One of the best activities to indulge in during the winter is a bracing walk – especially if you get to stop off for a hearty meal halfway through or a cup of coffee or two. If that sounds like something you’d enjoy this winter, check out our suggestions for great winter walks in Devon.
This atmospheric wood on Dartmoor is beautiful any time of year that you visit but if you visit during the winter, you’ll get to see the mist clinging to the views across Dartmoor and the trees and boulders have a whole different feel to them when they’re bare with a hint of a frost. From the wood’s car park, there is a popular five mile circular walking route which can take up to two hours and once you’re done, you’re not too far from some of Dartmoor’s best loved hotels and restaurants – perfect for some restorative refreshments!
On the outskirts of Exeter is Haldon Forest Park. Managed by Forestry England, this 3,500 acre woodland has a host of trails and paths to suit all ages and abilities and has mobility aids available for hire, including all terrain wheelchairs, so everyone can enjoy exploring. Once you’re done, you can visit their café and warm up with a cup of something hot.
This wood is one of the oldest woodlands in the county, it’s part of the Devon Wildlife Trust and can be found on the edge of the Dartmoor National Park. There are several different walks to explore, including a gentle circular walk that is much used at this time of year.
This area of National Trust land is a beautiful place for a winter walk. The gorge, which looks dramatic at the best of times takes on a whole new atmosphere at this time of year. The ancient woodland and the riverside have lots of great walking spots and afterwards, there is a National Trust tea room full of treats.
Located in Honiton and part of the Blackdown Hills is this iron age hill fort which makes a difference from all the woodlands walks we’ve suggested so far. This prehistoric fort falls within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and there is a circular walk that gives you a chance to take in the outstanding views of the Otter Valley.
Stover Country Park
There is a Nature Reserve at Stover Country Park which is just outside of Newton Abbot and has around 114 acres to explore. There are lots of walks to enjoy, including an aerial one which gives you a view of the woodland and lakes which can help you discover some of the park’s hidden secrets.
Brownsham Woods on the Hartland Peninsula – one of the prettiest places in North Devon – has some incredible views along the many paths. Start off at the National Trust car park and then follow the path down to Brownsham Woods to explore. From here there are a couple of other walks you can follow, including paths to Clovelly or Windbury Hill where there is a fort.
Lydford Gorge is the deepest river gorge in the South West and is a really awe inspiring place whatever time of year you find yourself here. In the winter months, you’ll be able to catch sight of the gorge through the branches and there is a lovely walking trail from the National Trust car park.
On the outskirts of Plymouth you’ll find Hardwick Wood which is managed by the Woodland Trust. The trails and pathways are winding and you can always find something different with every visit.
If you like a range of activities, head to Eggesford Forest. This forest is perfect for walks, fishing, cycling and more – you’ll find the forest not far from Eggesford Station and the minute you step into the woods you’ll find lots of options for walking routes and being so close to Barnstaple, you’ll have plenty of choice for refreshments afterwards.
Where are your favourite places to stop off after a winter walk? Let us know!