Best walks with pubs in Devon

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Best walks with pubs in Devon

Devon is blessed with fantastic walks, whether it’s a ramble along a river, blowing away the cobwebs on a coastal path, striding through fields, or enjoying the dappled shade of a woodland walk.

From a mile-long meander that leaves you sunkissed with sandy toes to a 10-mile stomp that ends with rosy cheeks and muddy boots, there’s no better way to explore this gorgeous county than on foot.

And all that exercise means only one thing – rumbling bellies! Luckily, there’s also a plethora of irresistible inns and perfectly-timed pubs that just happen to pop up as you walk, offering the ideal break, whether for a quick pint or a hearty Sunday lunch. With cosy and welcoming winter fires and sun-soaked beer gardens, they have a charm whatever time of year you visit.

Ready to enjoy a revitalising mix of fresh air and refreshing pit-stops? Here are a few of our favourite walks with pubs in Devon to get your adventures started...


Dart Valley Trail: Totnes to Dartmouth

A view over the River Dart towards Totnes in Devon

Best for: River views and bustling towns

• Distance: 9 miles

• Difficulty: Moderate

• Starts/ends: Totnes/Dartmouth

• Parking: Steamers Quay car park

• Landmarks: Spectacular views of the River Dart, Sharpham Estate and Greenway Estate

• Pub: The Steam Packet Inn

Connecting two of Devon’s loveliest towns, the Dart Valley Trail is a spectacular walk for when you want to make a day of it. Starting in the town of Totnes with its range of independent shops as well as fantastic eateries, you’ll find a vibrant community well worth taking the time to explore. The trail takes you along the banks of the slowly meandering River Dart, where you’ll be accompanied by the sound of bird calls as you go, before passing the impressive Sharpham Estate, famed for its vineyard and cheeses. 

Afterwards, the trail passes through the pretty villages of Ashprington, Cornworthy and Dittisham, where you can take the ferry over Dart Estuary to the Greenway Estate, the former home of the crime novelist Agatha Christie, which is now cared for by the National Trust. The trail then takes you through dappled oak woodland that’s alive with wildlife, from berry-seeking birds to the elusive Roe Deer. 

From this point you’ll need to take another ferry across to the naval port of Dartmouth with its two fortified castles and pretty waterside eateries. From here you can either catch a bus back to Totnes, or if you’re walking during the summer months, you can get the steam boat back down the River Dart (tickets need to be booked in advance). Back in Totnes, treat yourself to a pint and a hearty meal at the Steam Packet Inn, which has great views over the river.


Bellever Forest

The white exterior of The Warren House Inn on Dartmoor

Best for: Dappled trails and majestic moors

• Distance: 3 miles (Postbridge Trail) or 2.5 miles (Bellever Trail)

• Difficulty: Easy to moderate

• Starts/ends: Postbridge Forestry Commission car park (Postbridge Trail) Bellever Forestry Commission car park (Bellever Trail)

• Parking: As above

• Landmarks: Bellever Tor, Bellever Forest

• Pub: The Warren House Inn

Combining the best of Dartmoor’s wild countryside and calming woodland, Bellever Forest is a peaceful spot to come for a walk. There are various trails you can follow, but the Postbridge and Bellever trails focus on the forest area, offering easy to navigate paths through beautifully dappled scenes. The Postbridge Trail takes about 1.5 hours and meanders along tracks created by the Forestry Commission, with far-reaching views over open moorland with the option to divert off the trail and climb Bellever Tor, where you can enjoy a vista that goes on for miles. The Bellever Trail sticks more to the forest where you’ll pass Bronze Age hut circles as you walk, suggesting that many more people lived here then than they do today. 

Whichever trail you choose, you’ll spot plenty of wildlife as you walk, including Dartmoor ponies, who are kept here by the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust to graze on the vegetation, which in turn creates a more diverse landscape for other creatures. After your walk, take the short drive to the historic Warren House Inn, which sits perched high on the moors. Famous for not letting the fire go out since 1845 (yes, that’s right!), this is a lovely spot for a drink and a bite to eat – their famous homemade ‘Warreners Pie’ will definitely fill hungry tums.


Thurlestone to Bantham

Looking out over fields with sheep grazing at Burgh Island in Devon

Best for: Blowing away the cobwebs with epic sea views

• Distance: 4 miles

• Difficulty: Moderate

• Starts/ends: South Milton Sands National Trust car park

• Parking: As above

• Landmarks: Burgh Island, Thurlestone Rock and South Milton Sands

• Pub: The Sloop Inn

This gorgeous coastal walk is one of south Devon’s best. Starting at the spectacular beach at South Milton Sands, you’ll enjoy a blissful sweep of golden sand with rock pools to explore, all backed by wetlands frequented by migratory birds. It’s also famous for overlooking the iconic Thurlestone Rock archway, which you’ll pass on your way to Thurlestone beach. 

