“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” said Friedrich Nietzsche

Walking is truly in abundance around Melrose Cottage, whatever level of fitness and ability you have, you will find something to do close by. 

Okehampton Town Trail

Okehampton Town Trail is an easy route, and you can explore some local attractions on foot. Turning right out of Melrose Cottage, walk to the end of the road (Station Road), turn left onto Mill Road then left again on Castle Road, you will walk past the historic Okehampton Workhouse. Continuing along the road, cross Lover’s Meet Bridge to reach Castle Lane and Okehampton Castle, the 14th Century remains of the largest castle in Devon. You will not regret bringing a packed lunch and enjoying it in the delightful riverside picnic area. Stay on the same side of the river and head back into town, cutting left on onto New Road, you will pass the Old Prison before crossing West Street to walk alongside the West Okement River, to the confluence with the East Okement River. Walk back along the East Okement towards town, onto North Street – when you get to the T-junction with East Street/Fore Street, cross the road, turn right and walk around St James’ Chapel onto St James Street, turning right onto Kempley Road to get to Simmons Park (named after Sydney Simmons), before heading home to Melrose Cottage.  Click here for a useful map of the route.

Victorian Landscape Walk

A slightly longer circular walk is the Victorian Landscape Walk (8km/5miles – or longer if starting on foot from Melrose Cottage). This is another walk taking in some historic local sights. The starting point for this walk is Meldon Viaduct. You can choose to either drive (10 minutes) to Meldon Reservoir Car Park, or it is very much accessible by foot from Melrose Cottage. Simply turn left, walk along Station Road until you reach Okehampton Station, where there is access to the Granite Way, which you can walk along to reach the Meldon Viaduct. The walk starts by descending the steps by the Viaduct, continuing along a public bridleway to the West Okement River, where you should cross the bridge and turn left, past Meldon Pool on your right, up a steep track to a field where you should bear left, through a gate onto a track.  There are good views of Meldon Reservoir, continue on to take in views of Yes Tor and High Willhays, the two highest points on Dartmoor. You will then continue on before descending into Sourton, if you turn right by Sourton Church, St Thomas à Becket, you will find your way back onto the Granite Way from which you can return home to Melrose Cottage. For a more detailed description of this route, click here

Two Castles Trail

For a longer mission, why not try the Two Castles Trail, a 24 mile waymarked walking route between  Okehampton Castle the 14th Century remains of the largest castle in Devon and Launceston Castle in Cornwall, the focus of which is an even older 13th century tower. To get there you will need to cross to the other side of the River Tamar, which marks the border between Devon and Cornwall. You can divide this route into four sections, each of which take a day to walk, and use the regular bus services to get to/from Melrose Cottage in between each of the stages. You will be steeped in historic England as the route takes in a Bronze Age settlement near Bridestow, an Iron Age Hillfort in Burley Wood, and Galford Down, the site of a 9th Century battle between the Saxons and the Celts. Take a look at this leaflet for a more detailed description of the route.