Section 3 – Two Moors Way - Chagford to Morchard Road
Distance - 18 miles Grade - Easy to Moderate walking with some short strenuous Grade climbs - What these grades mean.
See the "Options" section in the walk Overview for info on shorter walking days for those wanting more relaxed Two Moors Itineraries.
A peaceful tree lined river meadow trail tracks the Teign this morning as it gurgles away from the high ground. Look carefully for sculpture island just before Dogmarsh Bridge Weir, but it’s not only art you may spot, this whole section is alive with wildlife, including kingfishers, dippers, and if you are very lucky perhaps a playful otter.
Suddenly the hillsides thrust up around you and you find yourself dwarfed in the Castle Drogo Gorge. One of the Two Moors Way highlights, this superb section runs right below the imposing granite walls of Castle Drogo (A National Trust award winning attraction accessible from the path, Drogo was the last castle built in the UK).
From the “Fishermans Path” beside the churning Teign gorge you loop up to higher ground on the aptly named Hunters Path, through thickly wooded slopes punctured with outcrops of white stone. You continue to climb to the impressive and aptly named Sharp Tor, a spiky topped outcrop commanding breath-taking views over the deep forest of the gorge to the precipitous castle defences beyond. Cross the rather amusingly named Piddledown Common before continuing into Drewsteignton Village, well served by the Drewe Arms, or if time is on your side you can detour via the Fingle Bridge beauty spot set in the shadow of the hilltop Prestonbury Castle to take some well earned refreshments from the Fingle Bridge Inn in a truly tranquil riverside spot.
Gentler walking now into classic mid Devon farmlands passing rough old cob houses and farmsteads and the tiny village of Hittisleigh, birthplace of the infamous pirate Black Sam and worth a pause to view its lonely Wagon Roof Truss church. As you approach Helmoors Down, you take an earthy sunken track where the trees meet above, forming a living natural tunnel. Shortly after this is Preston’s Junction and a short diversion off the Two Moors Way takes you to the pretty village of Colebrooke with accommodation and facilities for overnights stay options.
Psychologically you have now left the challenges of Dartmoor National Park behind to walk on gently undulating agricultural land in hidden mid Devon, where the modern world suddenly seems a long way away. An utterly peaceful and rewarding route through rolling hills presents a run of rich pastures, isolated farmsteads, wooded glades and green lanes broken up by the secret and unspoilt villages of mid Devon.
Highlights include the tall, towering trees of Horwell wood, the fine 16th century Devon Manorhouse at Whelmstone Barton, and the run of tranquil fish Ponds at Coombe. At tiny Clannaborough, the church is dedicated to the not-so-distant Cornish Patron Saint of Tin Miners, St Petroc, set in a wonderful location on the Two Moors Path and in the grounds of the 18th Century Clannaborough House.
Some sense of the wider world returns to your senses as you meet the branch railway line and main road at Morchard Road but the offerings of the very traditional Devonshire Dumpling Inn more than make up for this intrusion. Those on short breaks arriving for the Exmoor section or departing after Dartmoor will use the bus stop and train station here.