My Walk from Landkey to Bishops Tawton

Old Coach Mounting Block

This is a walk from Landkey to Bishops Tawton, partly along the Tarka Trail.  The walk is approximately 4 miles long.  There are one or two steep hills and in some places the ground can be muddy so walking boots are recommended.  

The walk begins near Landkey Church where there are plenty of places to park a car. In the olden days the stagecoach from Barnstaple to Taunton (which apparently took 14 hours in 1820) passed through Landkey.  The coach was boarded outside the Feoffees Cottages where the mounting block can still be seen. The Landkey Feoffees was a trust formed in 1631 when a local benefactor gave some land and houses to the villagers of Landkey to help support the poor. 

In 1792 three of these cottages were renovated and turned into a public house called “The Ring of Bells”.  Sadly the pub closed its doors in the early 21st century and has now reverted back to cottages.

Stroll along the ancient cobbled causeway towards St Paul’s church.  The cottages on your right were the “Ring of Bells” pub.  The church is a very old building dating back to the 13th century.  There is a clock on the tower and the six bells were cast from a previous peal of four in 1788.  Walk through the churchyard and exit via the gate at the far end and make your way up Landkey Town hill.

At the top of the hill ignore the first turning on the left which would take you to Hill Farm and on to Venn.  Instead make your way to the next crossroads, known as Cradleman’s Cross.  To the right is the main road from Landkey to Barnstaple. Take the left hand turning which is signposted to Venn Quarries.   I have always known this lane as “Brinnams Lane” but I can find no mention of this on the map, so not sure where this name came from.

Cobbled causeway

Make your way up the hill.  As you descend down the other side towards Venn Cross there are lovely views of Codden Hill in the distance.   You should be able to see the monument on the top of Codden Hill. 

It was erected by the late Jeremy Thorpe, leader of the Liberal Party and MP for North Devon, in memory of his wife Caroline who died in a car crash in 1970.

Codden Hill

View of Tawstock Court

At the crossroads go straight across and along the lane until you come to Windy Ash Cross. 

Here there are beautiful views of Bishops Tawton and Tawstock Court in the distance.

Take the road signposted to Bishops Tawton and descend a steep hill.  Towards the bottom of the hill take a left turn into Easter Street and continue along this lane until you reach a picturesque stone bridge at the bottom.

Cross the bridge and proceed up the hill and take the left hand turning along Sentry Lane towards the Tarka Trail and Landkey.  Make your way up the hill until you come to a metal gateway on the left which takes you onto the Tarka Trail.

Bridge near Easter Street

From here you need to cross three fields until you come to a wooden gate which leads you over a small footbridge.  Walk along the path and into Venn woods.

This is a pleasant part of the walk through peaceful woodlands, where squirrels are often seen darting up the trees.  At length you will come to a footbridge over the Venn stream.

Footpath into Venn Woods

After a short distance the path will bring you out onto a lane.  Turn left towards Venn. 

After a short distance you will see two boulders on your right.  This marks a footpath to Shebbear Pond which was once one of two quarries in the area.  At the time of writing the footpath to the pond was still open to the public, though signs have recently been erected to advise that the area is being developed and use of the path will no longer be permitted.  This seems such a shame for local people who have enjoyed this beauty spot for centuries. If you wish to take a detour and explore the area around Shebbear pond you will also see the remains of lime kilns dating back to the early 18th century, tumble down brickwork and a chimney stack. 

The entrance to Shebbear Pond

However, to continue the walk, ignore the track to Shebbear and proceed along the lane and over the bridge.

After a short distance, a public right of way will be seen on the right which will take you back to Landkey.  Again this is a pleasant walk through woodlands.  You will pass a boggy area where in spring, primroses, king cups and wild garlic (stinking lilies) grow beneath the alder trees.

Landkey Church

Follow the path until it brings you out on Landkey Town hill and opposite the churchyard that you left earlier.  Re-enter the churchyard and return to the start of the walk.


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