Walk 1263 - printer friendly version
The Doone Valley from Malmsmead Walk
Author - Lou Johnson
Length - 8.5 miles / 13.8 km
Ascent - 1395 feet / 423 metres
Grade - moderate
Start - OS grid reference SS791478
Lat 51.216561 + Long -3.7324268
Postcode EX35 6NU (approx. location only)
Lorna Doone was a fictional character created by R.D. Blackmore using the landscape of this area as a basis for the novel. The walk starts in the pleasant village of Malmsmead and continues to Oare Church before heading up the valley containing Badgworthy Water to finish with a walk across the moors.
Starting from the village car park (Grid ref. SS791478) walk to the road junction in the village centre and turn left for Oare. Cross Badgworthy Water and follow the lane for approximately 300 metres and turn left onto the signed footpath. This crosses Oare Water by footbridge with the onward route a right turn to head south-east. This path continues alongside the river to join a lane. Turn right, re-cross Oare Water and continue up to the road junction. Oare church is opposite and is worth a visit.
After visiting the church exit the churchyard and turn right along the lane and almost immediately right again onto a bridleway, which climbs gently. At the first junction fork right alongside a small wood. The path/track contours around the hillside before descending to Cloud Farm. Cross Badgworthy Water and turn left (upstream) to follow a clear track.
This leads without any need for further directions to the site of a Medieval village (Grid ref. 7924440), which is a short way west of the river. Unfortunately there are few obvious remains in this pleasant spot, which nevertheless makes an ideal place for a rest and refreshments. Heading northwest along a clear bridleway the route climbs gently onto the moors to reach a gate (Grid ref. 781452). Go through the gate and continue along the bridleway with good views of the open moors.
Crossing the northern flank of Withycombe Ridge the route descends to Lankcombe Ford. Cross this and bear right to pick up a clear track heading just north of east. Stay on this as it contours around the east side of Malmsmead Hill to reach Easter Lane (Grid ref. 781473). Note - this track is not shown on the OS maps. A more direct route leaves the route described at grid ref. 777460). Reaching Easter Lane, turn right and after a kilometre you arrive back in Malmsmead.