Starts/Finishes: Combe Wood Layby, Clapper Lane, Honiton (GR: ST162017)
Terrain: Woodland trails – can be quite muddy!
Distance: 0.7 miles
Time: 45mins – 1 hour
Parking: Limited parking in a layby just opposite the entrance of the woods
Combe Wood Circular Walk
Just outside of Honiton lies a secluded, 10-acre area of National Trust woodland where, in the spring and summer months particularly, you can lose yourself in ultimate tranquillity and forget you’re merely five minutes from the A30!
May is probably the best month to visit Combe Wood. Known to some as ‘Bluebell Woods,’ you’ll be amazed by the sheer volume of bluebells that carpet the woodland floor for as far as you can see.
As you approach Combe Wood from Honiton, via Clapper Lane, you’ll drive under the A30 bridge, over the river Otter and then steadily climb uphill towards the woodland where the gated entrance to Combe Wood will be signposted on your left. Opposite here you will find a layby with limited parking.
Enter the woods through this gate and make your way steadily uphill into the trees. (1) At the crossroads, turn to the right and follow the path keeping the road to your right. As you continue on this path you’ll start to sweep down through the trees.
(2) Continue towards the steps ahead – these are fairly steep but fortunately there aren’t many to worry about! Carry on straight ahead on this path passing fallen trees amongst the undergrowth.
The path will then sweep around to the left as you get to the perimeter of the woods. (3) Here you will keep the open fields to your right as you’re at roughly the highest point of the woodland walk. Silver birches and luscious ferns adorn this section and you will enjoy seeing the sun flitter in and out of the trees.
(4) You will then come to a channel which you will need to cross – certainly not wheelchair or buggy friendly here – but there are ways around this if you cut further into the woods. Keeping the fields on the right you’ll continue on the path as it turns left. (5) After a short while you’ll come to a fork – here you can take a detour to the right through the recently felled trees to get a beautiful view back across Honiton and beyond. Walk this route at sunset to see the town lit up with a fiery, orange glow.
(6) Otherwise, take the left path at the fork and continue down through the woods to the left side of the channel, still keeping the fields to the right. Look out for the wild primroses that grow in bunches throughout the woods, adding an extra splash of colour amongst the bluebells.
You’ll pass a pond on your right, which the channel feeds into, as you get towards the lower part of the woods. Keep your eyes out for pond skaters and other wildlife here.
The path will curve around to the left again and you will reach a fork as you start to climb uphill again. (7) Take the right fork closest to the road to meander through the trees (it’s less muddy too) and make a steady climb towards the path from which you entered the woods to complete your walk.
See more like this
This manageable there and back route offers easy walking and wheeling along the eastern side of the reservoir and to the dams, plus additional access to the wildlife trail in the Burrator Arboretum