begin to get glorious views over the splendid North Devon countryside. Continue uphill to the road junction at Crowdhole Cross, one mile north of Bradford Moor.

Scenes along the road to Crowdhole Cross

The road pertty much follows the top of a ridge now, towards the next road junction at Creacombe Parsonage.

The road from Crowdhole Cross to Creacombe Parsonage


Creacombe Parsonage

The road reaches a junction at Creacombe Parsonage Farm, a pleasant pastel-washed cottage (second picture above). The cross is actually a T-junction; go right, for the road signposted to Rackenford and Tiverton. The road continues to the north east, uphill again, to reach the next junction at Creacombemoor Cross

Creacombe Moor Cross

One more mile of road walking, still gently uphill, brings you to a road junction at Toll House Farm at a spot height of 251 metres.

Toll House

Half the day's walk is already over! At Toll House Farm cross the road and go slightly left to enter a broad green lane running through a wide copse of trees (no photos of this, unfortunately, the light levels were very low). The lane continues for a good mile, with occasional side gates giving access to the pastures on either side. I took advantage of one of these to park on the adjacent grass for my lunch stop. Eventually, the lane emerges onto a lonely back lane at Knowstone Outer Moor.

Knowstone Outer Moor and the road to Knowstone

Turn left onto the road and follow it downhill towards the locality of Brownsford.

Knowstone Moor

Knowstone Moor Road and the path alongside the Sturcombe river

Although the map doesn't show it, the road is fringed by hedges and ribbons of woodland and is most pleasant. Head downhill towards the valley of the Sturcombe river. Once you cross the little stone bridge (first image above) turn right for a footpath through the wood along the bank of the stream. This is a recent diversion and may not be shown on your map; it's designed to spare you the crossing of the busy A361 North Devon highway. The new path follows the stream and shares the underbridge beneath the road (third image above). The road does not carry a bus route.

Knowstone Moor

Turn left beyond the bridge. The following section of path is new, and it more or less runs along the eastern boundary of Knowstone Inner Moor some 400 metres east of the track that was the former route of the TMW. You run steadily uphill through semi-open woodland, with heathland to your left. The area is a SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest), essentially a nature reserve. Eventually you come out onto a lonely moorland road (third picture below).

Knowstone Moor and the road

Turn left and follow the road to a junction, at which you rejoin the old TMW route. Turn right onto a road signposted "Knowstone". You're close to a hilltop here, and the road rises slightly at first then drops smartly downhill again to the north west. The country ahead is getting steadily hillier; you're approaching the fringes of Exmoor.

Junction and road to Knowstone


The route to Knowstone

It's the best part of a mile to Knowstone from the road junction. Once again the traffic is very light and the surrounding scenery is very pleasant.  You can choose to take the road all the way but there is an alternative for the last four hundred metres; although it looks bitty on the map it's well marked and fun to explore. A footpath goes off the road to the right at a left hand bend (second image above) and runs smartly downhill alongside a hedgerow, doglegging left and right through gates to sweep down to the village between a hedge and a wooden fence (second picture below).

The approach to Knowstone


Knowstone is tiny, secluded and chocolate-box pretty, a cluster of white and yellow-washed cottages with thatched roofs. The Mason's Arms is the centrepiece of the village and no doubt does a decent passing trade from those walking the Two Moors Way. It has a good reputation for food. Apparently it doesn't have rooms but there are a couple of B&B's nearby.

Masons Arms

You're ten miles out of Witheridge now, with just two more miles to go. Leave the village along the road to the east, and at the junction take the lane to the left (first picture below). This lane doesn't go anywhere except to serve the tiny localities of Owlaborough and Highfield and an adjacent farm or two, and it becomes exceptionally narrow and twisty.

Scenes along the lane from Knowstone to Owlaborough


The lane to Owlaborough

The lane runs downhill to a stream, which is crossed by a ford at a sharp left-hand bend. Thereafter it runs smartly uphill again and curves round to the right. You pass a couple of cottages either side of the road; that's Owlaborough. and a hundred metres further along is its "suburb" of Highfield.


Not far beyond Highfield the tarmac gives out and you're on a farm track. After another 200 metres the farm track peters out in turn at a field corner. Go slightly left now and follow a green track uphill through a ribbon of woodland to approach Owlaborough Moor.

Woodland path to Owlaborough Moor

Owlaborough Moor

The Two Moors Way arrives at Owlaborough Moor

The name suggests heathland so it's actually a bit of a surprise to go through the gate at the north end of the copse to emerge on to a neat, grassy pasture. There's very little trace of a path on the ground; simply cross the field on the diagonal heading north east. You cross a north-south field boundary not shown on the OS map (first picture below) then head across the next pasture on the same bearing for a gate by a bent tree (second image below).

Owlaborough Moor

Beyond the tree cross a final pasture, still on the same general heading, to reach a gate into a wood (third image above). The wood is called New Moor Plantation and the gate gives access to a short vehicle track straight through the middle, to emerge at the B3237 road at the far side.

New Moor Plantation

This is the end of the day's walk. The road carries a bus service (no. 307 Taunton to Barnstaple via Exebridge, Dulverton and South Molton, generally once every two hours). The bus won't be able to stop for you here but if you walk a quarter of a mile to the east you will reach the Jubilee Inn at a road junction. The inn is a recognised stop on the route although it doesn't actually figure on the timetable. Due to the bends in the road sight lines are poor, so stand on the Jubilee Inn (north) side of the road to flag down the bus in either direction. There's a B&B at nearby Highaton Farm.

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Morchard Road to Witheridge
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This page last updated 16th January 2005