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24 September 2014

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Chagford: moors and riverside walk
Looking down on Chagford
Chagford view
BBC Radio Devon's Michael Chequer takes you on a bracing walk from Chagford to open moorland at the top of Nattadon Hill, and on through woodland and farmland to the banks of the River Teign.
Pippa Quelch's Saltram walk

Vic Morgan's Exminster wildlife walk

Walking at Haytor

Ted Hughes Dartmoor Walk

More Devon walks

Chagford - Home Town feature
Welcome to Chagford

Dartmoor National Park

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Chagford is an ancient Stannary town situated on the north eastern edge of Dartmoor.

The total length of the walk is about 4.5 miles.

It's not suitable for those with mobility problems although the stretch of path alongside the River Teign is comparatively flat.

The route is adapted from a fuller description of this walk published in'Six Short Pub Walks on Dartmoor', written by Chips Barber.

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I first discovered this winter walk about three years ago - and I suppose it's good proof of the old saying that every cloud has a silver lining.

Because of a huge delay between selling one house and buying another, Beth and I ended up spending about six months living in a rented home whilst nearly all of our possessions were in storage in Exeter.

Deprived of our computer, TV, music collection, books and all the other baggage of modern life, we found ourselves out and about just about every evening and weekend.

For most of our hikes across Dartmoor, we were guided by some of the dozens of books written by the prolific local author - and now President of the Devon Ramblers Association - Chips Barber.

This route takes you from meadows to open moorland at the top of Nattadon Hill, and on through woodland, farmland and eventually the cool and tranquil banks of the River Teign.

The centre of Chagford is the starting point.
The walk begins in the very centre of Chagford, the beautiful old stannary town on the fringes of Dartmoor.

Once the big climb up Nattadon Hill at the start of the walk is done, the route is very nearly downhill all the way.

It's very steep, and hard work for those not in the peak of physical condition (like me!) but the views from the top are stunning.

Start by taking a stroll down New Street, heading in the direction of Meldon Hill until you come to a turning on your left called Nattadon Road.

Take this turning and bear right, then turn left onto a signposted green path to Nattadon Common.

Your exact route at this point doesn't matter too much - as long as you head upwards!

Your next target is the left shoulder of Nattadon Hill. It's a steep climb but the view from the common at the summit more than compensates for the effort expended in reaching it.

It feels like half of Devon is laid out at your feet, with the buildings of Chagford far below looking more like children's toys.

Chagford stream
The stream running past cottages in Chagford.
Now keep parallel with the hedge on your left, admiring the views across the valley to Castle Drogo, until you reach a grassy car park.

Turn right onto the road and follow it for a short distance, ignoring the turning to Weddicott on your right.

At the next bend take the bridlepath which heads downhill towards Great Weeke and Yellam and follow it down the hill for some distance!

Eventually - taking the straight-on option at any junctions - you'll reach a minor road at the bottom.

Turn left here and keep going for about 300 yards until you reach a junction by a letterbox - turn right here into Adley Lane.

Not far along this lane is a modern bungalow on the right and just beyond it is a half-hidden signpost on the right which points to the left along a short track on the left.

Follow this - heading diagonally across the fields then onto a narrow path which will bring you out in a cul-de-sac in outer Chagford.

At the end of this you'll come to a more major road. Turn left for a short while, looking out for a stile and path on your right signposted to Rushford Bridge.

Cross the bridge when you reach it - then almost immediately take the footpath across the fields which is signposted on your left.

Pass through the gap in the hedge and head for and over the small wooden bridge which crosses a leat.

Michael Chequer
This is one of Michael's favourite Devon walks.

Soon a choice of routes is offered as you reach the Two Moors Way. Take the direction marked 'Chagford Bridge' and follow the river Teign for some distance - a beautiful riverside walk.

Eventually you will emerge onto a road. Turn left to cross the river once again and up the hill.

Turn left at the junction - signposted Chagford - and back to the town!

It's partly this stunning view that tempts me to name this 4.5 mile walk as one of my favourites in the county, but I also love the huge variety of habitats on offer.

Even so, by the time we arrived back in Chagford, I felt more than ready to try out one of the four pubs which Chips' book suggests!

Details of Michael and Chips’ route can be found in 'Six Short Pub Walks on Dartmoor', written by Chips Barber and published by Obelisk, Priced £1.95.

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