WATERSMEET, this was where we started my most favourite walk... ever. Admittedly I am a bit of a fickle walker type yet to discover all that North Devon has to offer but I find it hard to imagine rambling along a prettier route.
And I’ve done much of my walking in England in the Cotswolds, which is not too shabby in lovely view stakes.
We headed out to Watersmeet in Lynmouth (another National Trust treasure on our doorstep) on a day of glorious winter sunshine.
I am sure it is an amazing walk to do whatever the season, but I did quite enjoy (selfishly) the fact that there weren’t too many people on the path.
That said it’s always nice to say hello to a fellow walker, comment on the beauty of the walk and make sure everyone has had a chance to take in the heron awaiting its lunch from a rocky vantage point.
There are a few well-marked routes to follow from Watersmeet but we opted for a circular walk taking in Countisbury.
Other walks which may be downloaded from the website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/include: Countisbury to Arnold’s Linhay circular, Countisbury figure-of-eight and circular walk via Winston’s Path.
For me the wonderfully misshapen trees and river setting were evocative of childhood favourite Enid Blyton.
There is certainly an enchanting aspect to the setting.
And, with the tea room closed until spring, we had to bring along a picnic which, I’m sure you’ll agree, is very Enid Blyton. The river gurgling gently at some points and a powerful force to be reckoned with at others is utterly mesmerising – an amateur photographer’s dream outing.
Bearing in mind there had been a great deal of rain we made sure we had walking boots and, even though the weather forecast predicted only sunshine, waterproof trousers and jacket.
For muddy paths, I quite enjoy the company of a walking pole – although the advantages and disadvantages of it can divide walkers in my experience.
Our walk of around three-and-a-half miles can be done in a couple of hours unless you allow extra time for endless photographs, time spent drinking in the view and pausing for a picnic.
As the National Trust advises, this route “crosses a variety of landscapes, ranging from open fields, woodlands and riverbanks to the rare opportunity to walk along the bottom of a deep Devon combe without having to wade through a river”.
Walking alongside the river, we came across a very jolly band of canoeists, happy to pose for our pictures and enjoy a bit of banter as they sped past.
We’ll definitely be going back for more. The beauty of these walks is that they can seem very different from season to season. Any excuse to return.