Barnstaple to Putsborough

26/7/14 A drive to the light industrial estate just over the large Taw Bridge enabled us to walk straight on to the Tarka Trail/SWCP. The going was flat and straight alongside the river and we soon arrived at Braunton Inn.

Some staff were arranging the garden furniture, so we asked if they we're open. Not until 11:30 came the reply. So we carried on. The old railway line heads inland past the Chivenor military bases until eventually reaching Braunton. Before actually getting into the town, we were diverted off towards the burrows.

The tide was out on the river Caen and, much like the burrows on the other side of the Taw, this area makes for interesting walking. There is an interesting cross-section of wildlife too.

The path goes along the flood defences for a few miles until reaching the sand dunes. We were expecting things to get a bit sandy, but the path follows an old, stony, military track instead. It was a hot day. I was expecting us to have seen a shop by now. Luckily, one of the car parks' attendants was selling bottled water. After crossing the golf course, we were given an option of walking along a busy road or heading inland "avoiding local amenities". We naturally went to see if the amenities included a pub. A soft drink and chocolate bar later, we climbed our first hill of the day.

After another walk along the road, we arrived in Croyde. The beach was busy and we must been quite conspicuous amongst the scantily clad holiday makers. On leaving the beach we could have waited for a bus back to the car. But, we had made good time and decided to go on around Baggy Point.

Coming out above the beach at Putsborough, we decide to head back along the road to Croyde. A refreshing cider and nice pasty later, we caught the bus back to the car. Then we returned to the surprisingly pleasant Braunton Inn for pints of Otter Ale (4.5%) and Tribute (4.2%) for £6.70.

Bideford to Barnstaple

22/7/14 Busy weekends meant that we had to do another midweek trip. My daughter kindly dropped us at South Molton where we could get a £3.60 North Devon bus ticket for the day. Before we started the walk, we had to return to Appledore.

The Royal George was shut on our last visit. I'm fairly sure that we were the first visitors on this day. It took us about ten minutes to get served and then the only ale went off. So it was pints of Liquid Sunshine (3.9%) and Poundhouse cider (6%) for £7.20 before the bus back to Bideford.

The Kings Arms appeared to be the only pub still trading along Bideford's Quay. We had two nice pints of Atlantic (4.2%) and Devon Dympsy (4%) for a reasonable £5.80. This was easily the best beer of the whole day. Then it was over the Torridge to the old railway station and off along the Tarka Trail. This is the old railway line, now tarmacked over and shared with cyclists. We headed back down the estuary.

We passed Appledore Shipyard and after we came through Instow Station, turned off the track and headed along the front.

The Bar had been advertising itself along the path as a quayside pub, so we felt obliged to go in. Pints of Doom Bar (4%) and Atlantic (4.2%) for £6.90 were quaffed, but we were still undecided whether it is a bar/restuarant or a pub.

The Instow Arms is just a few hundred yards further on. We had pints of Silver Stallion (4.3%) and Clearwater's Honey Beer (3.7%) for £7.20 in what also felt like an eatery.

Soon we were walking along the road beside the nice looking beach at Instow. This gave way to some dunes before the path skirted around the splendid cricket ground. We then followed the river before returning to the Tarka Trail. The next few miles are flat, straight and relatively boring. On reaching the outskirts of Barnstaple, the usual big town confusion meant that we followed the acorn sign over the new bridge. Once across the river, the signs pointed in both directions along the Taw. We followed them back to the town centre and the bus to South Molton.