Nature Trails in North Devon
North Devon is home to an abundance of nature trails and walks, whether you want to traipse through woodland, across open countryside or along the coast. With its beautiful, scenic landscapes and abundance of wildlife, you'll find something different with every season. Many of the region's best loved trails offer amazing chances to get back to nature and spot some of the resident wildlife, including squirrels, birds, butterflies and more.
Here are a selection of the most popular nature trails and walks around North Devon.
Beautiful beach walks
Putsborough to Woolacombe
For an easy, level walk around the beaches at Putsborough and Woolacombe, follow this trail. You can start at either end, depending on where you find yourself and take in the views across to Lundy Island and Morte Point.
Baggy Point is a fairly short and easy walk too. The walk gives you some amazing views of the coast around Bideford Bay and Hartland and you can spot merlins, peregrines and hen harriers from the top. Plus, this spot is the perfect place for looking out over the old coastguard wreck post.
Watersmeet to Ash Bridge
This circular walk is a great one for the whole family to get involved with and takes you along the banks of the East Lyn River as well as bits of the coast. This trail includes the homes of otters, deer and herons, so if you’re quiet, you might spot your own Tarka.
Rustic, rural walks
This walk will take you through the UK’s largest sand-dune system and the Biosphere. Start at Velator and walk through the Burrows towards Braunton Marshes and Braunton Great Field, one of the only Medieval farming fields left in England. As the site of the Biosphere Reserve, a National Nature Reserve and the sand dune, you can expect to find a whole host of unique species living in this area.
Hilsborough’s Sleeping Elephant
Sadly there isn’t an actual elephant to be found here, but is rather the local name for the Hilsborough Nature Reserve. This short walk around the reserve in Ilfracombe gives some amazing views of both countryside and coastline. On a clear day you can see the coast of South Wales and Lundy Island. You’ll also get a chance to see a bird’s eye view of Verity, the statue that stands in Ilfracombe Harbour. This walk is a great one for spotting wildlife, particularly if you like birds. There are a range of seabirds that nest in this area and peregrines have also been spotted here.
Appledore to Northam Burrows
Lee Bay to Bull Point Lighthouse
Lee Bay is where you’ll find a secluded beach which was once a smuggler’s haven. Start here and head inland through woodlands and farmland towards Bull Point Lighthouse. The route takes you through prehistoric stones, wooded valleys and heaths where you can take in views across the Bristol Channel.
Hartland to Spekes Mill Mouth
Follow this trail to come across one of North Devon’s most popular waterfalls. Spekes Mill Mouth is a truly breathtaking sight and is home to a number of birds of prey as well as rare wildflowers. The trail begins at Hartland Quay and takes you through hanging valleys, moorland and coastal areas.
Follow in an author’s footsteps
Aside from the Tarka Trail, where you can relive the tale of Tarka the Otter, take a trip along the Kipling Tors walk. This walk follows the footsteps of Rudyard Kipling, author of the Jungle Book who lived in North Devon for a time. The walk takes you around Westward Ho! and across Bideford Bay and gives you some incredible views as well as the chance to catch seabirds in flight.