Walking The Exe Valley Way, Devon & Somerset
Luggage Transfers cover the Exe Valley Way route from Starcross to Exford. Established in 2009, we move over 36,000 bags each year for visitors walking and cycling throughout the South West.
Below, you’ll find more information about the route, a popular itinerary for The Exe Valley Way, as well as a link to our walker friendly accommodation for the entire route.
This is one of those paths less travelled as there are many others which seem to overshadow it. It gives the walker a chance to follow the River Exe upstream from its mouth at Starcross through the history of South Devon. This signposted route offers both road and path walking and has options to extend further once reaching its official end point of Exford. Whilst the route can be walked in either direction, many enjoy leaving the sea and the busy city of Exeter behind them to explore the more serene areas inland. The suggested itinerary below is based on accommodation in larger towns, but with Luggage Transfers flexibility you may just find one or two hidden gems off the beaten track.
Extension to The Exe Valley Way
Should you wish to reach the geographical source of the River Exe, you would need to return to Withypool and follow the Two Moors Way towards the north coast past Simonsbath (12 miles). Exe Head can be reached up on the moor. Exmoor can be wild and exceptionally beautiful at any time of the year, but spring and autumn shows it at its best as the flowers, gorse and heathland become a swathe of colours and scents, awash with insects, birds and butterflies. If possible, spend an evening out in the wilderness – there is no light pollution on Exmoor which is why it has Dark Sky status. Sit back and watch the Milky Way appear before you retire to bed and dream of the memories you have created on this walk.
Popular itinerary on the Exe Valley Way
The open estuary and river mouth at the coast are your starting point, however the official route begins at the Starcross ferry point and you walk upriver. This is a haven for bird watchers and mariners alike; gentle walking allows you to watch the boats, birds and local wildlife at its best as you stroll. Powderham Castle is a natural stopping point for some exploration of the history of the area before taking to the Exeter Canal towpath into the busy city.
You may choose to spend a day exploring Exeter as there is plenty to keep you occupied in this ancient city. If you decide to get on your way, a short visit to the Cathedral is a must before heading out of the bustling city into open fields and meadows. The route crosses the river several times with outstanding views of the valley, finally opening out into a wider and flatter walk around Brampford Speke with its interesting churchyard. End the day in the pretty village of Thorverton once a busy coaching point on the road between London and Cornwall.
Road walking starts the day, but as you head towards Bickleigh Castle you find yourself dropping back to the valley floor. The gardens at the castle are renowned within the local area, so you may wish to stop awhile to check them out. The route continues through woodlands until reaching the impressive town of Tiverton. Once a thriving trading post, the town boasts some impressive and historic architecture and another castle, built in the 11th century; history abounds within its walls.
The mileage is a little longer today, but this allows for ease of accommodation. Road walking and travelling through woods in the valley takes you further up the valley. The route can be shortened by stopping at Bampton at around 8 miles. If walking further, you are offered extensive views across wide open farmland as you enter Exmoor National Park. Dulverton lies between the rivers Barle and Exe and offers many shops and places to stop for the night.
Today you walk through a few pretty villages on Exmoor where you can decide to stop and explore the local area, stop overnight or push on to Exford. Options abound as you walk to Hawkridge; the Two Moors Way joins the Exe Valley Way offering a higher and lower route. The lower route crosses the river Barle at the picturesque and often photographed Tarr Steps, a clapper bridge spanning the 55-foot-wide river with large flat stones. Your next stop along the way is Withypool (9 miles), another picture-postcard village, with places to stop for refreshments. The last stop is Exford, unspoilt and peaceful. Your journey is complete.