Anyone who follows this page regularly will know that I find both refreshments and being able to walk in a loop big wins on a walk! This route has a pub at each end and can be made into a circuit – a real success!
Starting in Tipton St John, where you can park in the central ‘pay by donation’ car park, this walk could commence with a visit to the village shop or Golden Lion pub to stock up before you venture out! You need to cross the bridge towards the school and take the clearly marked footpath along the River Otter running South. This footpath is flat and stays close to the river all the way to the bridge crossing at Harpford, where you cross and then join the road to pass the church of St Gregory and their gorgeous little village hall.
Turning left after the church, you then take the next right, next to Peeks House, and follow the signed bridleway towards ‘Bowd’ – this takes you down into Harpford Woods, where you can see waterfalls and goyles caused by running streams. It is very peaceful and feels very far away from the busy world (despite the main road not being far through the trees)! After a while you will reach a clear bifurcation in the path, with one way being signed for the East Devon way and the other heading down alongside the stream.
If you wish to head to the second pub opportunity of the walk, take the lower path and follow it to cross the road at The Bowd Inn (I can vouch for the sausage baguette!), before returning to the walk by either retracing your steps or walking slightly further up the road on the return leg and taking the old railways line track which brings you almost to the same spot.
If you can resist the call of the pub, take the left fork in the path, following the East Devon Way under the railway bridge but immediately head left up the steps onto the old railway line path. This flat, surfaced track then takes you back to Tipton St John, joining the road as it re-enters the village and a left turn brings you back to the Golden Lion.
This walk is around 6-7km long and nearly all traffic free. It isn’t particularly buggy friendly, as there are some kissing gates, but the old railway track is bike and buggy friendly and could be a good ‘there and back’ route if you wanted to take small children somewhere traffic free. There is a play area in the beer garden at The Bowd, and a lovely park at Tipton St John.