Starts/Finishes: Core Copse Parking, East Hill Strips (GR: SY126949). What3Words – status.undertook.fancied
Distance: 1.5 – 2.2 miles
Time: 1 – 1.5 hours
Terrain: Hard-packed woodland fire roads. Can be muddy after rainfall.
Parking: Ample free parking.
Core Copse Circular Walk
Venture out to East Hill Strips – a long, narrow ridge that divides the Sid Valley from the Otter Valley. This wooded hill towers over the many towns and villages across East Devon, serving as a useful reference point for navigation and provides amazing views for walkers who visit.
While there is evidence of prehistoric occupation thanks to burial mounds that can be found in the area, today, large parts of the hill, like Core Copse, are now under management by Forestry England allowing for its plantations to be sustainably grown and harvested for timber.
Core Copse – situated halfway along the ridge from the Chineway Hill entrance – benefits from a variety of conifer and mixed deciduous trees, including gorgeous Douglas Fir, Grand Fir and Japanese Larch. Its’ well defined, hard-packed paths make it suitable for walkers, buggies and bicycles too, although some sections can get muddy in winter.
From the parking area, continue along the fire road away from the tarmac road and steadily downhill, admiring sheep and lamb in the field to your right.
You will reach the Core Copse signage and a fork where the fire road continues or a gated fire road to the right. (1) Take the route to the right going downhill and admire these giant conifer trees towering up into the sky while enjoying a soundtrack supplied by a variety of birds.
As you near the bottom, (2) the path will take a harpin turn back on itself to the right, before turning left across a waterway. (3) Continue over and stay on this fire road path as you begin a moderate climb back up the other side of this woodland scar.
At the top, the path curves around to the right and presents you with a fork. (4) Take the left path and follow it alongside a wooden fence and more conifer trees. Look out through the trees to the left to enjoy views down the Sid Valley.
Continue around to the right (5) and follow the track steadily uphill again. (6) Later, at a crossroads you will simply carry straight on ahead. The landscape will open up here as the trees thin and you will soon find yourself at a gate and more Core Copse signage. (7) Go through the gate and follow the track along the short distance back to the road. From here, it’s a few hundred yards along the road to your right to where you began.
Those looking to extend the walk can continue straight ahead to take a shot but strenuous additional loop offering stunning views across Ottery St. Mary and beyond.
Simply follow the path, (8) turning or keeping right at all junctions as you descend significantly and then take a final steep climb (9) back up to the starting point.
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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