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)