This beautiful circular walk in Exmoor National Park visits Cow Castle using paths to Picked Stones. The return way follows Two Moors Way along River Barle and goes across gorgeous hills and valleys.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
Park your car at Ashcombe car park in Simonsbath.
(D/A) Head to the main road, turn right and cross over the road to the path in front of Exmoor Forest Inn.
(1) Follow "Public Bridleway, Picked Stones 2 1/2" until you join junction signposts where you bear left "Picked Stones 2". Ascend this path which leads to a gate. Go through this gate and enter the open field still following "Picked Stone".
(2) The bridleway goes across several fields, then goes past an old rusty building. Next to Winstitchen Farm, still follow the bridleway along hedges for one kilometre before you reach a descending track.
(3) Follow this track overlooking the valley, cross the bridge over White Water until the view opens to The Calf and Cow Castle! Continue on the track which leads to a large gate. Go through it, go past Pickedstones Farm following the blue arrow signpost "Bridleway, Withypool". Go up the small road for 250 metres before you bear right towards the metallic gate (Withypool 2 1/2 blue sign). Go straight ahead for 300m along the hedge, go through a gate and enter the moor. Go straight across the moor (can be very wet!) until you join Two Moors Way.
(4) Turn sharply right "Simonsbath via Cow Castle 4". This path goes slightly down before it levels close to River Barle. Then, you just need to enjoy the pretty flat way in preserved nature to go back to Simonsbath! You will cross a footbridge and go around Cow Castle and The Calf. Then, ignore the permitted alternative path still keeping the same bank to Simonsbath.
(5) At the last junction, go up to the right "Bridleway Simonsbath" leading to the main road and the car park.(D/A)
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 1112ft - Ashcombe car park in Simonsbath
1 : mi 0.2 - alt. 1073ft - Junction signposts
2 : mi 0.93 - alt. 1191ft - Rusty building
3 : mi 1.86 - alt. 1148ft - Descending track
4 : mi 3.83 - alt. 1250ft - Sharp right turn
5 : mi 7.56 - alt. 1063ft - Junction
D/A : mi 8 - alt. 1112ft - Ashcombe car park in Simonsbath
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
The final stage is a bit longer than the others but it is a pleasant walk without too many climbs. First of all, it retraces steps back to Withypool, then follows the River Barle to Simonsbath. From there it's over The Chains to meet the Tarka Trail and descend the Cheriton Ridge and along the East Lyn River to end up in Lynmouth.
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