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Coast and country: some of the best pub walks in Devon

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Carmen McCormack

Guest Expert

5 min read

Pubs and walks go together like salt and pepper, you just can’t have one without the other. So, we’ve rounded up a handful of our favourite walks in Devon that start or finish with a delicious meal or refreshing drink in a cosy local pub. Walkers are spoilt for choice in Devon, there are golden beaches topped by a rugged coastal path, two vast wild moors and endless verdant rippling fields. Choose from waterfalls at National Trust Lydford Gorge to sections of the Tarka Trail, and gentle English riviera strolls to sunny canalside ambles. Each route is a delight in its own right that pitches up at a characterful pub just as your legs are calling out for a sit down.

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The Devil’s Cauldron to The Castle Inn

The Castle Inn is a welcoming, warming 16th-century inn, leading through wooded hills and valleys to the pretty village of Lydford. You’re also right next door to the famous Lydford Gorge National Trust site with its 30m waterfall and a superb clutch of walks. The most memorable is the Devil’s Cauldron Trail, a circular walk that follows narrow, winding woodland paths beside the River Lyd as it meanders from peaceful stream to raging torrent. Head through the deep ravine, stopping off at the viewing platform in the Devil’s Cauldron, a natural fissure in the rocks full of gushing water. There’s more: you’re on the edge of Dartmoor National Park for wonderful walks galore. Return to warm yourself in front of a blazing log fire and tuck into excellent local and seasonal food paired with proper Devon ales and local ciders. You can stay the night in serene rooms too.

Visit The Castle Inn >

Appledore to Westward Ho!

The Champ is a proper local’s pub tucked in the heart of coastal Appledore offering succour at the end of a blustery walk. Try following the coastal path along the River Taw estuary from Appledore to Westward Ho! It’s an easy-breezy 4.5 miles with the option to hop on the bus back if your legs have had enough. Fun fact: Westward Ho! is actually named after the book – not the other way around. Refreshment on hot summer days at The Champ comes from local Clear Water Brewery ales, they’ve been brewing beer in nearby Bideford for the last 20 years. Too dinky for a kitchen, you’re welcome to pitch up with your own dinner or a takeaway, there’s a good fish and chip shop next door. There’s a lively local gig scene and open mic night every week for an evening of foot tapping before rolling back to Cornwallis, an 18th-century fisherman’s cottage with garden at the end of a cobbled row, less than a five-minute walk from the pub.

Visit Cornwallis >

Tarka Trail, Torrington to Bideford

Inspired by Tarka The Otter, The Tarka Trail is a 180 mile, looping trail winding through north Devon. It’s easy to hop on and off its network of footpaths and bridleways that lead through hushed valleys, ancient woodland, and along the coast. We recommend the six-mile Torrington to Bideford section which winds up at The Royal Hotel for a well-deserved meal their Sunday carvery is popular. The route mostly follows the meandering path of the river Torridge, starting from the old railway station before passing the Rolle Canal aqueduct. Supported by five stone arches it’s a spectacular sight. Along the way, you’ll walk over a number of bridges with breathtaking river views, including the ‘Pool of the Six Herons’, as featured in Henry Williamson’s book. The entire trail includes information signs detailing the area’s rich history. Stay at The Artist Barn, midway between Great Torrington and Bideford, where you’ll also find the Hockings ice-cream van for the best local ices made with clotted cream. Not to be missed!

Visit The Artist Barn >

English Riviera guided walks to Cary Arms & Spa 

Anchored to the English Riviera, Cary Arms & Spa, is a glorious seaside inn on Babbacombe Bay. With views of sea and sky, a spoiling spa and homely, hearty dining to return to after stunning coastal walks, it can’t be beaten. Sign up with an award-winning local guide for walks around Babbacombe, Agatha Christie themed strolls and stunning coastal wanderings to learn all about the unique landscape, now recognised as a UNESCO Geopark as a site of geological importance. Or simply pick up the South West Coastal Path from the front door and see where it takes you. In ten minutes you can be on Oddicombe Beach for sea kayaking, paddleboarding, snorkelling. Return to dig into comforting menus – locally sourced, seasonal, ever-changing, with an emphasis on seafood and a vegan menu – in the cosy pub. There are delightful bedrooms upstairs. 

Visit Cary Arms & Spa >

Tiverton Canal to Redbrick Barn Loft

On a bright summer’s day, a waterside stroll beside the calm canal to Tiverton is pretty hard to beat. Built in 1814 to carry limestone from local quarries on tub-boats, the canal meanders around the hills above Tiverton. After working the waterway for 130 years, now just an 11-mile stretch is left, with a visitor centre tracing its history and horse drawn barge trips plying slowly up and down one of only three horse-drawn barge companies in the UK. The path is popular with walkers and cyclists, the water with kayakers and paddleboarders, and there’s a surrounding park filled with birds and wildlife. Pitch up at Ducks Ditty Bar, Tiverton Canal Floating Bar, for a light lunch, tea and cake, ice cream or a glass of something chilled. Note: open summer only. Stay at nearby Redbrick Barn Loft, a roomy, stylish barn conversion in Devon’s rolling hills with panoramic views of the Exe valley

Visit Redbrick Barn Loft >

Browse all our places to stay in Devon > 

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Carmen McCormack

Guest Expert

Carmen is a freelance writer specialising in travel. She once lived in a bus in north Wales, skipped off to study in Barcelona, and now calls Bristol home. When she’s not tapping away on her laptop, she can be found reading (a lot), lake swimming (a little), and pottering on the allotment with husband and two kiddos. She’s currently dreaming about cold cerveza and torta in Mexico.

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