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Family things to see and do in the Heddon Valley

A young girl practices stone balancing on the beach at Heddon Valley, Devon
Stone balancing on the beach at Heddon Valley, Devon | © Mel Peters

Head down to the Heddon Valley for a day full of family fun. From outdoor adventures to nature trails, scrumptious ice creams to wild play in the play area, there is always something to keep your little ones occupied.

What's on this spring in the Heddon Valley?

Get out and about this spring in the Heddon Valley. Spot wildlife, splash in the river or borrow one of our wildlife explorer packs. Pop into the Visitor Information to find out about our seasonal family activity trail or more information around the wildlife that calls the Valley home.

Planning your visit to the Heddon Valley

Picnic areas – You will find benches and spaces perfect for a picnic throughout the Valley, from outside the Pantry take away café which sells ice-cream, hot and cold drinks and light bites; to the beach at the mouth of the river. Picknic blankets are welcome but please remember to take your rubbish home with you and leave the area as you found it. Recycling bins can be found outside the Pantry.

Toilets- You will find toilets, including an accessible toilet and baby changing facilities, near the carpark. There are no toilets along the walk to the mouth of the river.

Buggies – the circular walk from the carpark down to the mouth and back is suitable for all-terrain buggies and pushchairs. These are available to borrow from the visitor information hub by calling 01598763402.

Our play area

You will find a play area in the Hunters Inn Garden; with balance beams, tic-tac-toe, stump animals, and more there is lots of fun to be had.

Visitors walking at Heddon Valley, North Devon.
Visitors walking at Heddon Valley, North Devon. | © John Millar

Out and about in the Heddon Valley

There is plenty of wildlife to spot in the Heddon Valley from butterflies to birds, dormice to cattle. Keep an eye out along your walk to see what you can spot, if you are lucky you may come across a deer or an otter down by the river.


From late spring and into summer you will also be able to spot the rare high brown fritillary butterfly. As one of the rarest butterflies in the UK its numbers were drastically decreasing, but thanks to the dedication of the ranger and volunteer team, who have been working to create and improve vital habitats, thefuture is looking bright. The Heddon valley is one of the best places in the country to spot these beautiful butterflies. Keep an eye out for our mangalitsa pigs and english long horn cattle who help us complete this important work in the valley.


From redstarts to peregrine falcons there are birds of every size in the Heddon Valley. Keep an eye out on your walk and see if you can spot any of the following:

  • Common raven

  • Eurasian jay

  • Common redstart

  • Kittiwake

  • Common kingfisher

  • Dipper

  • Grey wagtail

  • Peregrine falcon

  • Tawny owl

  • Greater spotted woodpecker

  • Pied flycatcher

A child looks trough a magnifying glass
Nature discoveries await in the Heddon Valley | © Annapurna Mellor

'50 things to do before you're 11¾'

There are lot of '50 things' activities you can do with the family this spring. How about an outdoor adventure full of fun and discovery? Or maybe you could get to know a tree, appreciate the shape of their branches and the caverns that animals can hide in?

Check out some of our top 50 things to do this this spring. Or the full list here: 50 things to do before you're 11¾ | Visit | National Trust

Although many of the 50 things can be completed in the countryside, there are also lots of things to do at the coast, head down to Heddon’s Mouth to see if you can tick any of them off.

A visitor walks along a coastline path with the sun peaking out behind the cliffs in the background at Heddon Valley, Devon

Discover more at Heddon Valley

Find out how to get to Heddon Valley, where to park, the things to see and do and more.

Sunshine breaks through the trees beside a woodland path in the Heddon Valley

Our woodland work on West Exmoor 

Discover how the West Exmoor ranger team look after 1,200 acres of woodland, an area roughly the size of 16,000 tennis courts, containing around 400,000 trees.

Visitor carrying a tray of coffee and cake in the cafe at Llanerchaeron, Wales

Eating and drinking at Heddon Valley 

Find out where to eat and drink in this wooded valley on Exmoor, from classic pub lunches in the historic Hunters Inn to takeaway food and ice cream from The Pantry.


Visiting Heddon Valley with your dog 

The Heddon Valley is a three pawprint rated place, meaning dogs are welcome in most places, including our take-away café, The Pantry and the Hunter's Inn beer garden.

A visitor enjoys coastal views at Heddon's Mouth, near Heddon Orchard bothy

Gentle walk to Heddon's Mouth 

Follow this easy National Trust trail alongside the banks of the River Heddon and explore the area where it meets the sea.

DistanceMiles: 2 (km: 3.2)