The view from the edge of the woods over the Axe Valley
A Walk in Shute Woods in East Devon
For my latest walk I didn’t stray too far from home! It was the conversation of some friends who are relatively new to the area that made me realise that not everyone is familiar with the places I take for granted. So I took the chance with some visitors for a short walk in Shute Woods in East Devon.
These woods are old and significant. There is a Roman Road running from Shute Pillars to Kilmington, almost parallel to the modern A35 (see Walk Three below which I have added in as this makes a good walk if you fancy heading to the pub and back)!
On the southern side of the Shute Hill there is a stone Beacon once used when messages were sent across the land by lighting fires at prominent locations. National Trust Shute Barton is near by as well, you can almost imagine the Tudors on their hunting trips out in these woods. More recently the Georgian era Shute House was built to take advantage of the stunning view out across Seaton Bay and the Axe Estuary.
The great thing about these woods is that you can make your walk as long or as short as you like – there are no end of combinations including a walk through the grounds of Shute Barton or off into Kilmington for a pub lunch. You will need to make use of your sense of direction – the paths through the woods are wide and obvious but not always signposted!
Here are three walk options in Shute Woods for you. The first two take you to the area around The Beacon on the Western side of the woods starting near Shute Primary School. See directions below for parking for these walks.
Walk One – Short Walk
With our backs to the road we took the path off to the right out of the little car-park. Wellies was the order of the day! This woodland has been cleared a lot in the last few years and looked a bit bare, but there are signs that the rhododendrons will be blooming in May.
After a stomp up the hill the first left turn we came to heads off up to the Beacon, but we carried on and it flattened out a little. After about 10 minutes we turned left again up a proper track which has been used by heavy machinery maintaining the woods. The woods are mainly privately owned so these are known as permissive footpaths as opposed to public rights of way.
Walk and enjoy walking
Talk and then listen
Look at the sky, the trees and flowers
Be grateful that you can enjoy the outdoors
I am guilty of not doing these things – at home when we’re rushing around it’s easy to not engage with each other
properly. But being outside on a walk focuses the senses and I’m trying hard to make sure we all appreciate our walks,
even if the children start off reluctantly!
Being out in woods you can’t help but feel closer to nature and let the stresses of the day wane away. It’s scientifically
proven that being outdoors is good for our well being.
Once the path flattened out again we turned left again by some fire beaters and headed down the hill and back towards the car park – this was about 25 minutes allowing for children, so probably a mile at the most. You can extend the walk by taking the track for the first part of the next walk or by looping around these tracks in a different way. I have to admit we missed out The Beacon so I’ll let you discover that!
Walk 2 – Longer Option
From the car park head left and there is a track running parallel to the edge of the fields where there are superb views of the Axe Valley and we even spotted some alpaca.
If you walk along this route after about 500 meters it joins a steep rocky public right of way that runs right through the woods from Shute (starting by Shute Barton) to Kilmington, called Ashes Road on the map. Head uphill through the beach trees to the brow of the hill and then carry on with fields to your left.
Take a look at this map to help you or click here for the link to the source page for a printable PDF.
This way you are heading towards Kilmington. Now you are on the brow of the hill you really just need to turn right at some point to loop back to the car park – it really depends on how far you want to walk. The sooner you turn right the quicker you get back!
The track joins the country road (lane) that heads into Kilmington after about 400 meters and from here you can walk to the Old Inn or New Inn for refreshments – another 1/2 mile. Alternatively follow the road turning right which takes you back along the quiet country lane, round the woods via Haddon Corner. From here there are great views out across the Axe Valley towards Seaton. You could follow the lane all the way back to the car park or turn off into the woods again.
WALK THREE – Roman Road
Shute Pillars to Kilmington
If you are wanting something with no real hills and accessible with a buggy this is the route for you. Park off the road at Shute Pillars where there is a wide entrance heading up toward the woods (200 metres off the A35 turning towards Shute and Colyton opposite the Land Rover Garage).
Walk up the track past a large new house and enjoy the great views across the valley towards Dalwood and over the Blackdown Hills. It’s a wide green lane track, firm underfoot all the way to Kilmington. Running pretty much parallel to the A35 it’s approx 1 mile to Kilmington. This a pleasant walk through the trees with the options of heading off into the woods in a few places if you want to explore more.
Once you reach Kilmington there are two pubs to choose from and a shop near the school and church. Once you are suitably refreshed head back the same way!
So I hope you get the chance to enjoy Shute Woods – they are a great place to explore and I hope to help my children learn their way around as well.
If you are looking for drinks or snacks there is The Old Inn and The New Inn in Kilmington as well The Teapot Cafe at Millers Farm Shop. One of my favourites is The Coffee Factory at Seaton Junction that I have written about before.
Shute Woods East Devon