A Countryside Walk in Offwell Woods
I always feel satisfied when I am able to tick off a new walk from my list and finally I have been to walk around Offwell Woods in East Devon. This lovely, secluded nature reserve is set within Forestry Commission woodland and is managed by the Offwell Woodland and Wildlife Trust and its volunteers.
The area is mainly deciduous woods with gurgling streams, little bridges and a lovely pond area at it’s centre where there is a log cabin classroom and picnic benches. The whole area totalling 50 acres is surrounded by Forestry Commission evergreen woodlands making the area a wildlife haven.
In the Spring and Summer it will be bursting with colour so I plan to return. On this occasion the main splash of colour was my daughter’s wooly hat! Be prepared – our walk in January was most definitely a welly walk!
Offwell is just off the A35 about 3 miles from Honiton. I’ve added more detailed directions below.
We parked in the village by the Church just opposite the school (check out the great welly planters). There is also parking at the village hall which is 100 metres before the school.
Head down the hill along the lane by the side of the Church for about 5 minutes (500 metres) until you reach a kissing gate on the right that opens up into a large field.
Through the gate then aim down the hill across the field for the woods until you find another gate and Forestry Commission sign on your right. We headed in here.
The initial footpath into woods was not that well defined but we followed our noses and it soon became clearer as we walked along the side of a pretty little stream and over well maintained bridges.
The path led us to the centre of the reserve and a large pond which is a lovely spot for a rest! I’m sure it’s also a great spot for bird watching (if you keep quiet enough!) as well as dragonflies and butterflies when the weather is warmer.
The picnic benches are real bonus too and next time I’ll take a flask! There is a lakeside classroom / cabin which is owned by the Trust and made available for schools and groups to use for nature events. There will be wildlife events on over the summer and you can find out what’s on or make contact via the Trust’s Facebook page (click here).
The path looped round to some smaller ponds and then with the help of my Ordnance Survey map we headed away from the main reserve slightly up hill until it met a bridleway. There is a little hand drawn map that you may find helpful (for a better quality version follow the web link in the introduction).
There are stunning views across a hidden valley and we picked up the footpath again and were soon back by the woods entrance. We had done a good circular walk that once we got back to the car was probably about and hour.
Most places look a bit bleak in January but this was still a gorgeous place to explore and safe enough for children to run around (being aware of the ponds and streams of course). Rhododendrons are starting to bud which will look lovely in May and I’m sure it will be full of wild flowers in the spring.
So overall agreat little walk and one I really should have done sooner. This is not suitable for pushchairs or at this time of year anyone who is not steady on their feet as the access is quite wet. On our route we also encountered 2 styles, although these could be avoided if you do a shorter route
Here are some more photos that I took.
This is a lovely place for a walk with a mix of terrain and a safe space for children and dogs to run off some energy!
Directions to Offwell
Offwell is a lovely East Devon Village which is 3 miles from Honiton or 8.5 miles from Axminster just off the main A35. The easiest route is to turn in off the A35 just outside Wilmington where it signs for the for the Recycling Centre and Widworthy Court. Keep on that road and it will take you straight into Offwell.
Use postcode EX14 9SA. Park in the village hall car park or near the Church is you can do so considerately.
Post Walk Tea Break!
There is a lovely new café just off the A35 which you will pass on your left if you are coming from Honiton called The Grazing Cow (it used to be a plant nursery). I can vouch for the coffee and cake and apparently they do a pretty mean breakfast as well. I feel a more extensive visit and review is needed soon!