To deal with excess Christmas turkey or festive cheer, North Devon Ramblers have put together five winter walks to enjoy throughout the holidays.
They are all relatively easy walks of no more than 3.5 miles and range from an urban stroll to the majestic Exmoor coastpath.
North Devon Ramblers hosts regular walks every week throughout the year, with something for all abilities and new members are always welcome.
Find out more about the local group at https://www.ramblers.org.uk/north-devon .
Ilfracombe's old railway line
Start: Barnstaple or Ilfracombe bus station
End: Ilfracombe (bus back to Barnstaple).
From Barnstaple, take Filers bus No.303 to Mortehoe old station. From Ilfracombe take bus No.31. Cross the road carefully and take the surfaced trail to your left. This is the old railway line and it will take you down into Ilfracombe. When the trail ends just follow Station Road downhill, this will bring you to Holy Trinity church and the town centre/seaside.
This walk is about three miles. Very good underfoot. There are information boards along the way and you should have wide-ranging views out to sea. You will walk through an old railway tunnel and past Slade reservoirs.
Start: Hunter's Inn. National Trust car park, Heddon Valley
End: Hunter's Inn
Walk along the road to the left of the inn and in about 400 yards, after a small bridge, take the footpath on your left. Follow this path beside the River Heddon to the sea at Heddon's Mouth (about 1 mile). When you have had a look around, retrace your steps for about 200 yards and turn left to cross a bridge over the river. Turn right and follow this path all the way back to Hunter's Inn, keeping the river on your right.
This walk is an easy two miles. The land is owned by the National Trust here and is also within Exmoor National Park.
About half way down to the sea your path is crossed by the South West Coast Path, a National Trail running from Minehead in Somerset, through Devon and Cornwall and around Land's End eventually arriving at Poole in Dorset.
The land on either side of your path rises to almost 1,000 feet above sea level. There is a restored lime kiln at the mouth with an information board. The valley is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Start and end: Wistlandpound Reservoir (fisherman's pay and display car park not main car park)
Leave the car park by the track to the left of your entry point (footpath and trails signs) as this will take you down to the lakeside and the dam.
This reservoir was built in 1956, covers 40 acres and is managed by the South West Lakes Trust. There is an easy access trail all around the lake (take the gate to your left). This is a very easy short walk for all the family but filled with plenty of opportunities to bird watch (there is a hide about half way around) and to picnic (tables provided).
The car park also provides a starting point for various longer walks, using footpaths to reach Bratton Fleming for instance. This is an easy walk of about two miles on a good surface.
Westward Ho! coastal walk
Start and end: Westward Ho! Free car park near to 'The Pier House' at the west end of the village.
Take the South West Coast Path from the car park and walk away from the village for about 1 mile (20-30 mins). You should enjoy fabulous views along the coast towards Clovelly and Hartland Point. Turn left, following the footpath sign inland and up over a couple of fields until you meet a surfaced lane near to Abbotsham Court. Walk along the lane and take the first left (about 5 mins), follow the lane downhill, (you may not realise but you will be crossing the disused Bideford to Westward Ho! railway line), next uphill. You pass a few houses then the lane turns to the right beside a housing estate at the top of the hill. When you reach a road junction take the footpath to your left, through a gate and follow down the lovely Kipling Tors (National Trust land) back to the car park.
This walk is just about 3.5 miles.
Barnstaple urban walk
Start and end: Barnstaple Square
This urban walk explores some older parts of Barnstaple and is all on hard surfaces so no boots necessary. Cross from the square, past the Albert clock to Litchdon Street (on your right), at the road junction turn left, walk for about 20-30 yards and enter the church yard of Holy Trinity church.
Follow around the church, along the avenue of yew trees and through a gate into Victoria Road. Cross the road and to your half left, on the corner of Gloster Road, take the cycle/walkway. This runs to Hollowtree Road, cross at the lights and continue to follow the path, behind buildings, to a path junction where you turn right. This wide path was the route of the railway line between Great Western and junction stations.
It eventually meets the B3138 Barnstaple to Bishops Tawton road where you cross at the lights, follow the path, past Park School, to the old Park & Ride parking. Keep straight on to the old railway bridge at the end of Rock Park, cross this, turn right and follow the riverside path to the Long Bridge where you recross the River Taw to Barnstaple Square.
A very easy 3 mile walk.