hikes in Devon
A picturesque stretch of land nestled in between the Bristol and English channels, Devon features a variety of different landscapes, national parks, and historical sites that make it an ideal destination for a fun walking adventure. Exmoor National Park to the north and Dartmoor National Park towards the south end of the county each offer rugged stretches of moorland terrain that are waiting to be explored, and the scenic coastlines with their dramatic cliff faces and sandy beaches make an ideal locale for a leisurely stroll by the ocean.
In addition to these various landscapes, beautiful swathes of woodland terrain and winding rivers cut across the countryside, and the vibrant, rolling green hills of the surrounding farmland make for a picturesque backdrop while out walking the trails. If you are after some local history, there are countless Bronze Age settlements and Iron Age hillforts to explore, in addition to the charming villages and grand estates - like the iconic Castle Drogo - that dot the countryside. No matter your reason for seeking out a walking excursion in Devon, you will be sure to have a fantastic time exploring the beautifully scenic landscapes here.
The 25 Best Walks In Devon
While less-seasoned walkers might look at the rugged terrain within the interior of Devon County and think it may be too challenging, you can rest assured that there is a wealth of walking routes that tailor to every age and skill level. It doesn’t matter if you have trekked across the world’s highest mountains or are just breaking in your first pair of walking boots, there is sure to be the perfect trail across the varied landscape of Devon to keep you fully engaged and creating lasting memories in this beautiful little corner of England. If you need some inspiration for planning a walking trip in Devon, check out this list of great routes that we’ve put together below:
- Bickleigh Mill Footpath: This short trail in Devon will take you past some historic buildings surrounding the 18th Century Bickleigh Mill for a pleasant walk along the river. There are plenty of activities to do in the area, making this an ideal way to spend some time on the weekend with young children.
- Arlington Court Loop: A laid-back adventure in Devon County, the Arlington Court Loop will take you through the grounds that make up the ancestral home of the Chichester family, allowing you to view the picturesque terrain in the area.
- Hartland Point Walk: This lovely coastal walk is perfect for a relaxing weekend stroll, as it offers the chance to walk along the shores of the Bristol Channel for some lovely views across the water. Highlights along the route include an historic war memorial and a lighthouse overlooking the rugged coast.
- The Harbour Inn and Axmouth Walk: A fun pub walk in Devon County, this trail will take you along the River Axe and see you climb uphill for views overlooking the estuary as it flows into the English Channel. The Harbour Inn and The Ship Inn are great spots near the trailhead for pre/post-walk refreshments.
- Baggy Point Walk: Another fantastic walking route with scenic views of the Bristol Channel, the Baggy Point Walk will also expose you to some fascinating historical sites, as you make your way past bunkers from the Second World War that were used to defend the coast.
- Two Moors Way Section 9 - Witheridge to Knowstone: Only a small part of a much longer trail across Dartmoor and Exmoor national parks, this one-way route will allow you to experience the picturesque Devon countryside, as you meander through the field and charming villages between Witheridge and Knowstone.
- Woodbury Common Loop: Taking you across rolling hills and through peaceful swathes of forest, the Woodbury Common Loop is a spectacular journey through the Devon countryside that offers scenic views of the surrounding landscape. It is also a multi-use trail, meaning that you can also complete it as a bike ride if you would rather.
- Stover Lake Circular Walk: This family-friendly walking route is only a short adventure; however, the scenic views and peaceful forest atmosphere will really allow you to reconnect with nature. Along the trail, you will meander around the edge of the lake and cross lovely bridges, all while taking in the sights and sounds of the tranquil forest around you.
- Bolt Head to South Sands Walk: Another amazing walk along the Devon coast, this trail will see you traverse the landscape around the beautiful town of Salcombe, offering stunning views across the blue expanse of the English Channel. This is a great walk for the whole family, so long as you don’t have a pushcart.
- Northam Burrows Circular Walk: This spectacular seaside walk will take you along the Devon coast and provide views overlooking the Bristol Channel, all while making your way through a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Due to this protected status, you should respect the sensitive sand dunes, coastal grasslands, and marshes, leaving no trace of your walk in the area.
