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Exmoor Walk
Barle Valley & Cow Castle from Simonsbath

Nat Park - Exmoor

County/Area - Somerset

Author - Lou Johnson

Length - 6.4 miles / 10.4 km    Ascent - 900 feet / 273 metres

Time - 4 hours 10 minutes    Grade - easy/mod

Start - OS grid reference SS774394
Lat 51.140701 // Long -3.753887
Postcode TA24 7SH (approx. location only)
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Ordnance Survey Explorer OL9Sheet Map1:25kBUY
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Walk Route Description

Photo from the walk - Barle Valley & Cow Castle from Simonsbath
Click thumbnails for larger images.

This walk from Simonsbath in the Exmoor National Park explores the upper Barle Valley passing through beautiful scenery. The route follows the Two Moors Way and passes the ruins of Wheal Eliza mine and the impressive Iron Age hillfort of Cow Castle as you make progress down the valley. At the halfway point, the walk turns north to gain higher ground, before heading parallel to the valley through fields allowing you to enjoy some fine moorland scenery.

The start is the Ashcombe car park in Simonsbath (grid ref. SS774394) which lies on the north side of the B3223. After parking, exit the car park, walk down, and turn left along the footpath opposite the inn which is signed to Picked Stones. After 100 metres bear left along the Two Moors Way signed to Cow Castle. The path soon passes Flexbarrow, a small hill on your right, to reach the mine ruins of Wheal Eliza.

The path continues beside the River Barle to pass Cow Castle on your right. If you have time this hillfort is worth exploring. Continue along the Two Moors Way through a gate and across a footbridge to join a track (grid ref. SS797370). Continue ahead along the signed bridleway. The track soon starts to climb to reach a junction (grid ref. SS806364). Turn left following the sign to Picked Stones. After 800 metres, at the next path junction, turn left and continue to a tarmac track where you turn left.

Continue on the bridleway running to the left of Pickedstones Farm. The onward route follows the hedge on your right with a grandstand view down to Cow Castle on your left. Continue following the clear path soon crossing a stream (White Water). Follow the rising track bearing left at a fingerpost to Simonsbath. Follow the path with trees and hedge on your right soon turning right signed to Simonsbath.

Just before reaching Winstitchen Farm, bear left following the bridleway signed to Simonsbath. The path is marked with blue way markers across several fields. Turn left into the wood, again signed to Simonsbath, back to the road where you turn right. The carpark entrance is a short way along the road on your left.

Other walks nearby

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

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

Walk 1262 Watersmeet & Foreland Point - mod/hard - 10.5 miles/17.1 km

Walk 3729 Foreland Point from Barna Barrow (Countisbury) - moderate - 5.0 miles/8.1 km

Walk 3391 Valley of Rocks from Lynton - easy/mod - 3.8 miles/6.2 km

Walk 1910 Countisbury and Watersmeet from Lynmouth - easy/mod - 4.5 miles/7.3 km

Walk 1860 The River Barle and Withypool from Tarr Steps - easy/mod - 7.5 miles/12.2 km

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

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

Walk 3390 Heddon Valley from Woody Bay - moderate - 5.3 miles/8.6 km

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