Bridge at Weare Giffard on the Tarka Trail

The Tarka Trail

Welcome to the Tarka Trail – 180 miles of discovery

Tarka Trail waymarker signInspired by the route travelled by the character Tarka the Otter from Henry Williamson’s famous 1927 novel, the Tarka Trail is a 180 mile, figure of eight walking and cycling route traverses unspoilt countryside, dramatic sea cliffs and beautiful beaches enabling you to explore and experience the very best north Devon has to offer.

The route

The route splits into two loops centred at Barnstaple, and is perfect for day trips or longer stays with a wealth of accommodation, destinations, scenery, cafes and restaurants.

The southern loop of the Tarka Trail boasts one of the country’s longest, continuous traffic-free walking and cycling paths along what was once a railway line. Perfect for family cycling and easy walks alongside the expansive saltmarsh, mudflats and sandbanks of the Taw/Torridge Estuary, bursting with wildlife and wonderful views.

The north loop heads inland along the tidal section of the River Taw. The Trail rises up through villages with cob and thatched cottages, passes remote farms and follows rocky, deep cut lanes and wooded valley paths until it reaches the high plateaus of Exmoor. At Lynmouth the Tarka Trail follows the South West Coast Path along cliff tops, visiting coastal towns and villages and crossing beaches before tracking back along the Taw estuary to Barnstaple.

Sections of the Tarka Trail coincide with the Devon Coast to Coast Cycle Route, Route 27 of the National Cycle Network, the South West Coastal Path and the Two Moors Way.

The Tarka Trail features in a number of OS Explorer maps – 139, 126, 127, 113 and OL 9.

At a glance:


Find out more