The East Devon Way and other walks

A wanderer's roundup of the best walks in East Devon

This article was written on 5 April 2024
and is a 4 minute read

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Coastal walks, riverside strolls, or moorland hikes, nearby East Devon offers a diverse range of walking opportunities for visitors.

East Devon Way

The East Devon Way is a long-distance walking route that stretches for approximately 40 miles from Exmouth to Lyme Regis. This scenic trail takes walkers through wooded valleys, rolling hills, and picturesque villages, offering opportunities to experience the region’s natural beauty.

The trail begins in the coastal town of Exmouth, which lies at the eastern end of the Jurassic Coast, (see below). From Exmouth, the route heads inland, passing through fields and woodlands. You’ll find a number of towns steeped in history: Budleigh Salterton, known for its pebble beach and historic buildings; Sidmouth, a Regency town with beautiful gardens and a promenade; and Colyton, one of the most picturesque villages in East Devon.

To walk the entire route would take between 2 and 6 days, but there are multiple circular routes that are more easily achievable in a shorter time. We particularly love the views out to sea from the Fire Beacon Circular in Sidmouth. Download the guidebook for free.

Sidmouth Promenade (Maria Thorne)


Jurassic Coast (South West Coast Path)

The Jurassic Coast is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its of geological significance and stunning scenery. A long section falls within East Devon and there are plenty of coastal walks, offering spectacular views of dramatic cliffs and hidden beaches. From the start at Orcombe Point, Exmouth, marvel at the very oldest layers of red mudstone and sandstone that were laid down in a desert some 250 million years ago, (in fact part of the Triassic, rather than Jurassic period).

Highlights of this area include walks from the coastal towns of Sidmouth, Beer and Seaton. Try this five-mile Beer to Branscombe circular route and be sure to look out for the colour changes in the rock as “newer” cliffs slowly emerge along the coastline. Maps and guides are available on the Jurassic Coast website.

The Jurassic Coast of course makes up a section of the much longer South West Coast Path, which provides plentiful walking opportunities around the entire south west peninsula.  For those looking for information about accessible walking near the coast, they provide a guide to easy access walks in East Devon on their website.

The start of the Jurassic Coast at Orcombe (Maria Thorne)

The River Otter

The River Otter is a tranquil waterway that meanders through the East Devon countryside, providing scenic walking opportunities along its banks. With its source in the Blackdown Hills, near the pretty Otterhead Lakes, the river offers several routes along its course, allowing walkers to enjoy the peaceful surroundings and spot wildlife such as otters, kingfishers, and herons.

Looking down the River Otter (Maria Thorne)

The River Otter reaches the sea at Budleigh Salterton, known for its pebble beach and colourful beach huts. Recent works to convert more of the Otter Estuary area into a new wetland nature reserve have included the creation of some easy, flat paths for walkers. There are footpaths on either side of the estuary. The western path is accessible by wheelchairs. Park at Lime Kilns in Budleigh and follow the estuary inland to reach Otterton, with its Mill (famous for cream teas!) Read our previous blog on local wetlands.

The wetlands at Budleigh Salterton (Maria Thorne) 

Woodbury Common

If you enjoy the wide-open, wild beauty of Dartmoor, you’ll love Woodbury Common, which includes heathland, woodland, grassland, and wetland habitats. This nature reserve is famously situated on ancient pebblebeds and is one of the largest areas of common land in Devon. According to the Pebblebed Conservation Trust’s website:  “240 million years in the making, the East Devon pebblebed heaths are amongst the most highly regarded conservation sites in Europe”.

There are several waymarked routes crisscrossing the common, ranging from gentle strolls to more challenging hikes. Try this Woodbury Common Circular, which starts at Woodbury Castle, the site of an Iron Age hill fort. Read our previous blog on Devon’s historic hill forts.

The wide open spaces of Woodbury Common (Maria Thorne)