A literary connection
Burrough was the home of Charles Kingsley's hero in his famous novel 'Westward Ho!'.
Total steps: 4
Total steps: 4
Windmill Lane, grid ref: SS460287
When you leave Windmill Lane, continue (straight on) down a tree-lined track until you see a kissing gate on your right. Go through the kissing gate 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. To create space for nature we've recently planted trees along the field margins.
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 towards Tapeley Park (Grade II* listed) until finally reaching Windmill Lane once more.
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We hope that you really enjoyed this one-mile walk. We look 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 visit our homepage.
Windmill Lane, grid ref: SS460287
A circular walk with some steeper sections in places, the route goes across farm land. The ground can be a bit muddy, especially after wet weather. Walking boots or good walking shoes are recommended.
Burrough Farm, Northam near Bideford, North Devon, EX39 1SU
Barnstaple 10 miles (16.1km).
Take the First North Devon Bus 1 towards Westward Ho! From Bideford Quay. Get off at Northam swimming pool and walk down Windmill Lane for three minutes.
Take the A39 (Bideford to Bude) before following signs to Northam. Suggested parking in Northam Council offices (pay and display) immediately to the left on entering Windmill Lane.
Dogs welcome on leads.
Nearest shops, cafes and pubs are in Northam.
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