Centenary walk

Arlington Court, Arlington, Near Barnstaple, Devon, EX31 4LP

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Early morning mist over the lake at Arlington Court. © Sharon Ford

Early morning mist over the lake at Arlington Court.

Stag surveys his kingdom © Sharon Ford

Stag surveys his kingdom

North Woolley valley, Arlington Court estate © Sharon Ford

North Woolley valley, Arlington Court estate

Route overview

A steep climb, but worth it for the stunning views. Created in the National Trust's centenary year, 1995, this walk is designed to show you the views of the house and parkland that you would have enjoyed had you entered the estate in your carriage at Woolley Lodge. It is particularly magnificent in winter when there are no leaves on the trees.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Arlington Court centenary walk map, Devon
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Old Kitchen tea-room, grid ref: SS611405

  1. From the tea-room walk down the tarmac road, following the signs to the lake and wider estate. At the gates with herons on the top, keep left and follow the track down through the Monkey Puzzle Avenue. Planted in the 1860s by Sir Bruce Chichester, there are now only a few of the original monkey puzzle trees left that marked this carriage drive into the main grounds.

  2. Continue along this track, through a gate and past a large information board (on your left). Keep on this track for about 500 metres

  3. BIRD HIDE DIVERSION: If you want to try out our bird hide look out for a sign saying Bird Hide, which is on the right pointing you down a track. Come here to spot a variety of woodland birds, it is also an ideal look out to the ancient heronry.

  4. At the junction of two paths follow the red arrow to the right and to the lake. Just around the corner on the banks of the lake is Miss Chichester's Memorial Urn.

  5. Walk alongside the lake, cross the dam (look out for the bridge piers and an information board with artist's impression of how the finished bridge might have looked) and then bear right for 25 metres.

    Show/HideBridge piers

    These are not the remains, but in fact the uncompleted beginnings of a suspension bridge that was begun by Sir John Chichester before his death in 1851. It was intended to link his new carriage drive down from Woolley Lodge at the top of the estate to the new house built in 1823.

    Early morning mist over the lake at Arlington Court. © Sharon Ford
  6. Turn left at sign for 'Centenary Path' and follow path through the woodland. At the next track turn left (waymarked). Follow for about 50m and turn right. You are now on the steepest section, follow small track uphill, where the trees block the path follow the steps to the left. On next track turn right, follow for 50m, then take the uphill track on the left.

  7. At the top of the woodland you reach a stile into open fields. Cross the stile and head up the field following the hedgebank on your left until you reach a gate on your left. Go through the gate and diagonally across the middle of the field to the gate.

  8. Once through the gate, keep the hedgebank on your right until you come to another stile. Cross this into a smaller field, head downhill, keeping hedgebank on your left, until you reach another stile to go into the woodland.

    Show/Hide Red deer

    This woodland is criss-crossed with deer tracks and you may be lucky enough to spot one moving through the trees.

    Stag surveys his kingdom © Sharon Ford
  9. Ten metres into the woodland is another stile on the left by a big gate. Go over the stile onto a woodland track, follow for 100 metres, looking for a waymarked track on your right. Follow the track downhill.

    Show/HideAncient woodland

    You will walk through an area of ancient woodland; there are references to Woolley Wood in the Domesday Book.

    North Woolley valley, Arlington Court estate © Sharon Ford
  10. At next junction follow smaller track downhill again, go down steps onto a main track, bear left and at the fork take the right hand fork down the hill. Turn left to cross Smallacombe Bridge and into the parkland.

  11. Follow the track through the parkland (bear slightly right) and uphill. You will reach the gate at the bottom of the Wilderness.

  12. Follow the path up the hill, staying left at first junction. You will pass the Wilderness Hideaway with mud huts, an earth oven and more. Keep going up the hill, eventually reaching the bottom of the main garden. You emerge from the Wilderness next to the large pond, near the church. From here you can fnd your way across the garden to the tea-room.

End: Old Kitchen tea-room, grid ref: SS611405

In partnership with

Cotswold Outdoor logo © Cotswold Outdoor
  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Hard
  • Distance: 2.75 miles (4.5km)
  • Time: 2 hours
  • OS Map: Landranger 180; Explorer 139
  • Terrain:

    This is a strenuous walk with some very steep and muddy sections.

  • How to get here:

    By foot: From main car park just 200 yards, through reception. Admission charges will apply during the property's opening times throughout the year.

    By bike: National Cycle Network Regional Route 56 passes near Arlington Court; see sustrans website

    By bus: TW Coaches 309, Barnstaple to Lynton, infrequent

    By train: Barnstaple, 10 miles (16km) from Arlington

    By car: 9 miles (14.4km) north-east of Barnstaple, off the A39. Postcode for Sat Nav: EX31 4LP



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