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3 Ilfracombe-Barnstaple
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86 Barnstaple - Plymouth
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308 Barnstaple-Georgeham
309/310 Barnstaple-Lynton
315 Barnstaple - Exeter
657 South Molton - Barnstaple

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Chaos

Winter moor
no backdrop
grey cloaked
heaven's hidden
colour explosion
branches thrust
lichen heavy
yellows, whites
dewly varnished
old masters
tumultuous streams
green-light seen
under trees
rocks cleaned
roots bared
red-water exodus
running through
Belstone Cleave
seas destination
walking spectator
smiling incredulous
river causing
grinding holt

'After a poem by my friend Jules'

Ordnance Survey Map Explorer 113
Distance 11.8 miles, 19km
3 Ilfracombe-Barnstaple
Ilfracombe  07:40
Barnstaple  08:32

86 Barnstaple - Plymouth

Barnstaple (D) 09:00
Okehampton     10:32

Return on either of these buses:

315 Barnstaple - Exeter

North Tawton    14:27  17:57
Barnstaple (A)  15:57  19:27

Walking Time     4h05   7h25
An interesting walk, this one. It's not very well sign-posted and the OS Map shows a different route in some places.

Okehampton to Fatherford Bridge 2km
Not well sign-posted. Follow the map route to Fatherford Bridge SX603948

Fatherford Bridge to Belstone 2.25km (Map route) or 4km (via West Cleave)
A choice of two routes. Either follow the map route up the hill or follow the sign posts and the river into West Cleave. I followed the latter route. West Cleave is delightful - the East Okement flows fast here, with rapids and the occassional waterfall (see left). The path is a bit uneven in places, particularly near the waterfall. The East Okement seems to be an ideal place for dippers or grey wagtails. I didn't see any today (11 Feb 05) but I could pretend that I wasn't really looking.

The West Cleave route is sign-posted until you cross the ford (SX608934) and enter the access land on the other side. There is one sign here that points you up hill NNW. This track joins another near Old Rectory Farm. I followed this new track north to join the map route near Tor Down (SX612942). However, I've since learnt that I should have headed south past Watchet Hill Cottage. This joins another on Belstone Common near the Nine Stones (SX611927). Follow this new track NNW over Watchet Hill to Belstone. (I'll have to try this on another day).

Belstone to Sticklepath Bridge 3km
Fortunately I had read '20 Pub Walks along the Tarka Trail' the night before. Otherwise I would have just followed the map route through Skaigh. I'm sure this is a very nice walk, but the alternative is to walk down through Belstone Cleave. Follow the track down to the footbridge over the Taw (SX621933). Head up hill on the other side of bridge. Soon you will see a path on the left. Follow this path west. At the next fork, take the left path down towards the river. Follow the path (mainly along the riverside) to the next footbridge (SX629937). Cross this bridge and follow the path down to the next footbridge (SX631938). The handrails of this footbridge are carved with lines from 'Tarka the Otter'. From here it is straight forward - follow the footpath through Skaigh Wood to Sticklepath Bridge.

Sticklepath Bridge to North Tawton 10km
Follow the map route (mainly along minor roads) to North Tawton. Catch the return bus near North Tawton town hall (SS664017)


Tarka Trail


Links

My List
  1. Pheasant
  2. Moorhen
  3. Woodpigeon
  4. Pied Wagtail
  5. Robin
  6. Song Thrush
  7. Blackbird
  8. Great Tit
  9. Blue Tit
  10. Long-tailed Tit
  11. Magpie
  12. Jay
  13. Jackdaw
  14. Rook
  15. Carrion Crow
  16. Starling
  17. House Sparrow
  18. Chaffinch
Possibles (?) and...
Very dubious possibles (??)
  1. Meadow Pipit?
  2. Goldcrest?
Other animals...
Created 23/1/05
Last Modified 9/12/05