10th July – Barnstaple to Challacombe

023 First sight of Exmoor
First sight of Exmoor

Tuesday 10th July

I had a slight timing issue today as I had arranged to meet my landlady for the evening at 4.00, at the pub in Challacombe.  Not wanting to be late, I left Barnstaple at 6.15 using my End to End Trail guide.  All was going well until I had to go down a footpath in the town between houses 74 & 73.  73 exists but 74 is a housing estate of flats and the alley is no longer there.  More delay as I found another way.
The first part of the route, once the town is left behind, was delightful going along a green lane above the River Yeo.
Emerging above Collard Bridge I was not inspired with confidence when the guide stated “It should be possible to follow the right of way once the trees have grown.”  As it was easy to nip down a country lane this is what I did. The author of the guide is obsessed with avoiding any roads and often proposes long and unnecessary detours.
Climbing out of the valley I was soon at Bratton Fleming and treated myself to a late breakfast.
024 The ford at Challacombe
The ford at Challacombe
Dropping down into the valley of the River Bray at Leeham Bridge I rose again to cross the watershed of the River Barle and arrived in Challacombe.
Small technical hitch. It was 11.45 and the pub had not yet opened!
025 Black Venus Inn
The Black Venus Inn – a great place for a 3-hour lunch break
It seemed churlish not to stay for a long and relaxed lunch and to rehydrate.  I eventually rang the B&B and got picked up.
Warren Farm is beautifully situated at around 400m on the edge of Exmoor. The farmer’s wife says that it was very different in the winter when there were 15 foot snowdrifts as they were lambing.
026 Warren Farm
Warren Farm

 

Tomorrow will be another short day as I only have to walk from Challacombe to the farm.  I could have easily reached here today but I have accommodation booked until Sunday which I cannot change.  A Catch 22 situation.

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