Tarka Trail Coast

South West

The Tarka Trail is a 180 mile recreational route, named after the Henry Williamson novel, Tarka the Otter, which follows Tarka’s journey through northern Devon. The route encompasses parts of both the South West Coast Path National Trail and the Two Moors Way, as well as unique sections in its own right and includes a branch rail line link to enable a ‘figure-of-eight’ exploration of some of Devon’s most varied and stunning landscapes - from deep combes and rich wooded river valleys, to rugged moorland, sandy bays, weathered cliffs, and the dramatic sweep of the Taw/Torridge estuary.

A 32 mile section from Braunton to Meeth is on disused railway lines which now forms a ‘multi-use trail’. With easy gradients, this section is shared by cyclists, walkers, runners, dog walkers and wheelchair users on a daily basis and is part of the National Cycle Network (NCN27) - the Devon ‘Coast to Coast’ route. This portion of the Tarka Trail is referred to as the ‘Multi-Use Trail’ in this Plan; reference to the Tarka Trail alone refers to the entire 180 mile walking route.  Horse riding is allowed on the Multi-Use Trail on a 7 mile section between Great Torrington and Petrockstowe. The Tarka Trail is part of the Devon Strategic Recreational Route Network.

The Tarka Trail is a popular attraction amongst visitors and residents with an estimated 1 million users per annum, providing car-free options to view and experience many of the area’s most impressive landscapes and historic communities. Along the route of the former railway lines, much of the heritage remains, including station buildings, platforms, impressive viaducts and wayside signs.

Contact Details:

Sally Nelson
North Devon Council, Brynsworthy Environment Centre, Roundswell, EX31 3NP
01271 388418  sally.nelson@northdevon.gov.uk

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