Blackdown Yurts is situated on the edge of the Blackdown Hills AONB providing ample opportunities on our doorstep for walking, cycling, running both on and off road, and horse riding. Venturing further afield you can walk sections of the Southwest Coast Path or tackle some trails on Exmoor and Dartmoor.
As with all walking in the countryside please make sure you leave gates as you found them. There are livestock including horses, cattle and sheep in fields along many of these walks. You will need good waterproof footwear as many of the walks can be very muddy after wet weather. We provide a local map in each of the yurts and some walking guidebooks too to help you find your way.
The Blackdown Hills AONB has a large selection of walking routes on their website.
Walks from Blackdown Yurts
1. Blackborough House Our favourite loop is up the hill to pass by the ruins of derelict Blackborough House and back down via Mortimer's Farm and in at the front end of our farm, known as Halsbeer Farm. This route affords you fantastic views towards Dartmoor and Exmoor, bluebells and wild garlic. You can extend it by walking up to Blackborough Churchyard and into Blackborough Woods (or you can cheat and drive up the hill and enjoy the woods that way! See below for more details). Make sure you stay on the footpath and do not attempt to trespass into Blackborough House grounds, the building is in a state of disrepair and is very dangerous.
2. Ashill Cross over the road at the end of the yurt drive and go through the farmyard of Sandfield Farm (to the left of the farmhouse). Follow the public footpath north over the fields to emerge near the village of Ashill. Make sure to wear your wellies as this route passes through numerous cattle pastures and a very muddy farmyard. Your reward at the end is The Ashill Inn. Return the same way or venture back via All Hallows (again likely to be very muddy).
3. Kentisbeare Come out of the yurts and turn left, either stay on the lane or turn left down the green lane and pop out near the entrance to Halsbeer Farm and continue from there. Walk via Pirzwell to the village and enjoy a break at The Wyndham Arms pub. For a longer route take the farm track soon after Pirzwell that leads to Wressing and return to the village via Goodiford Mill. Come back via Pirzwell or head out of Kentisbeare via the footpath near The Honest Heart and go over the fields to Millhayes Fishery and from there on the lanes to Stowford Water to complete a circuit.
Walks a short drive from Blackdown Yurts
4. Blackborough Woods From the yurts you can see the conifer plantations and mossy beech woods on the plateau above the village of Blackborough. These woods are stunning to explore. To access the northern part of the woods park at the site of the old churchyard in Blackborough where there is also an information board about the whetstone mining industry. You can see evidence of the mining excavations in the woods and search for the ruins of Garnsey Tower. Alternatively park at Blackborough's village hall or at the Forestry Commission Car Park at the southern end of the woods. There are geocaches hidden in the woods too. 5. Rhododendron Wood and the gliding club If you are feeling energetic you can walk (or run) along the fairly level track through the Woodland Trust's rhododendron wood (south of the road leading out of Blackborough towards Sheldon and Dunkeswell) all the way to the gliding club where there is a good value cafe where you can watch the gliders take off and land. Carry on further and you can walk all the way to The Drewe Arms at Broadhembury. Park at the village hall for this one. You could leave one car at The Drewe to avoid having to do the return journey, or return via the lanes past Orway.
6. Culmstock Always a favourite of ours, Culmstock offers two main options when it comes to walking. For the energetic climb up to the fantastic viewpoint of Culmstock Beacon, a stone hut that housed a beacon during the time of the Spanish Armada. You can walk along the ridge all the way to the Wellington Monument if you feel so inclined. Alternatively you can walk along the course of the River Culm towards Uffculme through beautiful water meadows and a Woodland Trust wood. Leave one car in Uffculme if you want to do a one-way trip. The Culm Valley Inn in Culmstock is a great place for post-walk refreshment. Coldharbour Mill in Uffculme is also worth a visit and has a coffee shop.
The Blackdown Hills AONB has a collection of on-road cycling routes on their website that take you through stunning countryside. Be warned, they are not called The Blackdown Hills for nothing!
If off-road is more your thing then head to Haldon Forest south of Exeter where there are numerous mountain biking routes for different abilities.
If you'd like to hire bicycles while you are here the nearest places are Abbotshood Cycle Hire in Sampford Peverell near Tiverton (their location allows access onto the Grand Western canal towpath for nice level cycling) and Forest Cycle Hire at Haldon Forest (see above).