Spring Walks in Devon

Devon, with its diverse landscape, offers splendid walking opportunities in spring, especially since popular routes can be a little quieter at this time of year.

This article was written on 22 January 2024
and is a 5 minute read

< Return to listing

What time of year do you feel closest to nature? For us, it’s the spring. It’s that sense of rebirth and the relief of seeing familiar flowers – such as daffodils and crocuses – pop back into life after a long and chilly winter. Not only that, but the sun has recharged its batteries by now, making the birds sing; you can join them in enjoying the increased warmth from its rays.

Grand Western Canal

Swans and their nearly-grown cygnets on the Swans Neck loop

Let’s start our walking at the Grand Western Canal. Our favourite section of this local waterway provides a fairly easy and flat, 2 mile walk. This loop, known as the Swan’s Neck walk at Halberton offers your best chance of spotting elusive kingfishers hopping from branch to branch. You’re most likely to see ducklings or cygnets learning to paddle the waters – alongside kayakers and stand-up-paddle-boarders of course! The yellow and purple wildflowers along the towpath really come to life from March onwards, framing the spring lambs and calves that gambol in the surrounding fields. Stop for cake and a cuppa at the Swan’s Neck Cafe, or stock up on local produce at Halberton Farm Shop.

This is a family walk mostly off-road, which is possible with a buggy, but wheelchair users should be aware that there is a very steep hill between Halberton and the Greenway Car park.

Spring Displays at Knightshayes

Visitors in the garden in spring at Knightshayes, Devon ©National Trust Images/John Millar

Knightshayes Court, a National Trust property near Tiverton, boasts stunning gardens with vibrant spring displays. Enjoy an easy, circular walk around the estate. This walk is over rough ground and is often muddy, so take wellies! The walled garden in particular is interesting in late spring, when the garden that would have supplied the house with all its vegetables (and still supplies Tiverton Pannier market), is really starting to flourish.

The formal & woodland garden is partly accessible, with hard surfaced step-free path around much of it. Please be aware of slopes, gravel paths and steps down to the terraces.

South West Coast Path

Daffodils at Jacobs Ladder
Daffodils at Jacobs Ladder Image: Maria Thorne

For something a little more dramatic, the South West Coast Path is very easy to access…just head for the sea! Every inch of the coast path is worth exploring, but we’re located very close to the East Devon section of this well-marked coastal pathway. The air is always fresher near the coast in spring time and clearer for spectacular panoramas. If you’re up for a challenge, climb Peak Hill for stunning views down towards Sidmouth.

Sidmouth itself is cloaked in yellow in spring, due to one man’s bequest to the town. The “Million Bulb Project” plants thousands of bulbs each year and seeks out new varieties. The display on the hills above Jacob’s Ladder beach is truly a sight to behold!

Sidmouth from High Peak



Beautiful bluebells on-site

If it’s English bluebells you’re hunting, then late April is usually the best time to spot these dainty wild hyacinths. You have no further to venture than Hembury Fort, a scheduled monument between Forest Glade and Honiton, whose plateau is a mass of bluebells in spring. Another Iron Age hillfort near Sidmouth, Blackbury Camp in East Devon is famous for its bluebell display. The circular walk around the camp provides breath-taking views.

Bluebells at Hembury Fort
Bluebells at Hembury Fort – Maria Thorne

Rare spring visitors

Nearby Aylesbeare Common is known for being a habitat for rare Dartford Warblers from late spring and through the summer. “One Magazine” have published a scenic, circular walk on the pebblebed heaths of Aylesbeare Common.

Spring in the Blackdown Hills

Naturally, being right in the heart of the mid-Devon countryside, you can simply pop on your boots and start hiking from the park gates!

Our special location, on the edge of the Blackdown Hills AONB, makes Forest Glade the perfect base for a springtime ramble. Find dozens of walking routes on the Blackdown Hills website. Nature really comes into her own. For example, buzzards are present all year round, but become particularly active in spring time. You will often hear them before you can see them circling above. Swallows and nightjars also visit during the season. Now that the days are drawing out, take an evening walk down the hill to Kentisbeare and, as well as noticing (and smelling!) all the wild garlic that flowers abundantly in spring on the way, you might also be greeted by the calls of swifts on entering in the village. Usually arriving in early May, you can often see and hear these rarities making use of the specialised nesting boxes in Kentisbeare Church.

Ask us about more accessible walks nearby and do let us know where you go and what you spot this season. Each spring walk in Devon really is a feast for the senses!