The Tarka Trail is a wonderful route for nature lovers. While walking or cycling you will experience many wildlife habitats including estuary mudflats and salt marshes, oak woodland, hazel coppice, hedges, ponds, streams, ditches and meadows.
This route offers you superb views across the mouth of the Taw Estuary and features several wonderful sculptures and shelters created specially for the route. Along the route you will find beautifully designed benches and shelters by Katy Hallett, Ben May, John Butler, Geoff Stainthorp and Paul Anderson. These make the perfect place to rest and enjoy your surroundings.
Beginning in the pretty village of Braunton, the route is incredibly easy to follow. It's also flat and traffic-free, making it perfect for families.
Your journey will continue along the banks of the River Taw, passing through Chivenor and crossing the tributary river Yeo on the new swing bridge at Barnstaple. A detour into Barnstaple town centre, where you can take in the Pannier Market and the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon, is worthwhile.
The route then takes you up the Torridge Estuary, passing Instow and Bideford. These are great places to stop off for refreshments as they have lots of cafes and restaurants.
Do not miss the Puffing Billy, a relaxed pub at the former Torrington railway station. It is right on the Tarka Trail and the restored waiting room serves as the restaurant. There is also a goods brake van, coal truck and buffet carriage on a restored stretch of track.
You can either leave the Tarka Trail on the line of the old tramway route and finish in the beautiful town of Great Torrington or continue on the route across the river on the railway to where the path currently ends at Meeth.
We have taken all responsible steps to ensure that these routes are safe and achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness. However, all outdoor activities involve a degree of risk. To the extent permitted by law, Sustrans accepts no responsibility for any accidents or injury resulting from following these routes. Walking and cycling routes change over time. Weather conditions may also affect path surfaces. Please use your own judgement when using the routes based upon the weather and the ability, experience and confidence levels of those in your group.
To make sure everyone gets the most out of their time by the water, please ensure you follow the Towpath Code.