Castles, gorges, rivers and tunnels: facelift makes the West Devon Way even more accessible
The West Devon Way walking route, which runs from Okehampton to Plymouth, has been re-launched, with a facelift.
The 37-mile recreational route for walkers is divided into eight sections, all of which are relatively easy and well marked, and accessible at each end by public transport. The route can be followed in either direction, and walkers will find it easy to walk as much or little as they like.
The route follows the western edge of Dartmoor passing a variety of historic settlements, over moorland and along green lanes to Tavistock, before woodland and riverside paths lead east to Yelverton. South of Yelverton, the route meanders close to the River Meavy, through the 300m Shaugh Tunnel, and along the old Plymouth to Launceston railway line as it descends into Plymouth to link with the South West Coast Path.
While the walk can be completed in a few days by keen walkers, it is perfect for those who prefer a more leisurely pace or are new to following way-marked routes. You can access the walk using public transport, and for those visitors staying overnight in the area there are numerous accommodation providers close to the route. Walkers from Plymouth could start their walk from the city, or if preferred catch a bus for some of the route and walk back downhill to Plymouth. There are also plenty of places to stop for an ice cream or a lunchtime drink.
There are also opportunities for diversions along the route, including a trip on the passenger train from Okehampton Station to Meldon Viaduct, followed by a walk around the spectacular Meldon Reservoir, visiting the dramatic National Trust-managed Lydford Gorge, or enjoying the grounds and Georgian mansion at Saltram on the River Plym.
The West Devon Way is recognised as a key regional route – in addition to the Granite Way and Drake’s Trail cycling routes, Two Castles Trail walking route and numerous other routes, it ensures that an attractive recreational package is offered in West Devon.
The way-mark disc, which helps walkers follow the route, features the Church of St Michael sitting atop Brent Tor at 330 metres above sea level, a landmark visible from much of the West Devon Way route, which is steeped in legend and itself makes a unique and historic side trip.
Devon County and West Devon Borough Councillor, Philip Sanders, said: “The West Devon Way showcases some of the best scenery in the area. The route is a strong local asset, and is followed along its length by the bus route, which is a great excuse for leaving the car at home. This re-launch has made the route more accessible for locals, visitors, seasoned trekkers and first time walkers alike.”
Route booklets are available at the Okehampton or Tavistock Tourist Information Visitor Centres. Alternatively the booklet can be downloaded from the West Devon Borough Council website or the Devon County Council website. Or you can download the West Devon Way leaflet here.
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