Walking in Exmoor & North Devon
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Terrain: Relatively level along the river banks with one moderate hill half way climbing onto the moor.
Cow Castle & Picked Stones with optional longer route to Withypool - Approx 7.5 or 11.5 miles
The Route: Start at the sign post opposite the Exmoor Forest Hotel.
Follow the path a few yards and fork right sign-posted Landacre. Follow the path through the woods and along the
northerly bank of the river Barle, walking along the river bank the whole way until a small hill where you bear left
rejoining the Barle at Wheal Eliza, a C19th worked out copper mine. Continue along the river until you reach
Cow Castle, an Iron Age Hill fort on top of a conical shaped hill. It is worth the short climb to the top of the
castle for the spectacular views of the Barle valley.
Follow the path around Cow Castle and across a small footbridge into a copse. The path leads along a track through the wood to a gate. The gate leads onto open moor. The path climbs up onto the moor leaving the river to your right. As you reach the ridge the path divides, Point "A", follow the signs to Withypool. It is worth stopping here to take in the views over Landacre Bridge. Following the path you reach a small road, point B, go straight across onto a lane. Follow the lane until you start descending into Withypool where on your right you see the village sign posted across the fields. Follow the footpath into the village and the Royal Oak is on the left when you reach the road. The Royal Oak is very good for lunch and you can sit outside on picnic benches in the summer or by the fire in Jake's Bar in the winter.
After lunch you can either retrace your steps to point "A" or leaving the Inn on your right follow the road down to the river, cross the brige and on your right you will notice a sign-post to Landacre. Follow the Barle to Landacre Bridge. Cross the river and follow the road up the hill past Landacre farm to point "B". Retrace your steps to point "A".(This optional route will add an extra hour onto your walk.)
At point "A" continue straight ahead sign posted Simonsbath via Picked Stones. Follow the path through a gate. Bear left along the edge of a field. Go through a gate and turn left down a farm track, through a metal gate and on to the farm. The path leads you around in front of the farm. Follow the sign posts across the fields through several gates taking in a spectacular view of Cow Castle to your left. Descend into a valley, cross a small brook and climb the hill. Near the top bear left between the gate-posts and then walk right along the edge of the field. Continue along the hedge through three more gates and just before the fourth gate turn left, the path leads along the righthand edge of the field. Go through the gate keeping the hedge on your right through three more gates then bear left to another gate. Follow the path towards the wood descending back into Simonsbath.
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