Wistlandpound Reservoir is the perfect destination for a short walk with some nice picnic spots.
Why it’s on my list
Whenever I hear the phrase ‘a nice short walk’, Wistlandpound Reservoir frequently appears alongside it. Sometimes you just want to go for a short stroll in beautiful and peaceful surroundings, leaving the longer walks for a day when you’ve got more oomph. So, on a fine Saturday afternoon when we simply didn’t want to sit inside, we drove the short distance to Wistlandpound Reservoir for a walk.
Location: 22-minute drive from Barnstaple.
Parking: Pay and Display car park. £1 for up to 2 hours. £2 for all day.
Length of walk: About 40 minutes. 1.58 miles.
Type of walk: Circular. Easy. Suitable for prams and wheelchairs. Good for dogs; they can come off the lead, but exercise your own judgement.
This is perhaps the most accessible walk in North Devon; that alone makes it a must. The footpaths are well maintained and there are no steps, with inclines and descents not a problem thanks to gentle slopes. From the photo below you can see the quality of the footpath.
The setting is calm and quiet, and there are a number of great spots for a picnic. We made a real afternoon of it by bringing along a couple of sandwiches, some towels and a book each. Hours went by at a leisurely pace. It wasn’t a challenge, and it didn’t have the rewarding views of a coastal walk, but sometimes that is exactly what you need.
Parking at the Pay and Display car park, we headed to the gate at the top of the slope, which led to the circular footpath. This starts the walk in a clockwise direction. Simply follow the path. You will come across a few fun points of interest along the way, such as the below.
You’ll descend a slope down to a pagoda. Carry on round the path and you’ll come level with the water, where there are a couple of good picnic benches. From these you may see people set off on canoeing trips; the Calvert Trust has a centre here and offers a number of outdoor activities to people with physical, learning, behavioural and sensory disabilities and their carers.
Keeping along the footpath, you will come across a wooden footbridge about halfway round. A little stream runs underneath, which is nice to dip your toes in if you like.
Carry on round a little further and you will come across a hut. Below is the view from inside. If you’re a keen birdwatcher, or just fancy a dabble, this is the ideal spot to sit quietly, keep your eyes peeled and see what nature can deliver.
It’s a simple route from there onwards – carry on round the path, walk along the wide, straight edge of the reservoir and head up the slope back to the car park.
Thinking beyond myself, Wistlandpound is the perfect destination for an afternoon stroll for all, and is particularly good for prams, wheelchairs and those with mobility difficulties.
The highlight for me has got to be just sitting in the sunshine with a sandwich, towel and a good book.
Not the best
Unless you decide to run around the path as fast as you can, it’s not going to feel like you’re exercising in the heart-rate-raising sense.
Which way you go round really depends on what kind of slope you would rather have to go up or down. If you follow the route outlined above, you will have a rough footpath to go down and a concrete road to go up. If you would rather go up a rough footpath and down a concrete road, do the reverse of the above and walk around the reservoir in an anticlockwise direction.