Starts/Finishes: Tedburn St Mary Post Office Car Park (GR: SX813943)
Distance: 4.5 miles or approx. miles
Time: 1-3 hours
Terrain: Farm tracks, lanes and grassy field paths
Parking: Free parking available
Black Alder Wood Circular Walks
This month’s walk uses the charming village of Tedburn St. Mary as a base. Parking is available in the day in the car park near the post office. In the village you can stock up on delicious homemade savouries before your walk from the village shop or, alternatively, you can drop into the picturesque early 17th century King’s Arms pub or the Red Lion Inn on your return for a well-earned drink and/or meal.
The full walk is 4.5 miles with a couple of steep strenuous climbs, but a much easier route is available at just under 2 miles which avoids most of the climbing.
From the car park, head back into the village and turn left. Continue to the roundabout and take the first exit to continue down Six Mile Hill and over the bridge. Turn left onto Lillybrook Lane signposted public footpath.
Those looking to take the short route will go straight on at the next junction and continue on this lane until you reach a farm and turn left back to pick back up on the main route.
Otherwise, take the right turn for your first climb and follow the lane until you reach a quaint smallholding which you will need to pass through. Be mindful of closing the gates and respectful of the landowners here. As I walked through I met inquisitive geese, fluffy alpacas, sheep, turkeys, peacocks and a friendly dalmatian. Who needs a trip to the zoo?!
Once out of the gate at the other side, take the track to the left until you reach the Old Spicery. Go through here following the bridleway signs until you’re on the path inside the field going downhill to a brook.
From here is a long, steep climb up a farm track. You will eventually reach Oldridge Road at Tomhead Cross marking the top of the hill. Have a breather and enjoy the stunning views!
Take the left dusty track downhill through a gate and into a pretty woodland copse filled with wildflowers and birdsong. Which birds can you identify?
You will soon see views out towards Okehampton flitting through the trees as they thin and you reach the entrance to a field. Continue through the field keeping the woodland on your right and head for the track opening back into the woods and continue on.
Turn left through two gates, and follow the path with the Lily Brook on your right. This would be a nice picnic spot if you’ve brought one! Otherwise, continue along this peaceful path until you reach a farm (where the short route also meets).
From here, both routes head west following the public footpath sign along through the gate and along the track, past a farm and around to the right onto Frankford Lane. Turn left to follow the lane back to Tedburn St Mary and where you started.