Walk this May

 In AONB updates, Heritage & history, Nature & wellbeing

A brisk march to burn off some energy. A gentle amble to drink in the delights of nature. Discovering hidden gems in your neighbourhood. Finding respite during the toughest of times. Spending precious moments with family and friends, or a chance to escape for some time alone!

Whatever walking has meant to you in this past year, it has certainly been significant in the lives of many. Who would have thought that something as simple as going for a walk would have become such a lifeline?

May is National Walking Month and Naturally Healthy Month. So, walk this May and we’ll help you take the Blackdown Hills in your stride.

Below you’ll find some simple walks to get you started, with maps and instructions that you can download to take with you.

Please read our Visitor Advice for some helpful tips to make your time in the Blackdown Hills safe and enjoyable. As you explore the Blackdown Hills, please remember to follow the Countryside Code.

If you have little ones to entertain along the way, why not try out some of the activities in our Explore and Create videos.

Bluebells growing on huge ramparts in woodland at Hembury Hillfort

Bluebells at Hembury Hillfort. Photo: Clare Groom

Hembury Hillfort

Hembury Hillfort, near Payhembury, is the finest prehistoric hillfort in Devon, with massive defensive ramparts and a great place for a walk. Hembury is particularly beautiful place to explore at this time of year as the bluebells come out. It is also an excellent site to introduce children to life in the Iron Age. To help you get the most from your walk, watch our Hembury – Explore and Create video and these Hillfort videos before you set off.

To view Hembury from a distance, you can follow our Broadhembury and North Hill walking route. This is a superb 4.5-mile walk with magnificent views and the special atmosphere of the picturesque village of Broadhembury. It starts with a climb, then a flat section and finally a good downhill stretch.

Hemyock and along the Culm Valley

Hemyock to Owleycombe is a gentle three-mile walk with lovely views across to Culmstock Beacon and beyond. This walk can be linked to the Hemyock and Culm Valley Walk.

If you’re walking with young children, check out our Colour Spotting – Explore and Create video for an idea of what you can do along the way.

Wellington Monument

Take a Monumental Meander!

From Wellington town centre footpaths will take you all the way to the Wellington Monument. The Monument is only a few miles away, so it’s a great way to access the countryside if you don’t have transport from town.

It you’re looking for a very gentle stroll, you can park in the Wellington Monument carpark and amble along the tree-lined approach. It’s a great place for a picnic too!

Wellington Monument Meander map

Wellington Monument Meander map

Staple Hill Easy Access Trail

As the name suggests, Staple Hill Easy Access Trail enables everyone, including those with limited mobility, to enjoy the beautiful countryside the Blackdown Hills AONB has to offer. The viewpoints have picnic benches and seating and the kissing gates are big enough for wheelchairs and pushchairs. There are also no steep gradients and the wide compacted path surface makes pushing wheelchairs and pushchairs easy.

Staple Hill Easy Access Trail walk map

Chard to Chaffcombe

The is four-mile Chard to Chaffcombe walk will take you through some attractive and interesting countryside. There is one hill to climb, but you’ll be rewarded with a stunning panoramic view at the top. The route starts from the nature reserve car park at the end of Oaklands Road, Chard.

Otterhead Lakes

Otterhead Lakes is a beautiful nature reserve on the site of a former Victorian estate. This circular walk at Otterhead Lakes will take you around the various semi-natural habitats including wet woodland, dry deciduous woodland, grassland, and freshwater streams. It’s a great time of year for bluebells too!

Otterhead Lakes walk map

Otterhead Lakes walk map


Follow for more

Throughout May, discover some more of the routes you can take via our social media channels. Follow along and we’ll have you walking on air!

Instagram – @BlackdownHillsAONB

Facebook – @BlackdownHillsAONB

Twitter – @BlackdownsAONB

A view over the lake surrounded by vegetation

Otterhead Lakes. Photo: Clare Groom

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