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Malmsmead and Brendon

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Malmsmead and Brendon
Author: Amentura, Published: 19 Oct 2017 Walk Rating:star0 Malmsmead and Brendon Walking Guide star0 Malmsmead and Brendon Walking Guide star0 Malmsmead and Brendon Walking Guide star0 Malmsmead and Brendon Walking Guide star0 Malmsmead and Brendon Walking Guide
Devon, Exmoor
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Malmsmead and Brendon
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot Malmsmead and Brendon Walking Guide boot Malmsmead and Brendon Walking Guide boot Malmsmead and Brendon Walking Guide boot Malmsmead and Brendon Walking Guide
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12 °C, Cloudy, Wind: 30 mph W
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A 5 mile circular walk from Malmsmead in Exmoor, Devon. The starting and end points for the walk are at the Cafe Deli at Malmsmead. We happened across the place by accident and decided to go for a walk with the promise of coffee and cake on our return. This walk is the result. Unfortunately the day we mapped the walk it was quite overcast and misty, especially on the higher ground, but even so we could still get a glimpse of spectacular views across Exmoor and the East Lyn river valley through the mist. Later in the walk you will travel along the banks of the East Lyn river. All in all a beautiful way to spend a late summer afternoon.

The walk is a mixture of stretches along tarmac lanes and well-used footpaths across the foothills of Exmoor. There are some steep and lengthy uphill sections, on both the roads and the footpaths. One potential hazard is that you will cross two fords. The first is small and narrow but the second has a white depth gauge, so I suspect there is a risk of flooding after periods of heavy rain. There is a low pedestrian footbridge alongside, but if heavily flooded then I suspect this route could be impassable to walkers, so check on the recent weather before heading out. You will also need to negotiate two kissing gates which are reached via a set of very steep wooden steps (a cross between steps and a ladder). You are likely to come across both sheep and wild Exmoor Ponies sharing the paths. We have two dogs (excitable spaniels) and both were kept on leads for the entire walk, due to traffic on the lanes and the livestock on the footpath stretches. The dogs still enjoyed their walk though! Allow 2.5 hours.

Malmsmead (approximate post code EX35 6NU) can best be reached from the main A39 road. We were coming from Lynmouth so drove up the A39 (Countisbury Hill) out of the town, through Countisbury itself and about a mile or so further along the A39, turning right and down Hall Hill. Crossing the river via the bridge at Brendon and driving to Malmsmead along Leeford Lane. There is plenty of pay and display car parking for £2.00 per day (correct October 2017). The Cafe Deli can be found on the left just after the Doone Valley Camping site.

Walk Sections

Start to Cattle Grid
Start to Cattle Grid

Start point: 51.2161 lat, -3.7318 long
End point: 51.2127 lat, -3.7393 long

With your back to the Cafe Deli gift shop entrance, go up the tarmac lane (Post Lane) directly in front of you. You will go up quite steeply and bend round to the left in a couple of places. Ignore the left fork that has footpath signs down to a farm track, keep to the lane. After a fair uphill walk, you will come across a cattle grid across the road. This is Waypoint 1. Stop and enjoy the views out across Exmoor to your left.

Cattle Grid to Easter Lane
Cattle Grid to Easter Lane

Start point: 51.2127 lat, -3.7393 long
End point: 51.2117 lat, -3.7494 long

Pass through the gate alongside the cattle grid and stay with the lane. Remember, having crossed the cattle grid, you will be sharing this stretch of lane with sheep and ponies. This section simply continues along the lane to Waypoint 2 (Easter Lane). There is nothing of significance to mark it, it’s just that for some reason Post Lane changes its name to Easter Lane at this point. Ignore all of the footpath signs and bridleway signs indicating paths to Brendon. Carry on along Easter Lane.

Easter Lane to Ford
Easter Lane to Ford

Start point: 51.2117 lat, -3.7494 long
End point: 51.2095 lat, -3.7559 long

Continue along Easter Lane, the lane will descend into a gully with two fords. When we were here the fords were shallow and only a few feet wide, but judging by the white wooden depth gauge they are expected to flood at certain times. There is a pedestrian footbridge to the left of the depth gauge, but as mentioned in the overview, in heavy flooding I suspect the road may be impassable to walkers, so I hope you followed the introduction advice to take this into consideration when planning to go on this walk. At the second ford you are at Waypoint 3.

