Grand Western Canal: Swan Neck Circular

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Distance: 5.24 km

Terrain: Majority is flat canal tow path, with a dip in and out of Halberton on country roads.

Amenities: Free parking at either Tiverton Road bridge car park, or Greenway Bridge car park, Halberton. Halberton is a small village with shops and a pub.

It must be Spring because I am back out walking again, albeit just a short circular walk! We followed walk_1-3 The Swans Neck in reverse (anti-clockwise), beginning at Greenway Bridge car park. I couldn’t persuade either teenager to come with me, which is probably just as well because the walk guide estimated a distance of 2 miles, which actually was 3 1/4!

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From the car park, we headed over the bridge and right onto the tow path. This is a lovely, and very popular path for walkers, cyclists and fishermen which follows the wide arc of the canal. It was great to look left to see other walkers across the fields on the far side of the loop. Is it just me that is fascinated by fields that have mixed crops in them – one seemed to have a selection of kale and various lettuces?

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I was a little disappointed that we didn’t see more birds out on our walk, although there were plenty of moorhens in and around the water, but no kingfisher this time.

Towards the far end of the loop at Tiverton roadbridge, there is a new bridge and picnic tables. This area is on an attractive kink in the canal.

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Dudley Weatherley Jubilee Bridge

Shortly after this, there is an option to shorten the route by about a mile along a new footpath signposted Halberton, however we stuck to the original map and continued by veering off the towpath left at Changepath Bridge (the towpath switches sides).

We continued via country lanes on into the pretty village of Halberton, past the church which is nestled right in the centre.

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St Andrews Church, Halberton

The footpath then wends its way past the village pond (reputedly warm, but not brave enough to test it) and up left past the priory. A sharp uphill right turn leads back to the car park.

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