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Coombland Wood Near Exeter

Plantations, with their pines lined up like bored soldiers on parade aren’t my cup of tea, pint of ale or single malt scotch but, with lockdown, needs must. This walk, with fine views over the Exe valley is only three miles from Exeter, away from any village and therefore, presumably, legal.

Length depends how much you want to explore the woods, but say three to five miles.

Drive from Exeter via Redhills and at Whitstone Cross bear right onto Rowhorne Road. The path starts on your right just past Rowhorn House Farm (there’s a footpath sign). It’s a bridleway and, for a third of a mile, it’s a stroll past fields. It’s also where the best views are. Beautiful. After that, you enter Coombland wood through a gate. Soon after, at a T junction, turn right. This is a working wood, and these tracks are made and used by logging vehicles. Thick, gloopy mud filled them, so we chose to walk through the trees alongside. Pleasant enough but the highpoint was spotting Wendy and her lovely little (shire?) horse. I took a picture and she asked I post it on facebook. I gave up facebook years ago but how could I refuse?

Now, the wood is extensive and tracks numerous and maze like. Rather than tell you exactly where to go (you’d never be able to follow it) I suggest you walk the half a mile to a country lane and turn left there into the wood proper. You’ll get lost, so you’ll need GPS find your way back to the gate you entered at. If you don’t have GPS you’ll need to retrace your steps. Frankly the trees by the track are the same as the trees away from the track, so you won’t miss much. Having said that, that feeling of isolation in any large wood and the scent of wet earth and pine is not to be sneezed at (unless you’re allergic to pine).

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Location: Exeter, Devon.

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