The Tarka Trail

Cottages in Devon near The Tarka Trail

The Tarka Trail

Most people know of Tarka the Otter, the subject of that wonderful book (and subsequent film) by Henry Williamson, and it was during his sojourn here in the 1920's that Williamson found his inspiration when he became the adoptive 'parent' of an orphaned otter cub.

These days Tarka is everywhere, giving his name to teashops and guesthouses as well as a long-distance trail through the countryside which his creator wrote about.  The trail is based as far as possible on the route taken by Tarka along the rivers Taw and Torridge and extends for 180 miles (288km) from Dartmoor to Exmoor and the north coast, with access points along the way. Over 30 miles (48km) are on the trackbeds of disused railway lines and these are designated cycleways.

The part between Barnstaple and Great Torrington forms the Tarka Country Park, and horse riding is allowed between Torrington and Petrockstowe. The Tarka Rail Line runs for 39 miles through the rural heart of Mid and North Devon following the river valleys of the Yeo and the Taw. Providing a vital link between Exeter and North Devon's Commercial centre, Barnstaple, the line also passes through the market town of Crediton and many rural villages en route.

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