Climb the hill to Torrington and reward yourself with a coffee at the Plough Arts Centre or perhaps a cake from our favourite bakery, Sandford’s in the square...
This is a pretty gentle stroll, though with a hill to climb on long well-made paths.
You can do this walk from the stagecoach 5B bus or by car. If taking the bus, catch it in Winkleigh (you can bike to the bus stop, which is about one and a half miles from your accommodation and there are four or five buses a day, check traveline for the latest timetables). Ask the bus driver to let you off at the bottom of the hill past Rosemoor, just before Torrington. If going by car, park at the junction of the A386 and the A3124 in the layby just on the corner.
Mini adventure for some…
Sometimes we’ve dropped kids at the bottom of the hill and taken anyone who doesn’t want the climb to meet them at the top.
You take the path along by the River Torridge. In a minute or so you’re away from the noise of the road and walking along a wide path by the river. Or you can dip down to the river bank itself. The path leads right along the river valley to the far side of Torrington, then there’s a switch back turn taking you back up the hill. The sign at the bottom says Millennium Path, and you just keep on it until you reach the town at the top. By the time you reach the top you’ll have gained some height, but don’t worry, the gradient is fairly gentle all the way as you’re not going straight up. The path comes out among trees and benches and there are amazing views across – see the long thin field strips at the old leper colony at Taddiport. You’re also at the edge of one of the town’s car parks.
Just across the car park you’ll find the Torrington Pannier Market. Lots of little boutique shops, including an old fashioned sweet shop with the jars.
Or go right through the market and out the other side into the town square, where you’ll find colourful greengrocers shops, a cake shop, the Plough Arts Centre Cafe just around the corner, and Sandford’s bakery where we always have to stop for a cake. Often we’ll take this to eat on those benches mentioned previously, overlooking the valley.
When you’re finished exploring Torrington, head back through the Pannier Market to the escarpment, but this time turn left and take George’s Path back down the hill, past the monument.
When you come close to the road just head down alongside the stream and you’ll find yourself back on the riverside path where you began – and close to your start point.
Alternatively, you can catch the bus back from Torrington. From the main square take the path to the church, go through the churchyard, and the bus stop is on the road on the other side. You’ll want to cross over for the bus back to Winkleigh.
This walk works well with other activities near Torrington. The Plough Arts Centre often has films, music and workshops, there’s a pottery studio at Little Torrington, there are lots of other walks around Torrington Commons, there’s RHS Rosemoor just before you get to Torrington, and the Tarka Trail walks and rides from the Puffing Billy – to Bideford or to East Yarde. There’s also a swimming pool in Torrington.