Barry and Sandra’s Naps Lane Circuit – Wednesday 7th March

On Wednesday 7th March, seven members of Torbay Ramblers set off from Newton Poppleford in mild weather, which threatened showery rain, to walk the Naps Lane Circuit.
The route took us across fields from the village, down to the River Otter. On through more fields and 6 kissing gates to Yonder Hill, where a coffee break was enjoyed. There were lots of spring flowers (snowdrops, primroses, daffodils and violets) on the bank by the seat. (see photo) There was a brief shower of rain whilst we lingered, before we resumed our walk in the dry once more. From Yonder Hill Lane we crossed the busy B3178 into Naps Lane. This climbed steadily for 2 kilometres, and is part of the Clinton Estate. Naps Lane joins a small lane by Primrose Cottage, which is a stones throw from Hawkerland Cross, another photo opportunity. From here a short stretch along a quiet lane led to a public bridleway, which meandered gently up through woodland onto the open heath of the Hawkerland Valley.
After crossing the heath we negotiated the A3052 at Joneys Cross. This is part of the East Devon Way and took us onto the Aylesbeare Common Nature Reserve. We had our lunch stop here, in the rain, which thankfully stopped as we set off again.
Fortunately however, the views were good from this vantage point.
We then followed the path down to a house at Woolcombs, continuing on downhill to a small bridge over a stream. Here two of the group, namely Ann and Gill, decided to play ‘Pooh Sticks’. Everyone joined in the fun, but the ‘competition’ was declared a draw, as both sticks became lodged in debris in the water. There followed another uphill stretch through a sunken lane, until we eventually reached ‘Benchams’. Here we moved out onto the open heath again, following the path that finally came out at the crossroads leading to Back Lane. A short way along here we picked up a footpath signpost. This took us along a track behind residential gardens, bringing us back into Newton Poppleford and the finish. The whole route covered a distance of 7 miles.
On the journey home we stopped off for refreshments at Greendale Farm Shop and Cafe, an excuse for more photos.
This was Barry and Sandra’s first experience of leading a walk, and their next challenge is a longer circular trek from Wembury on 18 March. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Barry H