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
Best Hikes in Devon
Arlington Court Loop
The Arlington Court Loop is a fairly laid-back walking route in Devon that will take you through a variety of terrain set within the grounds of the Chichester family’s ancestral home, Arlington Court. While out walking the trail, you will pass by the house itself that was built between 1820-1823 before looping through the countryside along the banks of the River Yeo. This is a lovely adventure for anyone that enjoys scenic landscapes and historical buildings.
Bickleigh Mill Footpath
Walking the Bickleigh Mill Footpath is a short and pleasant experience in Devon that will allow you to check out some historic buildings and explore a peaceful riverside setting. Along the trail, you will walk through the grounds of what was once the Bickleigh Mill, a historic 18th Century corn mill that has since been turned into a working farm, bistro, and craft centre. From there, you will meander along the banks of the River Exe and enjoy some lovely views of the water. This is a fantastic walk with plenty of scenery and activities to keep kids busy.
Hartland Point Walk
Walking along Hartland Point is a wonderful way to experience the scenic coastal areas that can be found in Devon. While out on the trail, you will meander along the rugged coastline and pass by a radar station, lighthouse, and war memorial, all while taking in some spectacular views across the Bristol Channel. What a fantastic way to spend a lazy weekend afternoon on the trails.
The Harbour Inn and Axmouth Walk
Walking the Harbour Inn and Axmouth Trail is a fun excursion along the southern coast of Devon that will produce some beautiful views overlooking the water. While out on the trail, you will make your way south along the banks of the River Axe and climb uphill for breathtaking views of the Axe Estuary and English Channel. This is a fantastic walk for a weekend afternoon that is made even better by the presence of The Harbour Inn and The Ship Inn near the trailhead.
Baggy Point Walk
The Baggy Point Walk is a great route for anyone that loves taking in wonderful views of the ocean or visiting historical sites. While out on this relaxing walk, you will make your way along the edge of a scenic cliff that overlooks the blue expanse of the Bristol Channel before looping back along the coast to pass by several bunkers from the Second World War. The terrain here is fairly easy to navigate, making this route perfect for walkers of every skill level.
Two Moors Way Section 9: Witheridge to Knowstone
Walking the Two Moors Way Section 9: Witheridge to Knowstone is a beautifully scenic journey that will allow you to experience the lovely landscapes of the Devon countryside. While out on the trail, you will pass through open stretches of farmland, peaceful forests, and charming villages, as you traverse the undulating terrain of the region. This one-way walk is part of a much longer trek, but don’t sweat it if you only plan on completing this small portion of it.
Woodbury Common Loop
The Woodbury Common Loop is a great adventure in Devon that will take you across a variety of terrain to view the picturesque countryside. Along the trail, you will make your way along rolling hills, charming lakes, and through serene stretches of forest; all of which make for a relaxing day on the trails. This is a multi-use trail that is often populated with mountain bikers, so be sure to keep an eye out and share the trail.
Stover Lake Circular Walk
The Stover Lake Circular Walk is a lovely journey through a public park that features a charming lake and plenty of wildlife. While out on the trail, you will make your way through a peaceful woodland landscape and loop around the water’s edge along quaint bridges. The terrain here is easy to navigate and traverse, making it a wonderful trail for a fun family adventure that can be enjoyed by all.
Bolt Head to South Sands Walk
The walk from Bolt Head to South Sands is a breathtaking experience that offers stunning views of the Devon Coast. Traversing the rugged terrain to the southwest of Salcombe, you will enjoy an amazing sightline across the English Channel that is all the more scenic if you are able to experience it on a clear day. While some of the terrain is a bit rugged, this trail is more than manageable for families with children, making it a perfect option for a fun weekend adventure.
Northam Burrows Circular Walk
The Northam Burrows Circular Walk is a lovely seaside adventure in Devon that will take you along the coast for views of the Bristol Channel. While out walking the trail, you will traverse relatively flat terrain that is composed of sand dunes, coastal grasslands, and marshes, making the route suitable for walkers of varying skill levels. Northam Burrows is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), so be courteous and treat the landscape with respect.
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