From here you join the South West Coast Path, before turning inland near The Sloop Inn in Bantham, a lovely 14th century pub that is said to serve one of the best roast dinners in the region, making it the perfect spot to stop off for a rest and a bite to eat. Once you’re revived, take to the countryside paths, lanes, and hills that wind their way back towards Thurlestone, where you’ll rejoin the coastal path back to where you started. If you’re feeling a tad hot after your walk, take a cooling dip in the sea before heading back to your beautiful Devonshire holiday home.



The stone exterior of The Rugglestone Inn in Devon

Best for: A peek into Dartmoor’s history

• Distance: 1 mile

• Difficulty: Easy

• Starts/ends: The village sign on the green next to the church

• Parking: Widecombe-in-the-Moor car park

• Landmarks: Church House and Sexton’s Cottage, St Pancras Church

• Pub: The Rugglestone Inn

This great little walk is a must when visiting the pretty village of Widecombe-in-the-Moor. Named ‘The Widecombe Wag’ (after a guide who was also a dairy farmer and milkman who was passionate about the place he grew up in), the gentle walk takes in all the major must-sees of the village. 

Starting on the village green just in front of the church, you’ll pass through a water meadow next to the East Webburn River, and across fields to the back of St Pancras Church, also known as ‘the cathedral of the moor’. Stroll through the graveyard and you might find the supposed ancestors of Queen Katherine Parr, the last wife of Henry VIII. Pop into the 14th century church to gaze at the later 16th century stonework and revel in the peace and quiet, before exiting the churchyard via the lynch gate. Here, you’ll find the Church House and Sexton’s Cottage next to each other, which have at times been an almshouse, a place for pilgrims to rest, a school and a village hall. 

After your meander, head to the nearby Rugglestone Inn, a Dartmoor favourite and a 17th century Grade II listed building. With open fires and pretty gardens, real ales and organic wines, it’s a lovely spot whatever time of year you visit – look out for the roaming chickens!



A river full of boulders and surrounded by trees at Watersmeet in Devon

Best for: An appetite-building climb

• Distance: 5 miles (2.5 miles each way)

• Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous

• Starts/ends: Lyndale Cross car park

• Parking: As above

• Landmarks: The East Lyn River and Watersmeet

• Pub: The Crown

This impressive walk is a highlight when visiting north Devon. Starting where the East Lyn River meets the sea, the path follows the bank of the river all the way up to Watersmeet, so-called as it’s where the river meets Hoar Oak Water. Initially passing the grand Victorian riverside homes of Lynmouth, the path soon passes under the surrounding woodland, and at points, crosses over the river via pretty bridges - which are perfect for photos! 

As you climb slowly upwards, the river becomes faster with little waterfalls and hulking boulders where birds such as dippers bob about for food. It’s a steep climb upwards, passing the remains of an old mineral water factory that opened in 1911, and bottled water and ginger beer, before sadly closing in 1939. The terrain eventually flattens and the river gets broader, and at the point where the rivers meet there’s a lovely little tearoom that’s run by the National Trust. 

As this is where the route turns around, treat yourself to a cuppa and cake before retracing your steps back under the canopy of trees. At the end of the walk, why not take the unusual Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway (that’s actually cable cars powered by water and gravity) up 700 feet to picturesque Lynton, a lovely village and home to The Crown where you can rest weary feet and dine on true pub grub.


Budleigh Salterton to Otterton Mill

The white walled and thatched exterior of The Sir Walter Raleigh pub in Devon

Best for: Families with little ones

• Distance: 5 miles

• Difficulty: Easy to moderate

• Starts/ends: Lime Kiln car park

• Parking: As above

• Landmarks: River Otter, the village of Otterton and the working mill

• Pub: The Sir Walter Raleigh

This walk is a fantastic one for families with plenty to look at and explore as you go. Much of the route is on tarmac too, with the rest of the walk smooth and level, making it great for pushchairs. The walk joins the South West Coast Path in Budleigh Salterton as it meanders inland following the river and estuary. 

As a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), The Otter Estuary is a haven for summer and winter birds, such as oystercatchers, teal, sand martins and migratory ducks who are drawn to the teeming invertebrates who live in the salt marsh and low-lying meadows as well as the salmon and trout that live in the river. As you walk on, you’ll pass what was Otterton Park, an estate dating back to the mid-19th century, before arriving at the pretty village of Otterton with picturesque thatched cottages and a working mill that’s free to visit. 

The village was once a busy port with a successful wool trade, but today it’s a sleepy spot that’s worth taking time to explore, whether you fancy a paddle on the beach or a cream tea. Afterwards, take the path on the opposite side of the river back to Budleigh Salterton where you can pop into The Sir Walter Raleigh, an excellent, thatched community pub that offers classic pub grub as well as a specials menu for something a little different. Their Sunday lunches are the perfect accompaniment to any walk!


Ready to pull on your walking boots and work up an appetite? Take a look at our beautiful holiday cottages in Devon and start planning your getaway today.

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