Devon Country Walks - 5

Templer at The Teign - The Templer Way around Newton Abbot

This walk follows a section of the Templer Way through Newton Abbot and along a length of the Teign Estuary It then follows one of the "South of the Teign Estuary" Walks, a series of walks set up by Teignbridge District Council to complement the Templer Way. The Templer Way is waymarked by brown signs depicting a wheel and rudder. Much of the South of the Teign circuit is also waymarked by a green disc.


Walk Length: 12 km / 7.5 miles; 8 stiles, a climb of 80 m / 250 feet. The walk is based on Newton Abbot, readily accessible by bus to and from Exeter and South Devon. It is also on the national rail network. There are occasional buses between Newton Abbot and Combeinteignhead.

Facilities: Newton Abbot has all facilities; Combe Cellars pub; Combeinteignhead has a pub.

OS maps:

Explorer (1:25,000 scale) - No. 110 Torquay and Dawlish
Landranger (150,000 scale) - No.202 Torbay and South Dartmoor.

NOTE: Part of the estuary-side section of the Templer Way is tidal and cannot be walked at high tide. Aim to walk this part of the route within two hours of low tide (see local press or visit ). Beware of deep mud and keep to the top edge of the foreshore, which itself may be slippery.

For further information on the Tarka Trail and the South West Coast Path, click here. To order books and leaflets on Devon paths and trails, click here.

Start the walk in Newton Abbot at the jetty Marsh roundabout, also known as Balls Corner. This is opposite the B & Q Store at the junction of The Avenue and Kingsteignton Road. Take the path next to the National Tyre depot through a metal gate, signed with a brown Templer Way signpost. Follow the main path as it bears away from the Whitelake to a concrete and metal footbridge over another watercourse. This is the River Lemon, a major tributary of the River Teign, which it joins by the railway bridges ahead.

Cross the footbridge and follow the path alongside the River Lemon and under the railway bridge to the Town Quay, where the River Lemon joins the River Teign. This was the main quay for Newton Abbot and, until the 19th century, was the main means of getting goods to and from the town. At the far end of the quay go right, then take the first road on the left, through a small industrial estate. Towards the end of the road, fork left along the public footpath with the Templer Way sign. This path leads back to the River Teign and a footbridge over another tributary, the Aller Brook. The Aller Brook is a nature reserve, forming a green wedge into Newton Abbot. The information board by the bridge indicates what might be seen here.

Cross the footbridge and continue along the Templer Way on the riverside path. There are extensive reed beds flanking this part of the estuary. These form a valuable habitat for wildlife. Keep on the Templer Way as it passes under the bridge carrying the Newton Abbot by-pass. Follow the path as it joins the estuary foreshore. Be careful - from here, the path is tidal. The buildings on the opposite side of the river are part of the Passage House Inn complex. Notice how quickly the estuary has widened out here. Continue ahead, parallel to the estuary.

The outline of Teignmouth is now visible at the mouth of the river. The village on the opposite bank from here is Bishopsteignton. The path rounds a bay in the estuary shore, crosses a flood wall, then passes around a wooded headland. This Is Netherton Point. There is a large heronry in the private woods here, and herons are often seen on the estuary. Looking back, there is a good view of Haytor, the start of the Templer Way.

Continue along the foreshore and go around another small bay and headland to pass some waterside cottages. Immediately beyond, you will see the Coombe Cellars Inn. This location was renowned for smuggling in the early 19th century, its remote location at that time making it ideal. There's a Templer Way information board just past the pub. The walk leaves the Templer Way at this point to join the "South of the Teign Estuary" Circular. Retrace your steps back along the flood wall to the stile at the far end next to the public footpath sign and green waymark. Cross the stile, then follow the path which crosses the field diagonally to the far top corner.

Go through the gap and walk along the top of the next field to the end. Cross the stile and follow the track to a gate into a lane. Turn left along the lane. This soon leads to a junction. To the left, about 0.5 km/0.3 mile, is the village of Combeinteignhead, with its pub and occasional buses. Continue ahead past the houses at Cross Park to a larger road. Carefully cross this road and immediately turn left, up Ridge Road.

A short distance up here, look out for the green waymark, pointing along a hedged track on the right. Follow the track until it eventually arrives at a lane. This area south of the Teign estuary is criss-crossed by a number of these tracks, all of them old roads, making it an ideal way of exploring this attractive, hilly terrain which is known as Teigrihead. Cross the lane and follow the path along the field edge ahead. At the top of the field, cross the stile in the corner, then continue up the next field edge to a double stile at the top. Climb the next field to yet another stile.

Keep climbing and there is another stile again, on the right near the top. Cross this. Take the opportunity for a breather here and look back over the landscape behind. One of Teignhead's many valleys is laid out, culminating in Haccombe House at its head. Follow the obvious track over another stile to a lane. Go ahead on this for about 100 metres, then turn right along a signed public bridleway. Where this forks, go right. onto another of Teignhead's old hedged tracks. The track descends, steeply at times, until it becomes surfaced near some old cottages. These attractive cob and thatch cottages probably date back to the mid 17th century.

Continue to join another lane. Keep ahead, then at the bottom turn right for a short distance. Carefully cross the road and go through the gate by a footpath sign with a green waymark. Cross the footbridge and continue ahead on the slightly raised embankment. Cross the stone bridge, then go on past the telegraph pole towards the cottage. Go through the gate, past the cottage and left on to the lane. Continue on the lane ahead. The lane then climbs steadily to a sharp left turn, with a track going right. Turn right down the track.

This was once the main access to the early ferry and ford crossing to the Passage House Inn over the river. The track ends at the foreshore. Turn left and follow the Templer Way back to Newton Abbot, reversing the outward leg of the walk.


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