First, and most importantly, a huge thank you to everyone involved in creating and maintaining this superb trail: we loved it! We are a ‘mature’ , retired Mid Devon couple wanting to traverse this special county of ours. We went for the pub crawl option, spread over 8 days, stopping at Ivybridge (Sportsmans Inn), Scoriton (Tradesman’s Arms), Widecombe (Higher Venton Farm B&B, 5 star!), Chagford (Ring O’ Bells , Lapford (Old Malt Scoop Inn, another 5 star!), nr West Anstey (Jubilee Inn), Withypool (Old School House AirBnB), Lynmouth (Riverside Cottage B&B). We arranged the overnight stays ourselves about 6 weeks in advance. For navigation purposes we used Sue Viccars ‘excellent guide (thank you!), the OS phone app and Explorer maps of the two moors which were more than adequate. We carried our gear in 20ltr and 30 ltr rucksacks (rain covers essential). We did have a change of clothes from friends after day 4 but would have been fine with travel wash.
Possibly helpful tips for others:
1. Just do it !
2. Our Ivybridge to Scoriton day was during a period of very heavy rain on Dartmoor. We were on the the high route but found all the rivers in spate. The clapper bridge over the Avon (p75 of Sue’s guide) was completely submerged. In the unlikely event of this being the case for others, then you can find a track of sorts (very rough, wet and slow going!) on the upper side of the Avon valley which will take you to the dam. There is a bridge over the river about half a mile below the dam and from there the Abbots Way and lanes will get you to Scoriton. Particularly unlucky to find the Huntingdon Warren clapper bridge underwater at this time of year… will make a note for the next edition of the guidebook.
3. There are currently works on the Exeter/Okehampton railway line on the section towards Morchard Road due to last until October. The signage is confusing and suggests that the path is blocked. We ignored this, as others before us had clearly done, and were able to cross the line easily enough by moving the barriers a bit. It’s been recently confirmed that the works will continue until October.
4. We wanted an overnight stay around Morchard Road. We decided to opt for the Old Malt Scoop Inn at Lapford and took the 4-minute , one-stop, train on the Tarka Line to get there (times at end of day, and for return next morning, are good). This was our best pub stop and we learnt subsequently that the landlord will collect from Morchard Road on request.
5. We hadn’t pre-booked evening meals in Withypool or Lynmouth. Mistake ! Both places were busy and a combination of that, plus Covid and staff shortages meant that evening tables were hard to find.
Many thanks for this positive and extremely useful review. SV