This site uses cookies please click 'Accept' to continue and remove this message or 'More....' to view our cookie policy

Continued use of this site indicates that you accept our cookie policy

For full access to iFootpath, to join the walking community, rate the walks, print, leave comments, mark walks as Favourite & Completed (mirror in the App), and much more please Register and login. It's free (no subscription, no charge to view or download a walking guide or GPS route) and only takes a moment or two. Already registered? Login here.

Tarr Steps and River Barle

There are currently 0 comments and 0 photos online for this walk.

Tarr Steps and River Barle
Author: Claire, Published: 26 May 2017 Walk Rating:star1 Tarr Steps and River Barle Walking Guide star1 Tarr Steps and River Barle Walking Guide star1 Tarr Steps and River Barle Walking Guide star1 Tarr Steps and River Barle Walking Guide star1 Tarr Steps and River Barle Walking Guide
Somerset, Exmoor
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Tarr Steps and River Barle
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot Tarr Steps and River Barle Walking Guide boot Tarr Steps and River Barle Walking Guide
iFootpath home page    Get the iFootpath iOS/apple app    Get the Android app from Google Play    Get the Android app from Amazon

0002_sunny_intervals Tarr Steps and River Barle Walking Guide Today's weather
18 °C, Partly cloudy, Wind: 4 mph W
Next few days: Hover over icon for more info.
0002_sunny_intervals Tarr Steps and River Barle Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals Tarr Steps and River Barle Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals Tarr Steps and River Barle Walking Guide 0004_black_low_cloud Tarr Steps and River Barle Walking Guide 0006_mist Tarr Steps and River Barle Walking Guide

A 2.5 mile circular walk from the iconic Tarr Steps clapper bridge in Exmoor, Somerset. The simple route crosses this impressive ancient bridge, before following a riverside journey through the woodland, a designated National Nature Reserve that runs alongside the River Barle. This is an idyllic habitat enjoyed by salmon, otters and the elusive dormouse.

The route has a few steady gradients including one long slope from the parking area. The paths are muddy in part and very rocky and uneven in other parts meaning they can get slippery. There are no kissing gates, stiles or livestock on route, but you will need to negotiate several simple gates and two bridges – the clapper bridge and a normal footbridge. The rocky nature of the paths means this route would not be suitable for any type of wheeled assistance vehicle. Dogs are welcome on the walk, indeed it is a popular dog walking spot. There are public toilets in the car park at the start of the walk. Allow 1.5 hours.

The Tarr Steps clapper bridge is located about 4 miles north-west of Dulverton in Exmoor, Somerset. The site has its own dedicated visitor car park, which is 400 metres before you reach the bridge (note that the car park immediately alongside the clapper bridge is for blue badge holders only). Leave the B3223 between Withypool and Dulverton, following the signs for Tarr Steps. At the junction alongside Liscombe Farm, turn left (downhill) and follow this access lane to reach the visitor car park on your left. The parking fee is £3 per car (correct May 2017). The nearest post code (for Liscombe Farm) is TA22 9QA.

View Larger Map

Walk Sections

Start to Tarr Steps
Start to Tarr Steps

Start point: 51.0796 lat, -3.6111 long
End point: 51.0773 lat, -3.6171 long

Walk to the far end of the car park (away from the vehicle entrance), passing to the left of the toilet block. Cross over the vehicle exit lane and join the tarmac path signed to Tarr Steps. A few paces along, this becomes a stone path, passing through a single gate to enter a grass field (which is used for raising game birds). Keep directly ahead, heading downhill with the hedgerow (and the road beyond this) running on your right.

At the bottom, pass through the next gate and follow the path as it emerges to a junction with the road. Turn left and follow the road as it leads you between buildings, including Tarr Farm Inn on your right. At the bottom, you will come to a turning circle with the blue badge parking area to your left.

You will see the River Barle and the Tarr Steps clapper bridge directly ahead. A clapper bridge is a type of medieval bridge made of large stone slabs without any mortar. The name comes from a Latin term meaning pile of stones. Tarr Steps is a particularly impressive example; with 17 spans it is the largest in Britain. The largest slab is 2.4 metres long and 1.5 metres wide. Despite individual stones weighing up to 2 tonnes, in extreme conditions they do get washed downstream and repairs have to be made using heavy-duty machinery. This really begs the question of how the bridge was built before the dawn of modern machines. Myth has it that the bridge was built by the Devil and that he retains the sunbathing rights on its stones. A deal was struck between the Devil and the local parson, that the Devil would always allow people to cross the bridge unless he is busy sunbathing.

