I’m not a particularly adventurous rambler. I like to know exactly where I’m going, how long it’s going to take and what terrain I’m dealing with. Is there a car park? Pitstop for cake? So far, when BB and I have attempted some casual local jaunts we’ve ended up amongst a herd of horned cows, teetering on some stepping stones across a rushing river and negotiating a winding path with a steep vertical drop to our left. Not ideal with a three-year-old galloping ahead and a giant baby on your back.
Here’s our guide to the much talked about Daffodil Walk in Dunsford. Or, our version of it, as it’s still not clear we went the right way.
Our walk took us along the bank of the River Teign through beautiful woods with daffodils dotted about, like little glints of golden sunshine.
Things to look out for:
The massive river on your left. I was a tad worried as my two enthusiastically lobbed stones into the river. Didn’t want any big splashes, particularly when the river is high. But we stayed dry. What is it with boys and skimming stones? This simple activity entertained them for a good 30 minutes and could have gone on all afternoon.
Dolly’s seat. A delightful wooden bench with a beautiful view over the river.
A very impressive den. My boys loved it. Another 30 minutes of easy entertainment.
The daffodils. Don’t expect fields of golden daffodils (like sunflowers in France) but do expect pretty little daffs scattered through the forest.
Well, we spent more time throwing stones into the water than walking but I guess, according to my toddlers, this constitutes a good ramble. From my experience toddlers aren’t hardcore trekkers, they prefer to pootle, meander, make the most of poking ants or stopping to splash in puddles so this walk is spot on for that. Plus it’s easy underfoot, the path nice and wide. I think you can do a circuit but we stuck to the left paths and turned around when we thought the time was right. We didn’t have a buggy but Blue Eyes hitched a lift in my Ergo when his little chubby legs couldn’t carry him any further.
If you forgot to pack a picnic, you could pop into Dunsford for some food. There’s a well-stocked village shop, which also sells hot drinks. Next door to the shop you’ll find Ian’s Walled Garden Tea Rooms with a magical little garden out back and lots on the menu, including sandwiches and cakes.
There are some great pubs in the area, or venture into Moretonhampstead where you’ll find The Horse with its well-known, very tasty pizzas.
Getting there (the boring but essential bit)
Drive towards Moretonhampstead on the B3212. Enjoy the views. Dunsford is only about 20 minutes from Exeter, on the edge of Dartmoor National Park.
Just after you pass the turn offs for Dunsford village (there are two), you’ll come to Steps Bridge. You can either park just before the bridge on the right (if you’re coming from Dunsford) in a sort of lay by/edge of road. Or you can carry on over the bridge and park in one of the car parks on the right or left.
We opted for the car park on the right. The path you need to follow is just by the bridge (on the Dunsford village side). This meant we had to walk along the main road, back over the bridge before getting to the little footpath. It’s a little bit hairy walking along the road, although lots of people seem to do this so cars are aware. It’s only for a very short time. I carried my youngest.
The car park is free by the way but there are no loos.
Oh, and you’re in for a treat in May when the bluebells come out…
Pics (‘Throwing stones’ and ‘Beautiful bluebells’) courtesy of Helen Lisk Photography (One spring day – when the bluebells were out – Helen came to the woods with us to do a family photoshoot – she was fantastic).