Wildlife and Walking
Dartmoor, at almost 1000 sq km is the largest and wildest area of open country in Southern England. A glorious wilderness with open moorland, granite tors, sparkling rivers, abundant wildlife and the renowned Dartmoor ponies. There are many spectacular walks, great pubs, and places to eat….There is so much to do it is difficult to know where to start but why not try horseriding, hiking, cycling, rock climbing, canoeing, abseiling, fishing, golfing, wildlife or birdwatching.
Fingle Woods – over 800 acres of woodland has recently been bought by the National Trust and Woodland Trust and can be explored by nearly 30 miles of newly created tracks and paths. Cycle along the river to the Fingle Bridge Inn for lunch.
Castle Drogo (National Trust) – famed as the last castle to be built in England. It sits above the magnificent Teign Gorge with dramatic views over the Teign Valley and Dartmoor and is only 5 miles away. There is an exciting programme of events, ranging from Easter egg hunts, den building and survival skills to fungal forays and wildlife walks. 1½ to 2 hour walk from the cottage along a stunning path by the River Teign.
Steps Bridge – a beautiful Devon Wildlife Trust Reserve is only a short walk from us and is famous for its spring daffodils and wonderful riverside walks. You can spot dippers, otters if you and lucky, and in the summer you can spot 6 species of fritillary butterfly. To get there turn right out of the drive, left at Clifford Cross (the crossroads), follow the road and you will see a gate with parking on your right (about 10 min walk). You can walk along the River Path to Steps Bridge, turn right along the road for 100 metres and then walk back along the other side of the river.
Clifford Barton – If you’re interested in wildlife there is much you can see without venturing out of the Clifford Barton ground. We have a family of badgers that can regularly be seen feeding on the track down to the lake. Fallow and roe deer are regular visitors at dawn and dusk. Hedgehogs are resident in the cottage gardens. Bats, swallows, swifts and house martins can all be seen feeding over the lake and flying around the
The Teign Valley and Dartmoor is a great place for road and mountain biking. If you bring your bikes with you we have places that they can be kept under cover. We also have a selection of children’s and adult bikes that you are welcome to borrow. Please bring appropriate safety equipment with you as we don’t provide any.
There is a lovely cycle (approximately 3 miles) along a path next to the River Teign to the pub at Fingle Bridge. Great for the kids as they can refuel with a drink and snack before the return journey. The slight downward slope on the way home also helps. Or if your feeling more adventurous cycle on to the Salmon Leaps (5 miles) to freshen up before the return journey.
The Haldon Forest Park – (20 mins away) has something for everyone in its 3,500 acres of woodland. There are biking trails for all abilities. There are exhilarating mountain bike trails for the experienced riders,and gentler trails for kids. There are also practice/stunt areas with jumps etc.
There is a great wild swimming spot on the River Teign 15 minutes walk from the cottage. To get there turn right out of the drive, go across the crossroads and over Clifford Bridge. Take the first track on the right, signposted Fingle Woods. Walk along here until you get to a steep walled embankment on your right. Immediately after this a smaller path branches off to the right to follow the River more closely. Take this until you get to a bench by a small Weir and jump in, the water’s …………. ..exhilirating/chilly!
For something even more exhilarating visit the “Salmon Leaps” which feature in the Wild Swimming Guide, Daniel Stuart 2016. To get here either drive to Dog Marsh Bridge and walk back (a shorter walk) or walk (1 ½ to 2 hours from Clifford Barton) or cycle along the River Path.
Outdoor Swimming pools – Devon is famous for its small community run outdoor pools (only open during the summer months). The closest is Moretonhampsted 4 miles but there is also one at Chagford and Bovey Tracey
The River Teign is a salmon, trout and sea trout river and much of it is available to the visiting angler. Sea trout fishing is best in late spring and throughout summer, with night-time fly fishing accounting for most of the fish. Fly fishing for wild brown trout can be enjoyed at any time in the season, with May and June usually offering the cream of the fishing.
About 12 miles of the picturesque upper reaches (approx. 5 minutes walk from Clifford Barton) are controlled by the Upper Teign Fishing Association and can be fished by members or by visitors who purchase a permit.Permits can be obtained from The Fingle Bridge Inn, Drewsteignton Post Office. Dunsford Post Office or the Mill End Hotel, near Chagford.
The closest available fishing is the River Teign left hand bank from Clifford Bridge all the way to Steps Bridge, but not the right bank.
2016 charges are as follows:
- Salmon, sea trout and brown trout £25.00 per day. Upstream of Fingle Bridge. 24 hours.
- Sea trout and brown trout £20.00 per day. Upstream of Fingle Bridge. 24 hours.
