Chawleigh Walk 1
The walk starts from the centre of Chawleigh. Before commencing the walk you may wish to explore the centre of the village. The school, St James’ Church and village hall make a very attractive scene at the heart of the village. Take the road turning with the Chilcott Arms Inn, formerly known as the Portsmouth Arms Inn, on the corner and follow the road round to the left to reach a cobbled area in front of the school and village hall.
St James’ Church is worth visiting, with its unusual lychgate and fine rood screen dating, in parts, from the 15th century. The church was thoroughly restored in 1874 at a cost of over £1,000. The restoration may well account for the modern appearance of the tower. The graveyard provides a delightful backdrop to the church, especially in the spring when all the daffodils are in flower. opposite the church and school is the Jubilee Hall. This was originally the Congregational Hall, but was bought by the parish council in the 1920s to serve as the village hall.
- To start the walk, return to the main road and turn left to follow the road out of the village. Immediately on your left after turning is a short row of terraced houses. One of the houses, known as The Square, was the site of an interesting discovery in the 1970s when, during the course of some renovation work, a hidden staircase was revealed. one theory is that following a devastating fire in 1869 the remains of two cottages were incorporated into one and, in so doing, the staircase of one of the cottages was blocked in. It is thought that the staircase could be 300 or 400 years old.
- As you reach the edge of the village, look for a signpost on your right – to the left of a house called Greenways. Go through a gate and keeping close to the left-hand side, walk straight ahead to reach a stile in the corner. Cross the stile and walk diagonally to your right to reach a gate in the corner. Go through the gate and again diagonally to your right cross another field to a gate.
- In the summer these fields are full of wild flowers – buttercups, clover and sorrell – and butterflies. Walk alongside the hedgerow on your right to the corner of the field to exit into a lane by way of a gate.
- Cross this lane to join a track ahead. Follow this quiet track, pausing as it bends right to admire the spectacular views across the Mid Devon countryside to the hills and tors of Dartmoor. As with Chawleigh Walk 2, there are fine views of Cosdun (Cawsand) Hill and High Willhayes – the highest point on Dartmoor.
- Continue down this track. At the bottom of the hill, eave the track to follow a path on your left. After crossing a small stream, walk up the hill. Keeping to the middle of the field, make for a gap in the hedge.
- Cross the next field making for the top right-hand corner. Go through a gate and continue diagonally across the centre of the field. Go through another gate and turn immediately left, following the left-hand hedge. You may be able to catch sight of some red deer grazing in this area.
- Go through the gate on your left and walk downhill to reach a stream.
- After crossing the stream, climb over a stile and continue straight ahead looking out for a stile on your right. Cross the stile and continue up the hill keeping close to the hedge. At the top of the hill, go through the gate to join a track. Continue up the track which will eventually bring you out on to the iverton road. Turn left and continue along the main road back to the village centre and your starting point.
Image courtesy of Tom Jolliffe / St James’s Church grounds, Chawleigh /
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