Two Chapels Walk
Taking in both of Killerton's chapels, historic parkland, the River Culm, open farmland and ancient woodland, this walk is great way to explore the wider Killerton estate. It can be muddy in places so is unsuitable for pushchairs. Dogs are not allowed in the chapel grounds.
Please book ahead before visiting
Visitor reception, stable block
From visitor reception turn right and take the first path right and go through the gate to enter the chapel grounds. Fork left, following the sign for the chapel.
In 1672 the Aclands moved to Killerton from Columbjohn. You are looking at the chapel Sir Thomas Acland had built in 1841 to replace the Columbjohn chapel. He called in renowned art historian and architect Charles Cockerell to design a grand chapel in the heart of the estate. The chapel took 12 years to complete amid arguments over the design.
Carry on along the left-hand side of the chapel and take the steps down towards the road. Turn sharp left onto the drive that runs parallel to the road. Go through the gates to enter Deer Park. Turn right, following sign to Ellerhayes Bridge.
Follow the track next to the hedge and go through a gate. The path runs behind a woodland copse before passing through another gate into Back Park. The two veteran oaks are 200 years old. Above to the left is Dolbury Hill, known locally as The Clump and the site of an Iron Age hill fort.
Bear left to follow the old carriage, following signs to Columbjohn and Park Wood, with the River Culm on your right.
The River Culm
The Culm is the longest tributary of the River Exe. The river skirts the northern boundary of the Killerton estate to join the Exe on the outskirts of Exeter. The name of the river is thought to mean "knots" or "ties" to describe this winding river's twists and meanders.
Cross the second cattle grid to leave the woods, keep on the main track passing through grazing pastures. Up to the left is Columbjohn Wood.
Keep on the track, through the gates and back into woodland, following signs to Columbjohn Chapel and Bridge but ignoring the paths to left and right.
Follow the track ahead. Leave Columbjohn Wood and walk ahead for a few minutes before reaching a wooden kissing gate on the right. Go through this gate heading towards Columbjohn Chapel and Bridge.
Columbjohn House was the Acland family's first residence in Devon. The Tudor graveyard is one of Killerton's hidden secrets. Many of the Acland's servants are buried here, including notorious housekeeper Mrs Craggs who was head of the household in 1851.
Leave the churchyard through the far gate and follow the track under the grand archway. Alternatively cross the track and bear left, towards a gate in the far wall, following the river. In wet weather this floodplain can be boggy so please watch your step.
The Civil War at Columbjohn
During the Civil War Columbjohn was a royalist garrison. When Cromwell and his New Model Army reached Exeter, they seized Columbjohn House as their headquarters. It was on this site that Fairfax and Cromwell planned their siege of Exeter in 1645.
At the farm track turn left with Columbjohn Farm on your right. Continue straight along the hedged farm track with views of The Clump and Killerton house, following signs to House and Gardens.
At the T junction, turn left uphill, marked towards House and Gardens.
Turn right through the double gates following the sign to Stables Cafe and Shop, crossing Front Park to return back to where this walk started.
Visitor reception, stable block
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