Distance: 8 miles
Terrain: Mostly flat paths – some narrow, and some tree roots. Also a few fields.
Facilities: Parking is widely available in Tiverton town centre. There are pubs and cafes at Bickleigh if you need refreshment for the return trip. There are regular buses between Bickleigh and Tiverton if you can only manage one way.
We stumbled upon the Exe Valley Way, looking for somewhere to walk on Bank Holiday Monday. The whole Exe Valley Way is 50 miles from the source to the sea and is divided into ten stages. This walk was Stage 4.
I have to say that the start of the walk (from the car park by the museum (quite a good local museum)) was not very promising, the first mile along a road that led to a large sewage works, but then got progressively better. The walk description has not been updated since a new route takes you at the far end of the fields on the left into the woodland.
From here, you start to get better sight of the River Exe and there were some nice areas where it would have been nice to stop for a picnic.
Towards Bickleigh, we encountered my all time walking hatred – a field of cows. Luckily, they all looked to be feeding and we managed to skirt round them on an adjacent but very marshy path. I recently read an article about a dog walker who was almost crushed to death by cows and suffered multiple fractures.
We rewarded ourselves with a nice cold glass of ginger beer and a light lunch at Bickleigh Mill in the sunshine before heading back. We just caught sight of a little egret fishing on the banks of the river before it flew off – a lovely end to a lovely walk.
I would definitely like to explore more of the Exe Valley Way – watch this space!