Tarr Steps to River Footbridge
Tarr Steps to River Footbridge

Start point: 51.0773 lat, -3.6171 long
End point: 51.0828 lat, -3.6297 long

Keep straight ahead to cross the River Barle via the Tarr Steps clapper bridge. At the far side, turn immediately right to join the stone path (signed as a permitted path for the circular walk). This runs with a steep woodland valley to your left and the river to your right.

The woodlands around Tarr Steps were designated as a National Nature Reserve in 2004. They are predominantly oak but also include beech, ash, sycamore, hazel, honeysuckle and a healthy population of native bluebells. Rare mosses, lichens and liverworts flourish in the cool damp conditions. Whilst it is hard to imagine this as a centre for industry, the woodland was once used to make charcoal for the local iron smelting industry. Today the woodland abounds with interesting wildlife, from red deer to dormice, whilst the river is home to otters and plenty of fish including spawning salmon.

Some way along, you will pass (on your right) a brick pillar that anchors a woven cable structure across the river. This isn’t a bridge, rather it is a high strength net, designed to catch fallen trees and prevent them heading downstream and damaging the clapper bridge.

Keep ahead and there are several spots along this stretch that are ideal for a doggie drink. Further along, the path begins to climb, now running high above the river. Continue winding along this high path and later, it descends, leading you to a much smaller (but equally beautiful) clapper bridge that crosses an inlet stream for the river. Cross this bridge, go through the gate ahead and bear right to continue on the riverside path. About 150 metres later, you will come to a fingerpost on your left and a footbridge on your right.

River Footbridge to End
River Footbridge to End

Start point: 51.0828 lat, -3.6297 long
End point: 51.0797 lat, -3.611 long

Turn right to cross the gated footbridge. At the far side, turn right to join the stone path (signed as the circular walk), heading back along the other riverbank, with the river still on your right. Follow the path as it crosses a pretty grass meadow, passing a waymarker post that confirms you are on the bridleway heading back towards Tarr Steps. At the end of this meadow, go through the gate ahead and cross the inlet stream (in low water conditions you can use the stepping stones, otherwise there is a bridge just to your left).

Continue ahead on the riverside path, leading along the edge of Knaplock Wood. When you reach a fork in the path, you can take either choice. The right-hand is the prettiest as it runs along a series of boulders at the edge of the river, but it will be unsuitable in high water conditions. The left-hand one stays along the edge of the woodland. The two paths merge once again, to continue their riverside journey.

Look out for fallen trees that have coins hammered into them – clearly a popular local activity. You will come to a fingerpost marking a fork in the path. Take the right-hand branch, a continuation of the circular walk (staying closest to the river). The path meanders ahead, emerging into a riverside meadow. Keep straight ahead on the stone path that leads you through this, to reach the junction with the ford and Tarr Steps on your right.

Turn left to join the access lane, leading you uphill. Just after passing a small converted stone barn on your right, fork right to join the path signed to the main car park. Follow this path leading you steadily uphill, passing through two gates along the way, to reach the car park where the walk began.

Remember...the best way of following our walking guides is to use the iFootpath App (iOS and Android) where you will have all the information in the palm of your hand and see your exact location on the live map as you travel. You can also add comments, photos, ratings and track your own routes.

Check out these resources for your walk

hotels Hostel Directory GetMap Rail

network Tarr Steps and River Barle Walking Guide Original GPX source file

Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2017 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

Powered by World Weather Online.

We've an App too

Did you know that we have an iFootopath App? - includes all walks with directions and a live map...

No need to print and no more wrong turns....

Get the iFootpath App

appstore  en badge web generic

Click top right X to close.

Share

 

Walks Nearby

Recently Added Walks.

West Tisted Commons and Churches Trail, HampshireBlockley and Batsford Circular, GloucestershireStepping Out: Heckington Fen, LincolnshireJocks Lane and Blue Mountain, BerkshireRidges and Furrows Part 4: Waddington to Whisby, LincolnshireRidges and Furrows Part 3: Wellingore to Waddington, LincolnshireRidges and Furrows Part 2: Cranwell to Wellingore, LincolnshireAttenborough Nature Reserve, NottinghamshireRidges and Furrows Part 1: Sleaford to Cranwell, Lincolnshire

There are currently 1213 shared walks online. Add yours today!

What our customers say

We've an App too

Did you know that we have an iFootopath App? - includes all walks with directions and a live map...

No need to print and no more wrong turns....

Get the iFootpath App

appstore  en badge web generic

Click top right X to close.