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David Nation at the kissing gate
Crediton's hidden valley view
By Jo Bishop
As part of BBC Radio Devon's 25th anniversary celebrations listener David Nation recommends this walk from Crediton, which follows fields and footpaths and has fine views over the Yeo valley.
Anyone who's driven between Exeter and north Devon via the A377 can’t fail to miss Crediton.
Without a bypass - despite long campaigning for one - the town is a spot where many a motorist may have cursed silently at being held up trying to get from A to B.
This walk suggested by David Nation provides the excuse, should you need one, to make Crediton your destination instead.
Driving along the main street you could be forgiven for thinking that the town is short on green space and scenery, but get up and away from the centre and the views really open up.
The Church can be seen in this view of Crediton
Indeed this walk starts from one of the highest points above the town, Barnfield, at over 300 feet.
Strangely this is where you find Queen Elizabeth Community College lower school.
David wasn't surprised that I initially ended up at the wrong campus:
"It's the lower school on the higher site and the upper school on the lower site, that's the way we have to try and remember it around here. People get terribly confused if they're not really familiar with it."
Yes, well, after all it is Mid Devon! That mix up out of the way it was time to set off on David's favourite walk.
"I think it's a delightful walk and we are so fortunate to have it right on the edge of Crediton," he said.
"Literally as you get to the southern edge of the town where there is a lot of housing you just walk down a track into the most beautiful open Devon countryside with views of Dartmoor in the distance, rolling hills and a patchwork quilt of fields."
Leave Barnfield with the school on your right, where there is a sign saying public footpath. This leads down a track to a kissing gate into a field by a thatched house.
Immediately, as David had promised, the lovely hidden views opened up across the Yeo valley.
Campers are put off by the sign, but not the view
The path is well marked and obvious, running diagonally across the field to another kissing gate and field, and then further on again.
The route starts to descend gently in the next field and then more steeply, bearing right to a pedestrian gate that opens into a tarmac lane.
Turn left here and you will see the level crossing ahead on the Tarka line at the hamlet of Salmonhutch.
"It's an absolutely brilliant journey on the train to Barnstaple," said David. "The views and scenery are just wonderful."
After the level crossing and the houses, take the next footpath signed left over a stile into a field.
The River Yeo meanders to your right, while the route remains fairly direct through a series of fields, shady narrow paths, and plenty of gates.
Shortly you come into a pleasant riverside meadow where our eyes were caught by a "no camping" sign. It was easy to see the appeal of a night under canvas at this tranquil, scenic spot.
"You can imagine local youngsters in the summer holidays, on a balmy evening would love to bring a tent down and dangle a fishing rod into the River Yeo," said David.
Exit the meadow through yet another gate, this one dominated by two splendid oak trees, both looking in fine fettle, despite one bearing the deep scar of a possible lightning strike in years gone by.
A welcome stop at Crediton train station
Continue straight ahead along this footpath that becomes a wide track leading to a road at the settlement of Fordton.
Turn left here and shortly you reach Crediton Station, a fine looking Victorian building, with attractively planted flower beds, that have won awards in the past. You can also get a good cup of tea or coffee and home made cake in the cosy café.
The route turns left just after the level crossing into Four Mills Lane, bearing right past a motor spares business, then immediately off to the left up a track, signed as a public footpath.
Keep uphill following the footpath signs, bearing left again, and then turning left into a field, with views across the town and the rooftop of Crediton Parish Church.
You first keep to the left hand hedge, then bear right towards a housing development, following this right hedge to exit the field through a gate.
Turn right on this track, effectively a fenced off section of open field, which leads out to a tarmac path. Keep straight ahead, passing a children’s play area on your left, and the rear gardens of houses.
The school buildings come into view ahead, and soon you arrive in Barnfield again.
"It's a fairly short walk," said David, "but it is through lovely countryside and I think it really shows you what this area is all about. We are so fortunate to have it right on the edge of a bustling town."
Yes, just the place to break the journey when you're next driving through Crediton or a good reason to take in that splendid scenery on the Tarka line.
last updated: 31/07/2008 at 16:44
David's Crediton Walk
Start/finish grid reference:SS 830 000
How to get to the start: Crediton is on the A377 8 miles north west of Exeter. The start is in Barnfield Road, alongside Queen Elizabeth Community College lower school. There is public transport, train and bus, to the town. This walk passes the train station and so can also be started from there.
Distance: 2.5 miles circular route.
Duration: 1 hour.
Terrain: Footpaths, fields and tarmac lanes.
Additional information: There are refreshments, toilets and shops in Crediton, plus places of interest.
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