Castle Drogo, Drewsteignton, near Exeter, Devon EX6 6PBRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
This is a spectacular walk on Piddledown Common that overlooks the dramatic Teign Gorge. Take in some incredible views over Dartmoor and then retire to our tea-room at Castle Drogo for a well deserved cuppa.
- Grade of walk: Walking Boot (steep/rocky)
- Type of walk: Beautiful Views
- Bus stop
Start: Castle Drogo car park, grid ref: SX721900
From Castle Drogos main car park, follow the signs for Teign Valley walks.
Stark and imposing, the granite walls of castle Drogo seem to grow out of Dartmoor. Commissioned by Julius Drewe, the castle was designed by Edwin Lutyens, one of the foremost architects of the early 20th century. He was so successful as an entrepreneur that he retired at 33. Drewe was very interested in his family history. Discovering a possible link with Drewesteignton, he engaged Lutyens to create a building of suitable grandeur to create the ancestral home he lacked. With battlements and portcullis Drogo is certainly a castle, but look inside and discover the comfortable family home of the Drewe family.
Turn right and keep following signs for Teign Valley walks. Walk down through the trees and at the end turn left over the open common. Follow the yellow arrowed route.
Across the deep gorge carved out by the River Teign lies Whiddon Deer Park. Parks were traditionally a symbol of social status. They were used for sport as well as rearing deer and rabbit for the table and providing valued leather and fur. This park, formed of massive, enclosing, granite walls, was probably built by Sir John Whiddon who died in 1575. The woodlands of the gorge also hide many charcoal burning sites which provided fuel for tin and iron smelting. In the valley bottom, a corn mill and the hydro-electric turbines supplying Castle Drogo were once powered by the fast flowing river.
Continue over the common through a gate and along a path with tall gorse either side, known as Gorse Blossom Walk.
There's a fascinating range of wildlife in this valley. On the heath you can find birds like the stonechat and meadow pipit and in the woods all three UK woodpecker species can be found. Twenty three species of butterfly have been recorded, including rarities like the high brown and pearl bordered fritillaries. Yellow flowers and narrow leaves of flax-leaved St Johns Wort can be found on the rocky outcrops. This very rare species is almost confined in Britain to Devon where it grows mainly on south-facing hill slopes on Dartmoor and the south coast in areas free of competition from other plants.
Turn right and go down a short, steep slope. Continue down some steps onto Hunters Path and then turn right, following Hunters Path back towards the castle.
Stop and admire the view from the crags of Sharp tor, looking out over Chagford towards Dartmoor. Continue round the hill and take the second flight of steps.
At the top of the steps, go through a small gate and bear left up another flight of steps. There is a bench at the top for a quick rest if needed. Continue ahead until you arrive at the castle drive. Turn left and walk up the drive back to the car park.
We hope that you really enjoyed this one-mile walk. The National Trust looks after some of the most spectacular areas of countryside for the enjoyment of all. We need your support to help us continue our work to cherish the countryside and provide access to our beautiful and refreshing landscapes. To find out more about how you too can help our work as a volunteer, member or donor please go to www.nationaltrust.org.uk
End: Castle Drogo car park, grid ref: SX721900
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Moderate
- Distance: 1 mile (1.6km)
- Time: 30 minutes to 40 minutes
- OS Map: Landranger 191
You can take your dog on this walk, the paths are mostly dry and stony, but can be muddy in places. The route has two steep flights of steps (one down and one up), these run along the top of a very steep hill over rocky crags.
- How to get here:
By bus: Dartline Service 173, Exeter to Moretonhampstead (passing Exeter Central), Monday to Saturday
By train: Yeoford Station, 8 miles (12.8km)
By car: From A30, exit at Whiddon Down and follow brown signs for Castle Drogo. From A38, exit at Bovey Tracy, take A382 north towards Moretonhampstead and Whiddon Down, follow brown signs for Castle Drogo
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