Burrough Farm is a walk across farmland, through woodland and along side the River Torridge.
Spot the wrecks at low tide around the headlands
An interesting and varied walk with beautiful views across the river and inland to the port of Bideford. Burrough was the home of Charles Kingsley’s hero in his famous novel 'Westward Ho!'. Grade of walk: Trainer (all rounder); Type of walk: 'Waterside Walks', 'Beautiful Views'.
Windmill Lane, grid ref: SS460287
When you leave Windmill Lane, continue (straight on) down a tree-lined track until you see an oak stile on your right. Go over the stile and walk down the field edge towards the river. Continue over one more stile and upon reaching a path junction turn right down towards the river.
Sited at the head of the Torridge estuary in the 16th century, Bideford was Britain's third largest port with a direct line to new trading opportunities in the New World. Bideford provided a safe harbour for shipping and was a bustling port town developing under the encouragement of notables such as Sir Richard Grenville. Ball clay and the local pottery industry are still traded from here today, but in the 17th and 18th centuries Bideford Pottery employed hundreds of potters and was extensively exported to the Americas as well as Wales and Ireland.
Here, there are two paths. A high tide one, and another path over a wooden boardwalk if the tide is out. The boardwalk takes you right next to the waters edge and over ancient salt marsh. If the tide is low enough, there are several shipwrecks to be seen around the headlands. But take care with the tide and the sand, which can be very soft here, so don't stray too far. Head over the boardwalk in a south-westerly direction where you will walk alongside farmland grazed by beautiful Devon Red beef cattle.
Here the River Torridge is very broad and was first bridged by a wooden structure in about 1250, joining Bideford on the western bank to East the Water. Its 24 irregularly-spaced arches are still visible today. In 1986, the current eight span long bridge was built for the Bideford by-pass. It was designed to be tall enough for large vessels to sail beneath and each of the three central arches is 100yd (90m) wide. There was huge local opposition to its construction and despite its controversial design, it won the Concrete Society's award in 1988 for its combination of beauty with economy.
Here you will enter a lovely section of broadleaved woodland that runs alongside the river for several hundred yards. Here there are several view points with views up the river to Bideford. Continue along this path until the next path junction were you need to turn right, and walk up a steep path to a metalled road. Cross the road and over the stile back onto farmland, which is owned by us.
Charles Kingsley and Westward Ho!
The Reverend Charles Kingsley was born at Holne on Dartmoor in 1819, but spent a lot of his youth in North Devon. He was Professor of Modern History at Cambridge, but also wrote many novels including The Water Babies and Westward Ho!, which was published in 1855. Amyas Leigh, the fictional hero, lived at Burrough in Elizabethan times, before he followed Francis Drake and sailed to the Caribbean. A tale tinged with tragedy, it was instantly very popular and led to the creation of the new holiday resort of the same name.
Walk along the edge of the fields and enjoy the wonderful views across the river, until finally reaching Windmill Lane once more.
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Windmill Lane, grid ref: SS460287
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