Tarka Trail


Tarka Trail South Loop

  • Author: northdd
  • Created: 8th March 2018
  • Updated: 31st July 2018
Route type: Circular Routes
Difficulty grade: challenging

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  • Distance Instructions
  • Distance 122 km
  • Time 31 h 40 min
  • Speed 4 km/h
  • Min altitude 0 m
  • Peak 382 m
  • Climb 2216 m
  • Descent 2211 m

Heading south west from Barnstaple, the Trail continues alongside the expansive saltmarsh, mudflats and sandbanks of the Taw/Torridge Estuary to Bideford. This is part of the Shared-Use Section that covers 31 miles of former railway line between Braunton and Meeth. The Shared-Use Section has a tarmac surface as far as Watergate and is open for bicycles, wheelchairs and walkers. Horses are welcome between Torrington and Meeth.

From the ancient port town of Bideford the Trail travels inland leaving the wide rivers and their estuaries behind and follows bubbling streams through woodlands and flower-rich culm grassland before finally arriving at the edge of the high moor. The River Taw rises on Dartmoor and the Trail joins it and returns with it, passing through the gently rolling countryside to meet the Tarka Railway Line at Eggesford.

The railway line is the final leg of the South Loop; crisscrossing over the twists and turns of the River as it heads back to Barnstaple.


Altitude: 7 m
Address: Cattle Market car park Barnstaple. Tuly street. EX31 1DT

The trail starts on the Tarka Trail following the river at Barnstaple.


Altitude: 10 m

The trail comes inland from the estuary and follows the River Torridge on the east side of Bideford.


Altitude: 152 m

The gateway to Dartmoor. There are lots of places to stay, visit and walk around Okehampton.

Eggesford train station

Altitude: 71 m

This is where the walking ends as you jump the train back into Barnstaple along the Tarka line.


Altitude: 10 m
Address: Station Road, Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 2AU

The South Loop concludes at Barnstaple Train Station.