- Castle Drogo and Cod Wood Circular Walk: An extremely popular walk in Dartmoor National Park, this fun trail will lead you through a tranquil stretch of woodland terrain and past several interesting historic sites, such as Fingle Bridge and the 20th Century Castle Drogo.
- Wistman's Wood Walk: This awesome walk across the moor will take you along the West Dart River to visit an ancient forest that is filled with gnarled trees that are several hundred of years old. The atmosphere in the wood is almost magical and the forest is populated with venomous adders, so make sure to keep your distance!
- Fisherman's Path to Fingle Bridge: Another charming walking route in the area surrounding the iconic Castle Drogo, the Fisherman’s Path to Fingle Bridge is a fun adventure that is filled with unique historical sites and also features some beautiful views of the forest.
- Dewerstone Walk: This uphill walking route in Dartmoor will see you traverse some rugged terrain through the forest along the River Plym to reach the craggy viewpoint surrounding Dewerstone Rock. This is a popular destination for rock climbing enthusiasts today but in the past, Dewerstone Rock was believed to be a haunted location where the devil and his pack of phantom hounds chased local inhabitants over a cliff to their demise.
- Haytor Quarry Loop: Providing a pleasant mix of historical sites and stunning views, the Haytor Quarry Loop will lead you to the rocky summit viewpoint atop Haytor, before heading downhill to a now-scenic quarry that was once used during the reconstruction of the London Bridge.
- Hound Tor Walk: This is a brief uphill walking route that will see you traverse some rugged terrain along the moor to eventually reach the rocky summit of Hound Tor. Here, you can pause to take in the sweeping views that spread out across the hilly landscape of Dartmoor National Park.
- Meldon Reservoir and Black Tor Walk: A difficult walking route that will reward you with scenic views, the Meldon Reservoir and Black Tor Walk is a fun journey through Dartmoor that will see you climb uphill along a winding river to access several amazing vantage points over the park.
- Burrator Reservoir Circular Walk: This route is perfect for a fun family walking adventure in Dartmoor, as it features well-maintained paths and the terrain isn’t overly challenging. While out on the trail, you will meander around the edge of the Burrator reservoir and make your way across two dam walls that provide some nice views of the water.
- Burrator Reservoir and Princetown Walk: Another route that sets out from the Burrator Reservoir, this walk is much longer and is definitely more challenging, as it will take you on a journey over several rugged tors to visit the town of Princetown, before looping around on the return leg. While it may be tough, this route offers a chance to explore the amazingly scenic Dartmoor landscape.
- Valley of the Rocks and Lynton Walk: This is a spectacular walk along the North Devon coast, providing you with breathtakingly scenic views overlooking the Bristol Channel. It isn’t really all that challenging of an undertaking, making it an ideal way to spend some time with friends and family while exploring the coastal areas of Exmoor.
- Lee Abbey and Exmoor Coast Walk: A popular walking route for many people who visit Lynton, this trail will take you along the scenic coast for beautiful views overlooking the water. The route passes by Lee Abbey - a gothic-style building that historically has had a number of different uses, but now serves as a Christian retreat - before climbing uphill for an even better view of the Bristol Channel that extends out to South Wales on a clear day.
- Lynmouth to Brendon Walk: Thanks to some fairly steep terrain, this is a challenging walk; however, it also exposes you to an amazing woodland atmosphere along the banks of the East Lyn River, as well as beautiful views of the coast that make it all worthwhile. You’ll likely have some sore legs the next day, but at least you'll be able to experience some beautiful sights and spot some wildlife in the gorge!
- Lorna Doone Valley Trail: A lovely walk through the picturesque countryside in Exmoor National Park, the Lorna Doone Valley Trail leads you alongside the banks of Badgworthy Water and through a tranquil forest setting that will allow you to relax and get away from the chaos of everyday life.
- Lynton, Watersmeet, and Valley of the Rocks Walk: This fun adventure along the North Devon coast will see you make your way through some undulating terrain and walk along a wonderfully picturesque area known as the Valley of the Rocks. While there is a small amount of steep terrain along the walk, the breathtaking views looking out across the Bristol Channel are a stunning sight to behold.
- Porlock Bay Walk: Another beautiful coastal trail, the Porlock Bay Walk passes through saltwater and freshwater marshlands, as well as picturesque beaches that provide access to the water and exceptional views looking out towards the Bristol Channel. Along the walk, you will also pass through several charming villages, making this a wonderful journey where you can experience the natural and manmade scenery within Exmoor National Park.
