Explore Devon on foot with our favourite walks

Days out, Activity, Walking

Posted by Ed Roberts on 25th October 2021

Couple walking on a beach

A walking holiday in Devon is as fantastic as it sounds. No matter where you plan to go on holiday in the great outdoors of this county, you can be sure that there will always be a large choice of circular walks, coastal rambles, and trails long and short close to where you are staying. So, whether you are an ardent hiker or simply enjoy seeing new sights, read on to discover the best walks in Devon from the north, south, east and middle.

The rolling green countryside of Devon inspires all who visit here to explore the byways of the land. The beauty here isn’t shy: the green rivers in full spate, deep valleys, enigmatic forests, cosy stone pubs, wide sandy beaches with glass-like waves; see all this from a calligraphy of trails that rib this alluring holiday destination. Don’t let any of it escape your senses in a blur – Devon is where you slow it down.

Stay at one of our holiday cottages, then walk one of the national or county trails. We have properties large and small all across Devon, at the coast or close to Exmoor and Dartmoor. Come with your family or enjoy a solo adventure – and bring your dog too! A walking holiday at one of our self-catering cottages in Devon is the perfect antidote to a hectic life.

Devon cottages

Skip ahead to your favourite:

Circular walk
Pub walk
Woodland walk
Short walk
Long walk
Coastal walk

Circular walk in Devon

The Valley of Rocks and Watersmeet

The Valley of Rocks to Watersmeet

Distance: 7.5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Start/end: The Valley of Rocks car park, EX35 6JH

This North Devon walk offers unique sights and astonishing beauty in equal measure and originates at the atmospheric Valley of Rocks, home to wild goats and some eye-catching, colossal rock formations. The South West Coast Path lines the cliff tops as it flows eastwards to Lynton, where the path descends in stops and starts down to sea level, pausing at the gorgeous village of Lynmouth. This is a good place to stop for lunch on the way (or on the return from Watersmeet).

The terrain changes once you follow the meandering, wild East Lyn River; a great place for kayaking, a top thing to do in Devon. The hillsides rise up on all sides, covered in leafy conifers, ash, oaks, birch and a giant Monterey pine in the garden of Watersmeet Cafe. Enjoy a rest and a drink before heading back. You can walk either side of the river; the southern side being less hilly heading back to Lynmouth. On the way back, if you can’t face the hike back to the top of the cliffs in Lynmouth, climb aboard the Cliff Railway that ferries tired hikers to the top for a small fee. There’s a larger circuit too, via West Lyn.

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Stay nearby: 

28 Watersmeet | Sleeps 2 guests + 2 dogs

Witham Cottage | Sleeps 4 guests  + 2 dogs

Lynhurst | Sleeps 22 guests + 5 dogs

Lynton and Lynmouth cottages

Pub walk in Devon

Castle Drogo and Fingle Bridge

Fingle Bridge Inn

Distance: 2.5 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Start/end: Fingle Bridge, EX6 6PW

Down in the woods below England’s last castle, Castle Drogo on Dartmoor - which was completed in the 1920s - this East Devon walk originates at the Fingle Bridge Inn. Enjoy a pint of ale and a plate of fortifying English grub before setting off along the River Dart. The Fingle Bridge Inn is a dog-friendly pub too, although only in the bar area and outside seating areas. The views from the terrace are lovely, with the backdrop of the woods and the River Teign providing a suitable landscape and soundscape to which you can enjoy locally brewed ales and home-cooked fare.

Following the trail upstream (you can pick either side of the river) through Fingle Gorge, you pass through steep woodland. You can take a diversion (via Hunters Path) on the eastern riverbank up the gorge side to Castle Drogo, which is well worth the climb. The riverside trail occasionally leaves the rushing waters far below as it steers its way over rock formations (where some of the railings have rusted away or have come away from the rocks through wear and tear). This isn’t a particularly arduous path, but it is unsuitable for those with prams and walking aids.

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Stay nearby: 

The Old Shippen | Sleeps 2 guests

Primrose Cottage at Greatrock Farm | Sleeps 4 guests + 2 dogs

Rock Barn | Sleeps 10 guests + 2 dogs

Dartmoor cottages

Woodland walk in Devon

Berry Castle, Huntshaw

Berry Castle

Distance: 2 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Start/end: Huntshaw Woods car park, EX38 7HB

Take your wellies on this woodland walk in North Devon, high above the River Torridge between Great Torrington and Bideford. The earthworks of a large Iron Age hillfort form the focal point of this fantastic walk in the woods. The hillfort is thought to be 2,600 years old, dating back to the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age. The very act of building even a modest keep such as Berry Castle would have taken monumental effort and collaboration on the part of the local villages on the River Torridge. This, in turn, would have given the people a true sense of community and ownership of the land, as well as an identity of which to be proud.

The oval castle dominates the flat-topped escarpment, and, in the winter, your eye can tease out the river as it snakes inland. Pine trees characterise this steep landscape and it’s a real treat to be walking in the lush green forest only to have it open out into such a high-skied and beautiful promontory. Close to the tiny village of Huntshaw, this is a forgotten place that’s great for infinite walks along the conifer-bolstered avenues. Pure forest bliss.