- Brown trout Adult £12.50 per day, £45 per week. Junior 16 or under: £5 per day, £10 per week. Brown trout permits valid for all UTFA waters. Sunrise to sunset.
You are welcome to fish/practice in our lake, but so far we have only caught Rudd.
Fingle Bridge Inn Fingle Bridge (5min drive) 01647 281287 – Walk (1hr)/cycle (25 mins) off-road along the southern bank of the river
The Drewe Arms Drewsteignton (10 min drive) 01647 281409
The Bridford Inn Bridford (12 min drive) 01647 252250
Teign House Inn Christow (12 min drive) 01647 252286
Good Food Pubs
The Horse Moretonhampstead (10 min drive)
The Thatch Cheriton Bishop (5 min drive)
The Manor Lower Ashton (15 min drive)
The Nobody Doddiscombsleigh (15 min drive)
The Ring of Bells North Bovey (15mins)
The Cleave Lustleigh (20mins)
The New Inn Drewsteignton (10 min drive)
Gidleigh Park Gittisham (near Chagford) (20 min drive)
Bovey Castle Other side of Moretonhampstead (15min drive)
The White Heart Moretonhampstead (10 min drive)
Central Stores Coffee Shop and also Gateway Tea Rooms Moretonhampstead (10 min drive).
Walled Garden Dunsford (5 min drive).
The Victoria Sponge and Courtyard Café Chagford (20 min drive)
Windsurfing/Canoe/Stand Up Paddle Board lessons/hire
AS Watersports – Exeter Quay, Exeter 01392 219600
You can hire canoes and paddle down the canal to the Double Locks and back for Lunch. A relaxing way to spend the afternoon. An open canoe for 2 adults and a child costs £20 for 2 hours, £40 for 4 hours, or £45 for the day. They also teach paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing.
Devon Windsurf and Canoe Centre – firstname.lastname@example.org 07971 051509 Decoy Lake, Newton Abbot TQ12 1EA
Waterborn Stand Up Paddle Board – Kingsbridge, TQ7 1JZ 01548 852262 or 07835 157635
There are three golf courses within 8 miles of us – Fingle Glen, Teign Valley and the exclusive Bovey Castle http://www.boveycastle.com/Golf.html. All provide great courses wonderful Dartmoor setting and have restaurants and bars to relax in after your game.
Riding – a great way to explore Dartmoor is on horseback.
Eastlake Riding Stables- Belstone, Okehampton, EX20 1QT 01837 52513 Prices start at £20/hour and £35 for a 2 hour hack.
Shilstone Rocks Riding Centre – Widecombe in the Moor, TQ13 7TF, offer 1 and 2 hour hacks.
Cholwell Riding Stables – Mary Tavy PL19 9QG 01822 810526 1 hr hack £22 and 2hr £46
Don’t forget to have a look at the night sky at Clifford Barton as the Teign Valley is one of the few areas of the country with very little light pollution. The National Trust has identified the Teign Valley as one of the seven best sites in the country for star gazing and to enjoy the wonders of the night sky. The Teign Valley comes alive with wildlife at night, with badgers, tawny owls, barn owls, deer and bats coming out to feed and hunt.
The open skies of the Teign Valley are a magical location for star gazing and on a clear night you can see some 4,000 stars sparkling in our universe. The National Trust has set out a 1 mile summer star gazing walk which starts at Castle Drogo. Make sure you print off a copy of the summer star gazing guide to take with you on your way.
The stunning beaches of Bigbury and Bantham (our Favourites) are 40 miles away (1hr 20mins). Travel to the pub on Burgh Island by foot at low tide or ride the famous sea tractor once it is cut off at high tide. Check out the famous Art Deco Burgh Island Hotel (although only guests are allowed in, but you can visit the Pilchard Inn pub on the island take a walk around).
Minature Pony Centre – (6 miles -15mins drive) Perfect day out for younger children. Meet the animals, indoor and outdoor play areas. A selection of talks, demonstrations, pony rides and hands-on activities take place every day with something of interest to everyone. Open from 16th March to 30th October 2016.
The Haldon Forest Park – (20 mins away) has something for everyone in its 3,500 acres of woodland. There are trails for all abilities, for walkers and bikers. There are exhilarating mountain bike trails for the experienced riders, orienteering, Go Ape tree top trails, Seguay, bike hire, café. There is also Tramper Hire allowing access into the forest for those with disabilities.
Climbing/Clip and Climb – Exeter Climbing Centre, Haven Banks, The Quay, Exeter. 01392 422559. The kids love it, ideal for a rainy day, but it is worth booking your slot online before you go, because everyone usually has the same idea.
Crealy Adventure Theme Park – (30 mins away)
Eden Project – 68 miles – 1 ½ hours away