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Exmoor Walk
The River Barle and Withypool from Tarr Steps

Nat Park - Exmoor

County/Area - Somerset

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 7.5 miles / 12.2 km    Ascent - 1500 feet / 455 metres

Time - 5 hours 20 minutes    Grade - easy/mod

Start - OS grid reference SS872323
Lat 51.0789 // Long -3.611641
Postcode TA22 9QA (approx. location only)
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Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - The River Barle and Withypool from Tarr Steps Photo from the walk - The River Barle and Withypool from Tarr Steps Photo from the walk - The River Barle and Withypool from Tarr Steps Photo from the walk - The River Barle and Withypool from Tarr Steps Photo from the walk - The River Barle and Withypool from Tarr Steps Photo from the walk - The River Barle and Withypool from Tarr Steps
Click thumbnails for larger images.

The River Barle is a beautiful river that eventually joins the River Exe south of Dulverton. This walk explores east bank of the river before visiting the attractive village of Withypool. The return route takes to the higher ground offering excellent views over the rolling countryside of this part of the Exmoor National Park. The route is generally well signed and the paths good. However after rain there may be a few muddy sections along the river.

The River Barle and Withypool from Tarr Steps The River Barle and Withypool from Tarr Steps The River Barle and Withypool from Tarr Steps 
Click thumbnails for larger images.

Tarr Steps is located on a minor road between the villages of Hawkridge and Liscombe. Unless you have a high floor 4 wheel drive vehicle the best approach is from Liscombe. This village can be reached from the B3223 Dulverton to Withypool road. The start is the National Park car park above Tarr Steps (Grid ref. SS872323). From here follow the path down to the River Barle. Do not cross the steps and turn right to follow the river upstream. It is worth taking note to see if you can cross the steps as this needs to be done at the end of the walk. If they are impassable then it possible to cross by footbridge further upstream but this adds about 2 km to the walk.

Little in the way of route description is required. All you need to do is follow the river, keeping it on your left, using the clear path. In places you will have to negotiate some muddy sections but these were fairly short in length when the walk was researched. For much of the way to Withypool you are in open woodland interspersed with occasional pasture. Approaching Withypool, the path climbs up the right hand side above the river to join the main road (Grid ref. SS850356). Turn left and walk the short way into the village.

There are a few shops, cafés and a pub, The Royal Oak, which serves good food in an authentic atmosphere. Also of note in the village are the old Shell petrol pumps. Continue through the village across the bridge over the River Barle. Take the first lane on the left and climb steeply out of the village with Withypool Hill to your right. Stay on this undulating lane for over 2 km to Westwater Farm (Grid ref. SS847330). The traffic is generally light and the good view compensate for the tarmac.

Take the bridleway on your left and continue across meadows to Parsonage Farm. Here you go left again and continue down to the lane at Tarr Steps. Cross the steps and walk up past the café back to the car park. Should the stepping stones be impassable then turn left alongside the riverside path and walk upstream for about a kilometre to the footbridge. Cross this and turn right back down to Tarr Steps.



Other walks nearby

Walk 1669 Anstey Gate and Hawkridge from Tarr Steps - moderate - 8.2 miles/13.3 km

Walk 1222 Winsford Hill & the Allotment from Winsford - moderate - 6.0 miles/9.8 km

Walk 1220 Dunkery Beacon from Wheddon Cross - moderate - 8.0 miles/13 km

Walk 1750 Dunkery Beacon from Dunkery Gate - easy/mod - 2.5 miles/4.1 km

Walk 3386 Barle Valley & Cow Castle from Simonsbath - easy/mod - 6.4 miles/10.4 km

Walk 3725 Selworthy Beacon from Selworthy - easy/mod - 5.5 miles/8.9 km

Walk 1221 Selworthy Beacon & North Hill from Bossington - moderate - 8.5 miles/13.8 km

Walk 1727 Shallowford, Hoar Oak Tree & The Chains - moderate - 11.7 miles/19 km

Walk 2211 Minehead to Dunster - easy - 5.0 miles/8.1 km

Walk 1263 The Doone Valley from Malmsmead - moderate - 8.5 miles/13.8 km

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