For fantastic views over Barnstaple, nothing beats Codden Hill. Here is a great circular walk starting in Bishop’s Tawton.
Why it’s on my list
I haven’t walked up Codden Hill since my childhood, but I see it almost every day on my journey into Barnstaple for work. As you cross the old bridge over the River Taw, heading into town, you can see it rising past Rock Park in the distance, like it’s watching over all the buildings and people in the valley. I thought it was about time I relived that part of my childhood and reminded myself of the fantastic view at the top.
Location: Start in Bishop’s Tawton, close to an excellent pub called the Chichester Arms. If you’re organised it would be well worth doing this walk and then going for food there; they do AMAZING steaks, as I discovered a couple of months ago.
Parking: There is limited free parking on the main road through Bishop’s Tawton outside the church.
Length of walk: 5.1 miles – allow 2-3 hours.
Type of walk: Circular with a climb that ranges from shallow to moderate. Very steep descent.
This is an excellent walk for a sunny day, and a great way of getting to the top of Codden Hill without much of a steep climb. This circular walk incorporates amazing views of Barnstaple, Landkey, Bishop’s Tawton, Tawstock and miles of green fields, with a leisurely climb up to it and a steep, quick descent after it.
The climb up to Codden Hill is actually towards the end of the walk, but the journey to the start of the ascent is lovely and very interesting in itself. Pass by a quarry, walk through woodland alongside a river and enjoy the views over Landkey as you slowly get higher and higher. The build up is just as enjoyable as the view.
The route is written out very clearly here: http://www.bishopstawton.net/btsite/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Bishops-Tawton-to-Landkey-Circular-Walk.pdf
Who doesn’t live a summit? Getting to the top of Codden Hill felt like an achievement – I’m probably bigging myself up a little too much, it’s not that high! But there’s something in getting through a climb and the reward at the end that you couldn’t experience without putting in that work; that reward being those amazing views.
Not the best
There’s very little I could say that wasn’t enjoyable about this walk. There was one nervous moment where we had to walk through a field with some horses in it. They were very near the stile so we had to get quite close. They were quite wary of us too, and I was ready to break into a run at any moment! The male horse moved towards us, and we scooted off, but it was all fine really. Just keep your wits about you if you see horses.
If you’re not feeling like a picnic, make sure to have lunch or dinner at the Chichester Arms afterwards. It is so good, and another reward to enjoy after that climb!