Sunday, 14 May 2017

A river walk along The Templer Way

The River Teign 
We went for a very different type of walk yesterday along a short stretch of The Templer Way from Newton Abbot towards Teignmouth. The whole of this hiking route covers eighteen miles from Haytor on Dartmoor to Teignmouth on the coast tracing the route by which granite was exported from Dartmoor via the unique Haytor Granite Tramway and the Stover Canal. We picked it up from Forde Road in Newton Abbot, parking near the Teignbridge Propellers premises which looks to be making use of old railway buildings. Forde Road has parking restrictions on weekdays, but not at weekends.

Early on we crossed Aller Brook where there is a small nature reserve sandwiched between the A380 and the industrial estate. A noticeboard there had information about regular events including birdspotting walk and maintenance parties so if you are local and want to get involved, take a wander down there to check the poster. I couldn't find it reproduced online so if anyone knows of a link, please Comment below.

Deciding on this walk from looking at our Ordnance Survey map of the area meant we didn't really know what to expect and our imaginings of a standard footpath alongside a river were only correct for about ten minutes after which we were confronted with this signpost:

As luck would have it, the tide was about as low as it was possible to get so we had plenty of time to complete our five miles to Coombe Cellars pub and back. However the Way is literally along the edge of the river so is covered by water at high tide! Much of this part of the route is over mossy shingle so is slippery under foot and I was frequently glad of my trusty boots and to borrow one of Dave's hiking poles to aid my balance. It's a beautiful walk with impressive views across the river and estuary. We saw a white heron and a gaggle of twenty-one swans as well as geese and seagulls.

The Way was almost completely flat which made a nice change from the more usual Devon undulations although this didn't mean it was easy walking. We both felt like we had more of a workout than the two hours and twenty minutes timespan would suggest! Bizarre sights such as trees with their trunks washed pale by the tide or with seaweed flung into their branches added interest and keeping an eye on the high tide line showed us that walkers really could get themselves stranded along here if they weren't careful! Drawing near to our turn-round point, the Teign widened considerably making its two channels look like tiny threads of streams in the midst of the muddy silt.

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