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Stay nearby: 

Boathouse Cottage | Sleeps 2 guests

Church Tower Cottage | Sleeps 4 guests + 1 dog 

Nilgala House | Sleeps 8 guests

Bideford cottages

Short walk in Devon

Budleigh Salterton and the Otter Estuary

Budleigh Salterton and Otter Estuary

Distance: 1 mile in total

Difficulty: Easy

Start/end: Lime Kiln car park, EX9 6JD

A lovely, short and level South Devon walk that not only takes in fantastic views but is also perfect for those with mobility issues, the Budleigh Salterton and Otter Estuary coastal walk is suitable for those using pushchairs too. Utilizing a gorgeous section of the South West Coast Path, this walk is in fact broken down into three even-more-manageable walks, two of which are on tarmacked or compacted paths (the last having a slightly loose surface).

Start in the Lime Kiln car park in Budleigh Salterton, which offers its own views and bird-watching opportunities, and start the first quarter-mile walk which takes you along the beautiful seafront and into the town centre. The second walk is a half-mile stretch each way along the sea wall by the Otter Estuary, where, again, birds will congregate and provide a viewing spectacle. The last of the short walks (quarter-mile) is along some shingle between the sea and the estuary. Take your time and soak in all that this Site of Special Scientific Interest, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Site has to offer.

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Stay nearby: 

The Roost At Riverside | Sleeps 2 guests

The Old Reservoir | Sleeps 4 guests

Regency House | Sleeps 9 guests + 2 dogs 

Budleigh Salterton cottages

Long walk in Devon

Hound Tor by day, dusk and night

Hound Tor

Distance: 5.5 miles

Difficulty: Challenging

Start/end: Haytor Vale Visitor Centre, TQ13 9XT

This Mid Devon walk on Dartmoor is very atmospheric and definitely one for wayfarers who love a bit of myth to gild their trails. The name of Hound Tor marks its literary association with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes mystery, The Hound of the Baskervilles. So, keep an eye out for phantasmagorical dogs out on the moors if the fog draws down.

Originating at Haytor Vale, the path to Hound Tor and back veers out to Haytor Rocks for views as far as the Teign Estuary, Haytor Granite Tramway, Holwell Tor, Beck Brook and Smallacombe Rocks. Once you reach the summit of Hound Tor, the panorama across Dartmoor truly is one of the best beauty spots in Devon!

If at all possible, try Hound Tor by night. Being away from light pollution means that you can experience stargazing at its finest out on Dartmoor. The moon can have a big effect on the visibility of celestial bodies so try and time your visit for when there is no bright moon out - who knows what ethereal wonders you'll spot on your walk?

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Stay nearby: 

The Hayloft on Dartmoor | Sleeps 2 guests

Haytor Vale Lodge | Sleeps 4 guests + 2 dogs  

The Chapel | Sleeps 2 guests

Dartmoor cottages

Coastal walk in Devon

Bishop's Walk and Hope's Nose

Bishop's Walk and Hope's Nose

Distance: 3 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Start/end: Anstey’s Cove car park, TQ1 2JF

There is a long-heralded dispute amongst Devonians as to who has the more beautiful shores and it is true that both north and south hold an embarrassment of coastal riches, yet we have chosen South Devon and the Torquay stroll of Bishop’s Walk and Hope’s Nose on this occasion. This picturesque area of the South West had Victorians flooding in on their holidays and often taking up residence too. Start your walk and take in Anstey’s Cove and the great limestone headland towering above it. Continue and your vision will fill with Torbay’s delicious panorama, including the two iconic limestone islets of Orestone and Thatcher Rock. Both of these enclaves are home to guillemot and kittiwake colonies, so stop a while and spot some birds.

From here you can access the shore at Hope’s Nose, a finger-like protrusion and a site of great geological interest. Search for fossils and maybe even some gold, as mining the precious metal was never deemed viable when it was discovered in the 19th century. Take in the views across to Brixham before following a footpath through woodland which ends at Kents Cavern. It’s well worth stopping at this archaeological attraction, or you can head back to Anstey’s Cove car park.

View route

Stay nearby:

Courtyard Annexe | Sleeps 2 guests + 1 dogs

The Stables - Torquay | Sleeps 4 guests

Hesketh Mews - Starboard | Sleeps 6 guests + 1 dog

Torquay cottages

Walking holidays in Devon

Your feet do the hard work so why not pick a holiday home where you can soothe their aches at the end of each day? Our self-catering holiday cottages in Devon are close to the best walking trails in the county. Many also come with impressively apt features like hot tubs and baths in which to salve your weary body after a long, enjoyable walk. Restful beds and soft couches in front of cosy wood burners make the vision of relaxation complete. We have holiday properties in North Devon, Mid Devon, East Devon and South Devon; book your perfect escape to the South West today.

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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.