Ford to Brendon
Ford to Brendon

Start point: 51.2095 lat, -3.7559 long
End point: 51.2199 lat, -3.7628 long

After crossing the second ford, carry on up the steep hill on the lane. Easter Lane has now become Baze Lane. Just keep to the lane until you eventually reach a road junction. You will know you are close, because the heath of Exmoor seems to reach the Baze Lane just before this point. There is a road sign here that indicates Brendon to the right. Take this right turn, alongside another cattle grid, and you will be on Cross Lane. Keep to Cross Lane as it winds its way downhill and eventually reaches the main road junction in the centre of the village of Brendon and Waypoint 4. We had an amusing encounter whilst traveling down this lane, a man riding a quad bike came up to us and told us to watch out for a Landrover coming down the hill. It wouldn’t make any sound because it was coasting and it didn’t have any brakes! Before we could ask anything further he roared off on his quad bike to warn the people walking in front of us. We waited and waited but nothing came so we carried on walking down the hill looking over our shoulders regularly. We managed to reach the main junction in Brendon without incident. There we caught up with our quad bike rider and we chatted for a while. The Landrover did indeed turn up trundling very slowly down the hill behind a second 4WD vehicle in front slowing it down! It could only happen in Devon!

Brendon to Kissing Gate
Brendon to Kissing Gate

Start point: 51.2199 lat, -3.7628 long
End point: 51.2213 lat, -3.7406 long

Walk ahead to cross the river at the bridge (the same one as you would have driven across if you came the same route as we did from the A39). The bridge is quite long and single file so take care when sharing it with motor vehicles. On arriving at the other side, turn right into Hall Hill, there is a rather smart stone wall on the left just a little way up this lane. Carry on up the hill and follow the lane around to the left, you will come to a few buildings. There are chickens just over the fence and, to our great surprise, two ostriches! Keep to the lane and come to a footpath signposted right. Take the obvious footpath up the bank and access the steep wooden steps that lead to a wooden kissing gate. Go through the gate and up the hillside keeping to the well-worn path. You should see a wooden post eventually, with a yellow arrow pointing to the right. Follow this path to the right, it will climb steadily and steeply in places to the top of the ridge above the East Lyn river valley. You will follow this yellow waymarked footpath route all the way to the next kissing gate, accessed via a steep set of wooden steps. This is Waypoint 5.

Kissing Gate to River
Kissing Gate to River

Start point: 51.2213 lat, -3.7406 long
End point: 51.2233 lat, -3.7355 long

After the kissing gate, the path winds its way downhill until it comes to a wooden gate. Pass through the gate and over the footbridge immediately beyond. At the T junction at the far end of the bridge, turn left and go up the hillside going around to the right. You will come to an open area, a steel farm gate will be in front of you. Do not go through this gate, but instead go right then left around the hedgerow to a wooden gate (with the now familiar yellow marker). Go through this gate and you will find the path forks. Take the right-hand fork that goes downhill and is signposted to Oare and Malmsmead. (Do NOT go left which is signposted to County Gate). Continue down this path until you reach the East Lyn River. You are now at Waypoint 6.

River to Hookway Hill
River to Hookway Hill

Start point: 51.2233 lat, -3.7355 long
End point: 51.2165 lat, -3.7274 long

Follow this path all the way alongside the river. Go through a kissing gate and ahead of you there is a metal farm gate. Do NOT take this, but head through the wooden gate you can see in the right corner of the field, sticking close to the river on your right. Be aware that at the time we did the walk there were sheep in the fields on the left. Go through another gate and onto the driveway for a house which is on the left. There is a wooden road bridge across the river which is marked private. Stay on the public footpath, there is a sign at the road bridge signposted Malmsmead, follow this through another wooden gate. Keep to the river footpath until you come to a footbridge made of concrete, cross the river via this bridge. Follow the footpath round to the left between farm buildings. Go through the metal farm gate and come out on the lane which is called Hookway Hill.

Hookway Hill to End
Hookway Hill to End

Start point: 51.2165 lat, -3.7274 long
End point: 51.2161 lat, -3.7314 long

Turn right onto Hookway Hill and follow the lane all the way down to the very old looking stone bridge across the river. Cross the bridge to reach Malmsmead, where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2017 by iFootpath and the author Amentura 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.

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