Mark Rowe, who writes a regular Walk of the Month column for The Independent on Sunday and is a contributing editor for BBC Countryfile Magazine, recently stayed at L’Horizon, Thurlestone, to research some fantastic walks just for VIEW readers. Here he details the special fifth walk.
Circular walk from Loddiswell through the Aune Valley to Titcombe Wood
The South Hams secret walk: a hidden valley and an overlooked village
Start/finish: Village Green, Loddiswell
Distance: 4 miles/7km
Time: 2 hours
Look out for: wonderful woodlands, birdsong and classic South Hams views of rolling hills. Bluebells and wild garlic in spring, autumn leaf colour.
Our team say:
“There is something about looking at the river from above and seeing all the branches that have floated down stream and collected to make a dam. As you walk through the woodland you will come across small inlets which remind you of the beach as they are actually sandy.” Tina Doyle, Assistant Marketing Manager.
Loddiswell may stand on a main route into the South Hams but a one-way system neatly deflects traffic away from its heart, and the majority of holidaymakers will never pause here. Yet with a pub, a 14th century church and a village store – and this delectable walk – there is much to see.
Our walk swoops downhill through a landscape apparently designed by a helter-skelter architect – undulating hills reach away to the horizon, while little lines of wood rushing into the folds where the contours meet. Such is their steepness that the tractors that plough these river valley slopes look poised to topple backwards.
As the trail descends, dangling tentacles of ivy and exposed roots of beech and alders combine to create a tropical, balmy feel. There is a lovely glade, bathed in sunshine in good weather and perfect for lingering by the riverside. You’ve stumbled into a Lost World, with an embankment formed from moss-covered rocks and enormous crashed trees that lie across dry river beds. Children love to limbo dance under some of these specimens.
The path clambers onto the old Primrose Railway line before switching to the opposite riverbank and returning through Titcombe Wood, a place of yet more woodland magic, with dense pockets of trees, swampy mires and lilies.
Back in Loddiswell, head down Fore Street to reach Lod’s Well, named after a Saxon who once lorded over the village. Some claim the spring here gave the village its name, though you’re warned to boil the water before drinking it!