An easy walk taking in a cycle path, trains and glorious views
Distance: 6.25 miles (easy walking apart from one long hill)
Nearest refreshments: Okehampton Station or Meldon Viaduct (seasonal)
Parking: Okehampton Station car park SX 593945
Home of the Dartmoor Railway, this location will suit those less able as well as the walkers. There is a regular train service between Okehampton and Meldon so it’s possible to walk one way (2.5 miles) and ride the other. It’s also on the Granite Way cycle way (to Lydford) and the longer cycle route 27, but on this walk you’ll be leaving it at Meldon Viaduct.
Starting at the station, take the lane opposite and a little further along on the left is a granite bollard and the path is marked route 27. Turn here and continue following the signs which will take you to Meldon Viaduct.
There are things to look out for on the way. You can glimpse Okehampton Castle on your right, near the start. Further along there is a signpost and steps on your right to Emmett’s Folly. If you wish to take a look, it gives good views of the area.
The path runs alongside the railway and you can spot the trains going up and down the tracks. There are also sidings with empty carriages.
Meldon Quarry, which opened in 1895, also lies along here and there is an information board to the left of the path.
Not too long after here you’ll come to the station at Meldon, which has seasonal refreshments. The line was closed in the 1960s and used to be part of the main route between London and Plymouth. It’s lovely to see the now private line still in use today.
You’ll be taking the path to the left here, but it’s worth having a meander over the viaduct (SX 565924) and back to take in this remarkable structure. Meldon viaduct was built in 1874 as a single track, and become a double track in 1878. From here you can also spot Meldon Dam, which was built in 1972.
Just before taking a look at the viaduct, you may have spotted a signpost to your left, marked moor and reservoir. This is the path to follow and takes you down steps, under the viaduct where you can be even more impressed at its structure.
Go left at the bottom of the steps and follow the narrow path. This next bit cuts out the road, so when the path forks, keep to the uphill left one, then not long after go right along a grassy bit and onto the road.
After a short distance go right and you’ll see the quarry car park. Keep going through the gate immediately in front of you and past the first building. You’ll see a path right by the second lot of buildings, which veers left, so take this one. There’s also an ruined building here and a stone bridge.
Also remember to keep looking back here and and up the hill for lovely views of the viaduct.
Continue on this track and when it splits, take the right path up the valley by the stream, and not the one up to the stone wall.
This is uphill stretch of the walk. It’s very pretty by Red-a-Ven brook (SX 567921) and there are small rapids to admire.
The path continues up and bears left, away from the stream. When it forks, take either one as both will put you at the corner of a stone wall (SX 572918).
This is a good spot for a picnic lunch, or at least a rest after the hill to admire the views. You can also spot the dramatic Yes Tor from here.
Follow the wall. It’s still a little uphill, but not very steep and you’ll have lovely views to the north all the way. Once you crest the hill there are views all around - dramatic tors to your right and an open panorama ahead.
Keep following the wall until you meet the road, then continue along the road. Okehampton Camp will be on your left.
Once you reach a small stone bridge and cattle grid, go left and then immediately right and keep on the road, first level and then downhill.
On your left, don’t miss Fitz’s Well (SX 592938) and cross by the side of the road. There are legends surrounding this about mischievous piskies leading unwary traveller’s around in circles in foggy weather and how drinking spring water can break the spell. Luckily for us, it was a sunny day and not a piskie in sight.
Where the road takes a sharp left beside two gates, take the left hand gate and follow the wall a short way then the path goes diagonally left across the field.
As you come to the bottom hedge, the path goes right and follows along the fence until you come to a footbridge, which takes you over the A30.
On the other side go down the hill, left by the redundant stile and follow the path until you reach a gate. Turn right here and not long after go right which takes you to the station footbridge which is next to Okehampton Youth Hostel. The hostel was converted from a former station goods shed in the 1990s.
Cross the footbridge and you’re at Okehampton Station and in the right place for the lovely cakes which are served in the buffet.
For information on Dartmoor Railway click here