Tarka Trail



walking the Tarka Trail

The majority of the Tarka Trail is walking. The south western section is a shared track suitable for cycling and walking and the last section is a train journey, but the rest is accomplished through walking.

The Tarka Trail is intended to be walked in an anti-clockwise direction starting out from Barnstaple and taking the ‘North Loop’ walking up to Lynton on the north coast via the Two Moors Way, then looping back to Barnstaple via the South West Coast Path.

Once back in Barnstaple, the next section is the ‘South Loop’ which also makes use of the South West Coast path, but leaves the path at Bideford and turns east toward Okehampton.

You will use footpaths and bridleways to walk through towns and villages, woods and riverside, moors and fields as well as the splendour of the dramatic coastal views on the SWCP.

Walking conditions

You will encounter a variety of walking conditions. Muddy footpaths, grassy footpaths and gravel footpaths. Both the Two Moors Way and the South West Coast path can reach great heights and the South West Coast Path can be very exposed in places.

How long does it take to walk the Tarka Trail?

There are too many factors to give an accurate time, but based roughly on covering 20 miles per day, it could be achieved in approx. 9 days.

Most people tend to do sections of the Trail such as Barnstpale to Lynton via the Two Moors Way which is approx 24 miles and can be achieved in under 8 hours (depending on fitness).

If the whole trail, or even sections of the trail are too much for you, then there are some smaller, circular routes along the trail that can be achieved in 2-4 hours.

Does the Tarka Trail offer any facilities?

Once out in the countryside and on the moors there are very few facilities in the way of toilets, shops, cafes etc. You will be passing through or near villages that may have a village shop. The larger towns of Barnstaple, Lynton, Ilfracombe, Braunton, Bideford, Torrington and Okehampton offer all the facilities you will require including toilets, accommodation, parking, fuel, shops etc.

Do mobile phones work on the Tarka Trail?

In general, yes. Most of North Devon has a good mobile phone signal and GPS works well too. However, it is worth considering that there are some ‘shadows’ where the signal weakens, in particular around Exmoor where signals are disrupted by hills, so please do not rely on your phone. If using GPS, we offer a downloadable file containing co-ordinates which work on mapping apps and GPS devices.