A Walk with a View in East Devon
One thing Devon is well known for is it’s hills. If you don’t mind working up a bit of a sweat when you walk, then the hill forts and beacons in Devon are perfect for feeling like you’ve achieved something. You certainly can’t beat them if you want a great walk with a view in East Devon.
Musbury Castle is one of the many hill forts in the South West. I can remember being taken up there for a picnic as a child with my primary school, how lovely that it’s still worth the walk. There used to be a lot more trees at the top, but careful management by the National Trust has meant the views have been opened up all around.
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A View of the Axe Valley
Hill Forts were built in the Iron Age by Celtic Tribes around 500 – 100 BC. Defensive ditches and banks were built around the top and some hill forts also had settlements. There are a number of examples in East Devon and Dorset, with Lamberts Castle being another popular walking spot.
A panoramic view of the Axe Valley from Musbury Castle
The East Devon Way
The well marked East Devon Way walking route runs through Musbury village and up over Musbury Castle.
There are a number of other footpaths around the area, so you can plan a walk and length to suit you. Despite this, it is not a heavily walked place (probably due to the fairly steep hill at the start). The advantage being, that once at the top you may well have the place to yourself.
Enjoy the view across the Jurassic Coast and the Axe Estuary, and take yourself back to 100 BC!
The East Devon Way is a 40 mile walking route which runs from Exmouth to Lyme Regis through beautiful East Devon countryside including eight villages. The footpaths are marked with the East Devon Way foxglove icon and you can download short walks and maps from the website.
A One Hour Walking Route
The footpath I started from is opposite the primary school and the Church, signed for the East Devon Way. Find somewhere safe to park in the village and head to that point. The very first part of the walk appears to be down a private driveway but don’t worry that’s correct. It soon starts to head up hill towards a farm.
Keep following the footpath signs as you steadily climb uphill, past farm buildings and on up a farm track.
The top of the track meets a field with a footpath sign and style (there is a gate a little to the right if needed). Then it’s straight up again across this field. Aim for the middle of the hedge at the top of the field, where you will come to another gate and the National Trust sign.
Up through the trees the path splits. The East Devon Way forks off down to the right but you need to keep going straight ahead on up the hill.
Explore and Enjoy the Views
Once you reach the top turn left and then you can explore the plateau that is the top of Musbury Castle and enjoy the panoramic views.
To continue the circular route, walk along the plateau with the sea to your right behind you. Coming through a gateway you head left across a field to reach the other side of the hill. It’s not completely clear but you should see a style in the hedge line. Once through this bear right along the field edge and you will have a beautiful view of East Devon, this time looking towards Axminster.
This footpaths keeps high up along the top of the ridge and then drops down some steps onto a country lane.
Now you have a choice. Head down hill through the lanes and you will get back into Musbury. When you are nearing the village there is a footpath off to the left up on a bank just past a house. If you miss it don’t worry though as you can take the next left into the village and that heads back to the Church.
Extending the Walk
If you want a bit more of a challenge then instead of turning left down the lane back to Musbury, turn right. Initially up hill, then gently down. After 1km turn right at Bulmore Cross and past a farm. This track then meets the East Devon Way again as it comes down from Musbury Castle. So turn up here for another steep climb back up and over the hill. This route will take you back down the first part of the walk to Musbury. It should take about 2 1/2 hours and is 4.4 miles.
You can find a map and more details on the East Devon Way website. Look for circular route 12. Turn left at point 4 for the short walk, or follow the full route for the longer version.
A Circular Pub Walk
There is nothing more satisfying than a finding a great place to stop after a good walk.
So I was delighted to recently have the chance to visit The Hind pub at Musbury. The owners Emma and Adrian have, over the last three year brought this pub into the 21st century.
A new extension has been added, light and airy it’s a great room for a meals but also large enough to accommodate groups of up to 50 people to meet in. The kitchen has been extended as well. The pub offers good value traditional pub meals as well as daily specials and theme nights. The bar has kept it’s traditional feel and welcomes your four legged walking partners. Finally the whole of the outside has had a face-lift and new signage and really does look lovely.
So if you are planning a walk why not make this your starting and finishing place. Stop for a morning coffee (open from 12 noon) or lunch and make the most of the chance to walk in such a lovely place. If you are a walking group The Hind will open for you ealier by prior arrangement.
The Hind is easy to find just off the main road from Axminster to Seaton. If you are not going to use the pub please be considerate and find a place elsewhere in the village to park.
More Walks Like This
I have to say I do like a walk with a view. I’ve previously written about Fire Beacon Hill near Sidmouth which also has superb coastal views and Lamberts Castle. If you have any questions or feedback please leave them in the comments below.
Thank you to the Hind Pub for sponsoring this post