We have enjoyed some fab family-friendly walks this winter and I thought that would be worth a share. It can be hard to find a decent walk that works for everyone in the family; manageable for the littlest of legs but also enough of a challenge for longer legs! Sometimes you want something short and simple, other times more of an adventure. It can also help to have good parking and facilities so hopefully the walks below cover a good range. All completed and approved by the ‘Wild Ones’, Henry and Ralph. Ralph is only just 5 so if his legs can cope, I promise they are do-able. We just have to remember the snacks!!!!
Bellever Forest and Tor
This is one of our favourite walks on Dartmoor. It is a beautiful area with lots of different terrain for the children to explore, plus it has easy parking, and, depending on where you park, toilets and tourist information. We have done this walk from different starting points. You can park at Postbridge and walk from there, park in the Forestry car park itself, and head straight on to the gravel path up through to the forest to the tor, or pull in to off road parking near Bellever Moor and Meadows, which then leads up to the forest and Tor. This was what we chose to do last time we visited, and it was beautiful
The walk started through moorland and meadows and then headed through the trees and up to the Tor (you could decide not to head all the way up to the Tor if you didn’t want to, and remain in the wooded area before looping back). The Tor is stunning, with incredible views. It is a relatively gentle incline. Longer than some, but less steep, which we find works well. Brilliant rocks to explore at the top and perfect places for a picnic/refuel!
You can then loop back down the hill and through the meadows to your car. We also headed to the river from there, which is a great location for a walk as it is largely flat. There are also some fab spots to play in the water (when warm enough!)
Location – Bellever Forest, Postbridge, Yelverton, Devon, PL20 6TU
Topsham Goat Walk
This is a bit of a regular for us! A fairly flat walk, which loops around Topsham and takes you through both the town itself and out to the water and nature reserve. It is perfect with children as there is plenty to see, it can be done with pushchairs and scooters, and there are toilets, shops and cafes nearby if needed. We love Topsham; some parts of it still feel like you are stepping back in time, and the views are beautiful.
We try to park near the train line and nature reserve and start the loop from there (not far from Darts Farm and the Bridge Inn, on Bowling Green Road). Alternatively you can park anywhere in Topsham and start the loop in a number of places. We walk down towards the nature reserve and along ‘Bowling Green Road’, following this all the way to the water where you then walk along the ‘Goat Walk’. There are benches to sit on and sometimes space to play on the ‘beach’ when the tide is low. From here you get to walk along the strand and enjoy the lovey dutch style houses either side. Once back in Topsham you can explore and stop for food and drinks, or walk along ‘Monmouth Street’ (another gorgeous street) and back to the start of the walk.
We love visiting Knightshayes in all seasons; it is beautiful at Christmas and a great place to visit Father Christmas. It is also lovely in the summer for picnics and rolling down hills! We’ve enjoyed it in the autumn and winter this year. We recently discovered a great family and dog friendly walk, which is a great loop around the estate taking in a stop at the cafe and shop – and indeed the house itself – if you wish.
We parked at the front car park which is just on your left as you enter the estate/start the long driveway. It is free for members or £1 for non members I believe. The walk starts here and passes through parkland (with some amazing opportunities for tree climbing and stream splashing!) heading up to the old stables and the cafe. From here you head through woodland at the back and right round to the front of the estate and through fields of sheep. The views are beautiful, and we found it to be a great walk for all the family, from 5 years old through to 68! Perfect for dogs as well.
Location – you can find all the details of the walk here.
This is great walk, close to Exeter and perfect for those times when you just have an hour or two, or want to spend just a morning or afternoon out. We try to park at one of the off-road pull ins up at Mamhead, not too far from the Mamhead Sensory Trail (which is also a great looped walk with kids). The area is called ‘Kenton Common’ and from here you can take a number of trails, all flat and perfect for kids. We aim to do a bit of a loop along paths and with plenty of trees to explore! Last time we were there we found snow which was a major bonus for the little ones.
This was a totally new area for us, which we found due to our lovely friends who live nearby. A woodland owned by the National Trust, and on the border of Dartmoor National Park, it is a great place for a woodland walk. There are lots of paths to explore, a rope swing, plenty of opportunities to climb, and great views. You need to head to Bovey Tracey and then essentially straight up from there! There were some inclines in places, but easily managed by our 5 year old. We went off the beaten track to an extent as we were with friends who knew the woods, but there were also some clear paths to follow.
You can find the location and further details here.