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28 October 2014

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You are in: Devon > Discover Devon > Great Outdoors > Walks > Aylesbeare Common Walk

The view at Aylesbeare Common

Taking in the view at Aylesbeare Common

Aylesbeare Common Walk

This walk starts in the East Devon village of Tipton St John, and takes you across the RSPB nature reserve at Aylesbeare Common.

Distance: 7.5 miles
Duration: Allow three hours

Aylesbeare Common in East Devon is internationally important for its heathland habitat, and for the range of wildlife that lives there.

The common is an RSPB nature reserve, and inhabitants include Dartford warblers, nightjars and stonechats. You'll also find butterflies, damselflies and dragonflies.

And if all that isn't enough to tempt you, then there are also some stunning views across the East Devon countryside towards the sea.

We made our way to Aylesbeare Common from the village of Tipton St John, where we also ended the walk.

The River Otter at Tipton St John

The River Otter at Tipton St John

Park in the village car park, and cross the bridge over the River Otter. At the village church, turn left up the hill. At the top of the hill, head straight on along Green Lane - an old track.

When you reach an old beech tree, turn left. But before doing so, take a look at the view behind you - you can see all the way down to Sidmouth Gap.

At the end of the track, you'll reach a road junction - turn right into Barton Mews, and take a footpath to the left of Venn Ottery Church. Cross a field and turn right into a lane; and then left at a cream house into a lane marked 'Unmetalled.'

We did the walk in December, and this track was very squelchy underfoot!

Take a right turn at the end of the track, into a country lane towards Southerton. Then turn left at the first junction, heading up to Aylesbeare. Veer right 50 yards on, then veer left, signed to The Coach House.

The climb up to the top of the common

The climb up to the top of the common

Turn right at the Badgers Hill sign and from here, follow the arrows on the footpath posts until you make your way through woodland to common land.

Stick to the path and then go left on a road past a white, thatched cottage. This is part of the East Devon Way, the 38 mile walk across East Devon to Dorset.

Turn left at the sign saying 'Benchams Fire Point 26', and head up a steep hill towards the top of the common. It's here where you notice the pebbles underfoot - this is the East Devon Pebble Bed Heath.

The pebble bed heath is part of the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The pebbles look entirely out of place, so far inland, but they have been here for 200 million years. It's believed they were deposited by fast flowing rivers during the Triassic era.

We crossed the common by taking a left turn at the brow of the hill. From here, there are panoramic views across to Sidmouth Gap, Mutters Moor and the sea. You can also see down to the little villages below - Tipton St John and Newton Poppleford.

The view from the common towards Sidmouth Gap

The view from the common to Sidmouth Gap

If you stop and listen, you can also hear birdsong. Amazingly, we were the only people on the common, and the place was very peaceful.

The good news is that it's all pretty much down hill from here back to Tipton St John. Head down the common through the woodland, avoiding the soggy sections if you can.

At a dip, cross a stream on a little footbridge and head up a path until you leave the common.

Turn left along a country road signed to Harpford. With playing fields on your right, pass through a kissing gate on the left and head back to Tipton along the banks of the River Otter.

You need to be fit to do this walk, and you'll need some decent walking boots (I actually got literally stuck in the mud at one point!).

We rounded off the walk with a well earned lunch at the Golden Lion in Tipton St John - and I for one was more than ready for it.

last updated: 22/02/2008 at 12:45
created: 07/12/2005

You are in: Devon > Discover Devon > Great Outdoors > Walks > Aylesbeare Common Walk

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