Starts/Finishes: Sowton Village, EX5 2AE.
(GR: SX 97807 92784)
Time: 1 hour
Distance: 2 miles
Terrain: Field footpaths, quiet lanes, farm gates to step over
Parking: Limited parking in layby on left as you enter village
Clyst Valley Ramble
Discover a lesser travelled area of countryside, hidden in plain sight in the Clyst Valley.
Start in Sowton Village, from the limited parking area on the left along the roadside – just as you enter the village, past the traffic calming measures and the first farm on the left.
(1) From here, face back down the lane the way you came, and you’ll see two public footpath signs going right and left. Take the signposted path to the right, keeping to the left of the fence as instructed.
Head through the gates and over the leat, before continuing on the track through the field to another bridge over the River Clyst. (2) I was lucky enough to spot a red admiral butterfly perched on the bridge next to the wildflowers.
Continue ahead along the well-trodden path through a break in the hedgerow and then keep the hedge on your left as you walk through the next field. (1) (3) Continue further through another gate and follow the signposted path around to the right along the left edge of the field, listening to birdsong and taking in the Devon countryside as you stride.
Eventually you’ll come up to another footpath marked gate on your left. (4) Go through this and down the farm track, later passing the farm building and emerging onto Bishop’s Court Lane.
Turn right and follow this lane for approximately 300 yards (being careful of any traffic), until you pass Exeter Dog Field on your left. You can prebook your four-legged friends off-lead experience here online.
(5) Shortly after, take the public footpath on your right, through the gate and continuing through the large open field. Say hello to any grazing sheep as you head straight to meet the fence coming in from the left, and get up close to the fallen giants that appear to have come down in recent storms and been left to climb and explore.
(6) Follow the path along the fence until you reach a gate. Once through, you’ll enter a wooded section and a long, straight path crossing back over the River Clyst and taking you back to Sowton Village.
(7) From here you can turn right and walk 100 yards to get back to the car. Otherwise, go straight to walk up Sowton Lane for 300 yards before turning right and following the public footpath sign. (8) This last stretch takes you up onto a hill giving you some sight over the valley, and a chance to meet some inquisitive cows before returning you back to your starting point.
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