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Heddon's Mouth & Heddon Valley Nature Trail

  • Address: Parracombe, Barnstaple
  • Postcode: EX31 4PY
  • Telephone: 01598 763402
  • About:

    Walk 2.3 miles
    Difficulty – easy/medium (some mild rock clambering)

    We spent a lovely couple of hours taking a walk down to Heddon's Mouth, starting off from The Hunters Inn. It was quite a popular spot, but there was plenty of parking in a nearby field. The whole family came along including granddad and our 9 year old son.

    The walk took us through the valley and along the river that leads eventually to the sea. The woodland is dense in places, but the paths are clear and here and there the sunlight broke through the trees above. The river was quite high so we crossed the bridge (after playing pooh sticks) to get across to the footpath. A friendly walker told us that the river was too high further down, to get across to the beach. (If the river is not flowing quite so strongly, perhaps during the summer months, it would be possible to cross).

    The trees start to thin out in the last mile, as you approach the sea, and the steep sided valley widens out onto a rocky beach. The rocks are wonderfully smooth where they have been worn down from centuries of the tumbling river.

    We sat and ate our sandwiches and spent a happy hour building dams and trying to divert the flow of the "break away" streams from the main torrent. (NB there are no facilities on the beach, it is wonderfully unspoiled).

    There were even a few rock sculptures and we had a competition to see how many of the smooth flat rocks we could stack into a tower.

    Because of the walk through the forest, it feels as though you are discovering a secret place and the impressive view is quite a prize to behold.

    We made our way back up through the woods towards the Hunters Inn and sat in the sun outside to enjoy a well-earned drink. We were greeted by the resident peacock shouting out at everyone from the balcony of the inn and before leaving, we treated ourselves to an ice cream from the nearby shop. All in all, a lovely time was had by all.

    For smartphone users, The Hunter's Inn/Heddons Mouth is described on www.everytrail.com with accompanying photographs and a description of the walk.