Eggesford Forest (11 miles)

This walk shows the variety of the forest, a lovely church and a Motte and Bailey castle. It can be shortened or done in two halves. It includes two car parks and a café.

Start down Rock Hill behind Chulmleigh church. Follow to the signpost to Eggesford at Chawleigh Week Cross. Carry on the road for 300 yards, leaving at footpath sign on left. Cross the field to footbridge and stile opposite. Enter forest on broad track ahead, (ignore paths climbing left) until track ends. Go through gate and follow waymarks through wood. Through gate and turn right on road for 100 yards. Turn left, signed and follow left edge of field to a gate. Through this gate and follow a track downwards to bottom right corner. Cross stile and reach the road (A377) at Wash House Cottages (So called because in the 19th Century the laundry for Lord Portsmouth at Eggesford House was done here). (75 minutes).

Follow bridle way (to Southcott) into forest, which climbs steadily to a gate; here is a sign "permitted path to Hilltown Wood". Follow this until it joins a wide track with red marker posts. Go down hill on a footpath marked "Eggesford Station". When main road is visible track turns left, Red Pole marked and leads to the forest centre (2 hours) (Toilets, shelter, information boards and car park.) Near here, sign to the Queen's Stone (Commemorates the millionth acre planted in 1956.) If energetic you could now do the Blue Post circular walk (¾ hour) Otherwise return the way you came - the level Red Post route - until the path crosses a bridge. Here turn left and walk 100 yards to the A377 (Cross with care) and go left down the signed path opposite and under the smaller railway bridge.

Follow waymark path across the Railway Bridge (fenced from the railway track). Join a wide track climbing to the left of the railway until you join the Tarka Trail near Eggesford Church (Often open - See It!) (2¾ hours)

Walk along the tarmac road along past the Garden Centre (café). Then down the road for 100 yards and left, roadsign "Wembworthy". Straight-ahead is Eggesford Station (You could shorten the walk here - Chulmleigh being 1½ hours). Follow the Wembworthy Road for 500 yards and enter Flashdown Forest by a stile on the left. Soon you will see a plaque recognising the first tree ever planted by the Forestry Commission in 1919.

At a small clearing go ahead on a broad track, almost to the brow of the hill. Turn right down a well-used and often muddy track. This rejoins the road at a junction. Turn right signed "Wembworthy School Centre" and passing this follow the surface road until the road bends. There is a public footpath ahead. Follow this and you will join a circular Heywood Forest track. Go out turning right along a narrow track; this leads to a broader track, where you turn right up to the road and left along the road. In ½ mile you reach Heywood Forest car park (Information board). Walk through the car park and follow the broad track, ignoring all diversions, to the castle. (4 hours). Admire the view from the top. Walk around the castle and head back along the broad path (Red Post still!) When the track divides bear right and across the road. Follow Red Posts and you will arrive back near Wembworthy School Centre again! Retrace your steps following the road, rather than diverting into Flashdown Wood, to Eggesford Station (5½ hours). Carefully cross the road and head for Chawleigh. After 20 minutes you will recognise Upcott Wood. Here you have a choice. Return the way you came via the steep Rockhill (6½ hours) or walk ahead (½ hour) to Chawleigh to catch Turners bus at 3.13 p.m., 5.33 p.m. or 6.13 p.m. (Saturdays 3.13 p.m.) to Chulmleigh. Please remember to check the times of the buses beforehand.

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