When is the Best Time to Walk in Devon?
Due to its proximity to the coast, Devon enjoys a relatively mild climate when compared to other regions further inland to the north. Temperatures (in ℃) range from the low single digits in the winter to the high teens in the summer, meaning that any time of year is ideal for a walking excursion in the region. The only real factor here is inclement weather, as certain areas along the coast and in higher elevation positions along the moor can be more exposed to the elements. As such, it is best to time your walking trip in Devon for the May-September window.
Best Walking Regions in Devon
In addition to the stunning coastal landscapes that come to mind when thinking of a walking excursion in Devon, there are also a number of other regions within the county that will make for an unforgettable adventure. The most well-known of these areas is Dartmoor National Park, which offers vast swathes of moorland terrain and rugged hills to explore, as well as the diverse landscapes of Exmoor National Park, featuring a scenic mixture of coastal views along the Bristol Channel and barren moors further inland. With so many exceptional areas to explore, it is no wonder why Devon is one of the most popular walking destinations in the United Kingdom.
Other Outdoor Activities in Devon
As there is a good variety of terrain in Devon County that includes rolling green hills, barren moors, tranquil forests, and stunning coastlines, walking is the preferred activity for many outdoor enthusiasts. But for those that enjoy other activities or are looking to broaden their horizons, this same terrain also offers the chance to experience a number of other activities like camping, horseback riding, rock climbing, cycling, kayaking/canoeing, stargazing, and fishing.
Fantastic Adventure Tours in Devon
While planning every last detail of an adventure can be a fun experience, sometimes you just want to sit back and let the professionals sweat the small stuff so that you don’t have to. If you are looking for a curated walking experience that will allow you to take in the stunning beauty along England’s southwest coast, then you should check out these amazing adventure tours on offer in Devon.
Frequently Asked Questions About Devon
What is Devon famous for?
Known for a number of things, Devon is particularly known for its beautiful coastal scenery, Dartmoor and Exmoor national parks, and Devonshire cream tea.
What is the largest town in Devon?
With a population of 256,384 people, Plymouth is the largest town in Devon, followed by Exeter and Torquay.
Find other spectacular walking regions in the United Kingdom
- Lake District
- Peak District
- Cairngorms National Park
- Loch Lomond and The Trossachs
The best hikes in Devon
Walking the Two Moors Way Section 9: Witheridge to Knowstone is a beautifully scenic journey… Read More
Yes, there are more than 10
Devon is so beautiful that we can not give you only 10 hikes. So here is a list of bonus hikes in Devon that you should take a look at as well
The South West Coast Path: Ilfracombe to Woolacombe is a pleasant walk along the Devon… Read More
The South West Coast Path: Woolacombe to Barnstaple is a long but beautifully scenic walk… Read More
The South West Coast Path: Barnstaple to Westward Ho! is another fun and beautifully scenic,… Read More
The South West Coast Path: Westward Ho! to Clovelly is a lengthy walking route along… Read More
The South West Coast Path: Wembury to Challaborough is an amazing long distance walking route… Read More
The South West Coast Path: Challaborough to Salcombe is a scenic section of a much… Read More
The South West Coast Path: Seaton/Axmouth to West Bay is a wonderfully scenic journey along… Read More
The Bystock Nature Reserve & East Budleigh Common Circular Walk is a laidback adventure in… Read More
The Kiddens Trail and Haldon Forest park Circular Walk is a moderate length adventure just… Read More
The Brownstone, Froward Point, and Coast Path Circular Walk is a beautifully scenic out-and-back route… Read More
Walking the Ryder’s Hill, Snowdon, Pupers Hill, and Scorriton Down trail is a wonderfully scenic… Read More
The Saltram House Woodland and Riverside Circular Walk is a fun family-friendly adventure in Devon… Read More
The River Erme, Middlecombe Beach, and Kingston Circular Walk is a stunning route along the… Read More
The Broadsands, Coves and Brixham Fish Market Walk is a fun adventure in Devon that… Read More
The Lupton Park Farm, Maypool, and Galmpton Circular Walk is a wonderful adventure in Devon… Read More
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