Follow the red route on this map to explore the countryside around Combe House with your dog. The walk takes just over 1 hour and is 4.5 miles long. It will lead you up past quaint farms, along country lanes and into the beautiful old beech woods of Combe Estate. If you have time to spare stop for a while in Gittisham, the charming thatched village where you can visit the Norman church of St Michaels.
Alternatively follow the blue route and you can lengthen the walk and venture towards Putts Corner where you can stop to rest at the ‘Hare & Hounds’, a country pub, before you return to Combe House.
The green route extends your dog walk on to quiet lanes, just in case your four legged friend has a little spare energy! (45 mins approx – wellies recommended on rainy days )
All we ask is that you clean up your furry friend before coming back into the hotel, or cottage, as the Devon countryside is both beautiful and sometimes a little muddy.
Hare & Hounds Public House – open all day, 7 days a week tel: 01404 417 60
Time: 2 ¼ hours
Character: Superb views of the Jurassic Coast and bird-watching on the Otter Estuary Nature Reserve. Otterton has a street of cob and thatch houses and a working water-mill. Easy walking, no really steep slopes. NB Take binoculars.
Park with care at Otterton’s green, just east of the mill. Walk past the King’s Arms, beside the stream along Fore Street. The massive chimneystacks (some dated) in the side walls of these 16th and 17th century cottages and farmhouses are typical of Devon. When the road bends left, walk ahead up BELL STREET LEADING TO LADRAM BAY.
Continue uphill. Ignore the tarmac lanes on the right, then near the top of the slope turn right along a track for LADRAM BAY. Just 35m ahead, turn left down a track, again signed LADRAM BAY.
The tract becomes a path and emerges into the Ladram Bay holiday centre. Continue ahead, signed COAST PATH, then keep right for BUDLEIGH SALTERTON.
You will get an arresting view of Ladram Bay’s rock stacks. These are part of a chain of New Red Sandstones, between 180 and 225 million years old, that stretch from
Torbay to east of Sidmouth. High Peak stands behind the stacks and on a clear day the view extends along the Dorset coast to Portland Bill. Follow the undulating cliff path for 4km to the River Otter. Seabirds, especially gulls, wheel and call below. They find nesting sites along the ledges and crevices. Don’t go too close to the edge – it’s a sheer drop.
Follow the coast path when it turns inland at WW2 pillbox, now maintained as a winter bat roost. There are bat-boxes in the trees along the river bank, where a hide offers excellent opportunities to watch birds. They are plentiful throughout the year, but especially in winter, when waders such as oystercatcher, widgeon, dunlin and curlew gather.
In medieval times, before the shingle ridge formed and the silt built up, the Otter was navigable to Otterton. The saltpans of Budleigh Salterton were worked where now there are mud flats.
Turn left onto a lane at South Farm. Keep left to cross a bridge and turn right on the bankside footpath to OTTERTON. Watch out for the fish, including trout and mullet and the birds including kingfishers.
Continue on the same bank, passing a metal bridge. When you reach a road, turn right across the bridge past Otter Mill. The Domesday Book records three mills at Otterton, including one on this site. It still grinds flour. You may like to study the restored machinery in motion and visit the gallery and craft workshops.
Distance : 8.5km(51/4 miles)
Time:2 ½ hours
Character: An exhilarating coastal walk to Beer Head, England’s most westerly chalk cliff, with superb views of the Heritage Coast stretching from Torbay to Portland Bill and exploring the remarkable landslip of the Hooken Undercliffs. Two steep ascents and uneven walking through the Undercliffs.
Park at Branscombe Village Hall car park (SY197888, voluntary contributions please) near the unique thatched forge, open to the public (National Trust). Turn left out of the car park, then after 40 m turn right (WORKING WATER WHEEL). Follow the leat to the mill entrance then continue ahead for BRANSCOMBE MOUTH. Keep right at the next junction and walk down to the beach, with its shop, café and toilets.
Turn left and follow the coast path up East Cliff. Half way up there’s a choice of paths. Despite the initial climb, the upper route is easier, but the lower route through the Undercliffs is a unique experience.
Hooken Undercliffs were formed in one night, in 1790. Four hectares of land slipped 60m and moved 200m seaward. The cause was heavy rain, which made the top layer of Upper Chalk and Green-sand slip over the layer of clay which separated it from the underlying Lias. Vegetation has since clothed many of the scars, but pinnacles of rock stand up proud.
When you reach a path junction, turn right (though you might want to turn briefly left, to take a look at the land slip from above). Follow the coast path to a tarred lane. Turn right at a No Entry sign into Common Lane and after 30m left into a footpath behind houses. Cross a lane and continue on the footpath.
Cross another lane, and head diagonally left up a footpath. Turn left onto a road, then after 80m turn right for PECORAMA and PLEASURE GARDENS. Ascend past the entrance to Pecorama.
At the entrance to the car park turn left onto PUBLIC FOOTPATH. Now walk for 1.4km to a track T-junction and continue ahead on a PUBLIC FOOTPATH across a field. Go through a kissing gate and turn right, then almost immediately left, keeping the hedge on your right.
When you reach a stile, turn right into the wood, then turn left downhill into BRANSCOMBE ignoring side turnings. Turn left onto a lane, then after 30m turn sharp right down to the medieval Mason’s Arms with its period photographs, open fires and beer garden. Retrace your steps to the crossroads and turn right (FOOTPATH TO BEACH). Turn right at the path junction and return to the Village Hall.