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This outing, taking in three typically Devon villages (Newton Poppleford, Venn Ottery and Tipton St. John), provides a pleasant countryside stroll and finishes with a section alongside the charming River…
The walk commences from the well-signposted car park, off the A3052, to the rear of St Luke’s church in Newton Poppleford. Turn left along the main road and then right into Meadow Drive. Cross the stream and turn left along an enclosed pathway (opposite the noticeboards). When the path bends sharply right, pass through the gate and follow the same line to another gate. Cross a field to a third gate on the far side. Turn right onto the road, then left to enter Burrow Lane with its tidy bungalows and colourful gardens.
Continue along Burrow Lane and arriving at a junction swing right towards Burrow Close. Continue out of the village and rise towards a sharp bend.
At that point, leave the road in favour of a track that leads straight ahead (not Outer Hanger on the left). After 20 yards, pass a gas marker and fork left to pass through a gate. At the edge of the copse the path divides and the right fork is recommended.
This area is known as Harpford Common.
Keeping left on the footpath, pass a large residence – Benchams. Note the decorative brickwork of the chimneys. Turn left along the driveway and pass a large house with a dovecote gable. Turn left again when merging with a road. About ½ mile farther on, where the road bends slightly left around a swampy pond (and there’s a metal gate on the left), enter a wide track on the right (no waymark).
Initially, the track passes through woodland with a quarry to the left, then descends in openness as a pleasant green swathe. Ignore the footpath leading off on the left and the lane on the right. Reaching a junction turn left, then right when hitting the road. Pass the Elliotts Farm complex and onwards into Venn Ottery, passing the (well-concealed) church on the right.
Immediately beyond the last house in the village (Hardor, on the left) enter a lane on the left. At the top of the rise, swing right and follow the track without deflection all the way to join a road. Veer left along the road to arrive at Tipton St John (refreshments available). At the junction near the church (St John the Evangelist), turn right to pass the school and the village hall. Just before the road bridge, swing right passing through a gate to commence the riverside finale.
Follow the path on the right (west) bank of the River Otter. Reaching the outskirts of Newton Poppleford, turn left along the road, then right beyond the tennis courts. The path leads into a modern housing complex (Chestnut Way) and the road then curves left up Meadow Drive to the junction with the A3052. Turn left to locate the car park behind the church.