GPS Cycle and Walking Routes

Walk around Barnstaple

2 miles (4 km)

This walk makes use of three of the waymarked trails which pass through the town. You'll follow sections of the Barnstaple Heritage Trail, the Tarka Trail and the Macmillan Way to explore the town before enjoying riverside footpaths along the River Taw.
The walk starts in the town centre where you can pick up the Barnstaple Heritage Trail which takes you to some of the significant buildings in the town. Highlights include the Queen Anne's Walk(formerlyThe Mercantile Exchange), completed in 1713 as a meeting place for the town's merchants. Today the building houses the Barnstaple Heritage Centre and the area in front is inset with a mosaic depicting Barnstaple's history. There's also the noteworthy Dodderidgian Librarywhich was founded in 1667 and is a Grade II listed building. It represents one of the earliest town libraries in England which continues in existence since its foundation.
After exploring the town the route picks up riverside footpaths along the River Taw. You'll pass Barnstaple Long Bridge an interesting medievalbridgewhich links the town with Tawstock. The path heads south east along the Tarka Trail, leading you through Rock Park, before crossing the river on a footbridge. On the other side of the river you pick up the Macmillan Way and follow it north to Barnstaple Long Bridge which you then cross. From here it is a short walk back into the town where the route finishes.
To continue your walking around the town pick up the South West Coast Path and head west to visit the lovely settlements of Appledore, Instow and Bideford. There's lovely walks here along the River Torridge and through the nearby Northam Burrows Country Park.

Barnstaple OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking

Barnstaple Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking

Walks near Barnstaple

  • Tarka Trail - This wonderful walk through Devon follows the path taken by Tarka the Otter in the book of that name
  • Macmillan Way - This epic long distance path links Boston in Lincolnshire to Abbotsbury in Dorset
  • South West Coast Path - This incredible 600 mile walk follows the coast from Minehead in Somerset, through Devon and Cornwall and onto the finish point at Poole in Dorset
  • Appledore - This pretty Devon village is located at the mouth of theRiver Torridge, near the towns of Barnstaple and Bideford
  • Bideford - This attractive North Devon town has some lovely walks along the estuary of theRiver Torridge
  • Northam Burrows Country Park - Explore over 600 acres of grassy coastal plain, salt marsh, sand dunes and grasslands in this coastal country park in Devon
  • Codden Hill - This circular walk climbs to Codden Hill from the village of Bishop's Tawnton in North Devon
  • Great Torrington - This attractive historic town in Devon is a lovely place to explore on foot
  • Arlington Court - This walk explores the grounds of the National Trust's Arlington Court on the edge of Exmoor in north Devon.
  • Umberleigh - This little North Devon village has some nice riverside trails along the River Taw.

Further Information and Other Local Ideas

Just to the south of the town you can enjoy a climb to the viewpoint on Codden Hill from the neighbouring village of Bishop's Tawton. Here you'll find the monument to Caroline Thorpe, wife of local MPJeremy Thorpe who became embroiled in the Thorpe scandal of the 1970s. There's also some splendid views over the area and waterside trails along the pretty Venn Stream to enjoy.
If you follow the Tarka Trail south west from the town it will take you to nearby Great Torrington. The historic town is well worth a visit with a number of listed buildings, riverside trails and a splendid viewpoint on Castle Hill to enjoy.
A few miles to the south there's the little village of Umberleigh where there's pleasant walks along the River Taw and views of the Railway Viaduct. The village has a train station on the Tarka Line between Portsmouth Armsand Chapelton.


Barnstaple, towards the High Street - - 405156

Barnstaple: towards the High Street In Joy Street, looking west-south-west. West Devon clay probably provided the material for the light-coloured bricks used on the building on the right

The new Taw Bridge - - 1357932

The new Taw Bridge viewed here from the cycleway was opened in May 2007 and carries Barnstaple's western by-pass over the river.

Penrose Almshouses, Litchdon Street, Barnstaple (geograph 2572479)

Penrose Almshouses, Litchdon Street

River Yeo, Barnstaple - - 1346468

River Yeo, Barnstaple. The last, tidal, reach of the Yeo before it joins the Taw just past the Civic Centre on the left. On the far side is Rolle's Quay.

River Taw, Barnstaple - - 218223

River Taw, Barnstaple, near to Sticklepath, Devon, Great Britain. Viewed from the Long Bridge.

RumshamBridge OnRiverTaw BarnstapleDevon

Rumsham Bridge (foreground) over River Taw, North Devon, looking downstream from Bishops Tawton with Barnstaple in background

The new Taw Bridge and River Taw, Barnstaple - - 1353184

The new Taw Bridge over the River Taw at Barnstaple is silhouetted by the evening sun

Queen Anne's Walk, Barnstaple - - 275649

Queen Anne's Walk, Barnstaple A Grade 1 listed building completed in 1713 as a merchant's exchange. Under the statue of Queen Anne in the centre is the Tome Stone, where bargains and deals were struck ("on the nail") in front of witnesses. The area in front of the walk was the site of "The Great Quay" in Elizabethan times and Barnstaple provided 5 ships against the Spanish Armada. Today the building houses the Barnstaple Heritage Centre and the area in front is inset with a mosaic depicting Barnstaple's history.

GPS Files

GPX File

Barnstaple.gpx (On Desktop:Right Click>Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold>Download Linked File)

Memory Map Route

Barnstaple.mmo (On Desktop:Right Click>Save As. On Ipad/Iphone:Click and hold >Download Linked File)