This is the perfect time of year for a bracing autumnal stroll and what could be better than watching the trees change colour and seeing incredible views across the Sid Valley? One of the best routes for views over Sidmouth and the chance to see nature as the seasons change is the walking route around Sidbury Castle.
This circular route has glorious views and takes you through a nature reserve where there is an abundance of bird life to spot as you pass through. This is also a great walk for history fans, Sidbury Castle is an Iron Age hill fort that stands on one of the highest points in the area. Many of the stones that were found on the grounds now live in Exeter Museum.
Start off in the centre of Sidbury with the church to your left and the pub to your right. Pass the Court House on the right and at the end of the wall, take the footpath going right to White Cross along a track.
Along the track, it will become tarmac, passing some residence. As the tarmac ends, keep going along the track following a yellow footpath arrow and the pink arrow highlighting the East Devon Way.
Eventually you’ll reach a farm gate, keep going past a barn on the left and enter a field. Follow the right hand hedge, the hill ahead to the left is Sidbury Castle. Enjoy the views behind you as you ascend and at the top go right through the gate, still following the pink arrows.
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Continue to a metal gate, you’ll see a drive way for a farm the other side, turn right along it, crossing a stream to reach Goosemoor Farm. Pass the house on your right and keep straight ahead through a gate to join a path, keep going uphill.
Continue along the track until you meet a gate with arrows on the post. Follow the arrows up through the field beyond keeping the hedge to the right and head towards the trees. Near the top of the field keep a look out for a yellow topped post over to the left to help guide you. From this point there is a view of the sea on a clear day.
Follow the arrow, leaving the field and following the next set of arrows along a line of trees, there should be a fence to your right. You’ll pass through another boundary and will reach a footpath gate with the usual signs.
Keep ahead beyond this through to the next field, now the boundary is on your left. When this ends, keep straight on across the field to find a gate onto a track. Turn right on this lane to arrive at White Cross. The car park has some amazing views, so take a moment to appreciate them before heading to the track at the end of the parking area furthest from the lane. Follow this track beneath trees and within 100m you’ll see signs saying there is no road access, follow this still on the East Devon Way through a stretch of woodland.
The otherside of the woodland walk, keep ahead on the track for another 500m until you come to a fork in the road at Hollow Head Cross. Go straight on following the pink arrows.
After a little while, you’ll reach a point where the road forks left, but keep going straight on following the pink arrows and keeping the trees to your left. At the end of the wood, there is a metal gate, the route will now take you across the Fire Beacon Nature Reserve. Keep ahead here on the left fork walking towards the sea. At the fingerpost, keep going straight on.
The next fingerpost will see the path start to descend and Sidmouth will become visible on the left. Follow the arrows to stay on the right path, follow the East Devon Way to the left.
Continue downhill until the next nature reserve board by the meeting of ways. A few meters on from this the footpath goes to the left leaving the East Devon Way. Follow this until you reach the fork in the road, go left up two steps and keep on this path which is sign posted. Along here you should notice a horizontally growing tree, just beyond it is a footpath, but you will want to ignore it and keep going to reach a footbridge with a stile. Cross this and the field after to arrive onto a lane.
Turn left to reach the footpath going into Core Hill Wood, take this and continue straight on to follow what becomes a slightly sunken track. Not long after you take this route, the path will open up and you’ll see a wooden post with yellow arrows, climb up to this and go straight towards Burscombe Farm which you should be able to see in the distance.
The path will drop down towards the farm leading you to a metal gate, pass through and turn right to keep the trees on the right. Keep straight down the field to the smaller gate, Sidbury Castle is just across the valley.
Go through the gate and into the lane, take the middle route heading down to Burscombe Farm. When you reach the farm, take the footpath to the right, follow the track away from the gate following sign posts and keeping the house to your left. The track will bend to the right, keep going to the far side of the field where you’ll find a gate, go through and walk through the next field, partway through you’ll see an arrow point right, follow this alongside the stream and keep going you will reach a track.
Follow the track until you see a fingerpost pointing to the left, follow this route and ascend slightly into a field. From here you’ll start to see the outskirts of Sidford. Follow the right hand boundary as it leads back down, you should have Brook Farm on the right and you will find a stile by a sign post which leads on the farm’s drive.
Follow the drive to the left to reach Sidford, keep going along residential roads until you meet the main road, from here, cross the road and turn left until you find a narrow path going to the right.
This path will take you to Mill House, go straight on and follow the lane where you’ll pass Bellard Grove on the right and then St Peter’s Church. Once at the church, turn left along the main road and cross the bridge over the River Sid.
Follow the main road passing the Blue Ball to reach the crossroads at the end of the village and turn left onto Harcombe Lane East. Follow this road passing the drive to Boswell Farm which should be on your right, when the road swings right, keep ahead.
Go through a gate and walk uphill to the next one, continuing over the path up to Buckton Hill where you’ll have another opportunity to stop and take in the views.
At the top of the hill, keep left following the blue arrows, you should be able to see the sea to your left and there will be a woodland to the right. Once the woods end, continue through a gate where there will be woods to the left. The track goes alongside a small holding, but keep going straight on ignoring paths going off to the right. When you reach the three way finger post, go left which will bring you back onto the East Devon Way.
Follow this path which is covered by trees until you reach the bank boundary. Go right and then left following the arrows. The path drops quite steeply at this point – so be aware! At the bottom of the wood is a plank bridge. Negotiate the fence at the end of the bridge, where you’ll get to see some incredible views towards Sidbury. Head across the bridge keeping the church tower on your left.
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At the bottom of the field, cross the stile, go through the next gate and then bear left through the next field passing Long Barn House to the right. At the end of the barn, go right to a kissing gate and then turn right along the lane. Go left to return to Sidbury and cross the bridge bringing you back towards the church where you started.