Walk 2901 - printer friendly version
Castle Drogo & Sharp Tor from Fingle Bridge Walk
Author - John Coombes
Length - 3.8 miles / 6.1 km
Ascent - 800 feet / 242 metres
Grade - easy
Start - OS grid reference SX743900
Lat 50.696023 + Long -3.7811381
Postcode EX6 6PW (approx. location only)
With a choice of routes this walk gives the whole family a chance to enjoy Castle Drogo, the River Tiegn or a spectacular scenic view down the Teign Gorge. The start can be reached from Exeter or Okehampton using the A30 and turning off at Whiddon Down and following the signpost to Drewsteignton. It is however also possible to reach Castle Drogo via the scenic route from Mortonhampstead on the A382 but this can be very narrow in places care must be taken.
Castle Drogo was built between 1911 and 1931. The castle is positioned at the height of nearly 300 metres overlooking the Teign Gorge in the Dartmoor national park. Because of its position, the castle can have problem with extreme weather conditions so take care and be prepared with the appropriate clothing and footwear. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens for the retail millionaire of the day Juilus Drewe, it was constructed from Dartmoor granite and gives the impression of being a medieval castle. However the interior is just like a country manor house. Set in a 12 acre garden that complements the architecture of the castle but also lets the moor move into the more formal areas. The castle is positioned at the height of nearly 300 metres over looking the Teign Gorge set in the Dartmoor national park. Because of the height of the castle and position it can have the problem of extreme weather conditions so take care and be prepared with the appropriate clothing and footwear.
The start of the walk is the public car park just off the road next to the Fingle Bridge Inn "patron only" car park (Grid ref. SX 743900). After parking down the lane to the narrow Fingle Bridge. From here you have the choice of walking on either side of the river. The north bank (on the side of the pub) is a much prettier walk but you will encounter some steep slopes. The south bank however is also a nice walk. The south bank route is reached by crossing the bridge and turning right. In a few places it can be very muddy and if the river is high it may be necessary to follow the slightly higher path which runs parallel with the lower path. Continue along the river for nearly 1.5 miles to reach the new bridge. If you wish you can cross the river here and return to the start by using the opposite bank. However from the south bank cross the bridge and continue north climbing steadily to pass a cottage on your left. From here the path becomes a track and you follow this for a further half a mile to reach a gate on the right signed "Fingle Bridge".
Go through the gate and follow the "Hunter's Path" which you follow for about another half a mile before reaching a path junction. As an optional extension you can go left up to Castle Drogo (refreshments & entertainment dependant on the time of year). Continuing along the "Hunter's Path" you begin to climb on a gradual gradient to Sharp Tor. From here there are spectacular views through the Teign Gorge and back towards Castle Drogo which blends remarkably well into the surroundings. After Sharp Tor continue along the path which starts to rise slightly then levels out towards Piddledown common before reaching the edge of Drewston woods where the path starts to drop down hill very rapidly. At this point care should be taken as the footing is very uneven. The path brings you back to the small narrow lane were you parked the car where refreshment are available at the Fingle Bridge Inn.