Morchard Bishop Walk 1
The Morchard Bishop Walk 1 starts from the playing field car park lying north of the village.
- Turn left and south from the car park into Wood Lane. Proceed to junction of roads and turn to the right. Follow the road to a T-junction. The Methodist Chapel is opposite.
- Turn left up the hill into Fore Street, which takes you past the long attractive row of 18th century thatched cottages; the longest continuous row in Devon. Behind the cottages was once the village green. At the top of the village on the right, is the village cross sign-post with a track beside it. Follow the track and go through the gateway to the left (footpath 14).
- You are now following part of the Two Moors Way for a short distance. Continue diagonally across, downwards slightly to the right. Go through the right-hand gate and over the next three stiles, with the farm buildings on the left. This is called The Parks and considered to be where the Bishop has his deer park. The old Morchard races were also held somewhere nearby. After the third stile, there are panoramic views of Dartmoor. Continue on down hill following the hedge on your left through the gate.
- Turn left in to a small track, and over the stile at the bottom. Bearing diagonally right, keep the two large oaks on your right. This leads to another stile. After the stile turn left and follow hedge round a left-hand corner and pick up footpath 12.
- Travelling east, pass through or over a gate, keeping close to the hedge on left, along edge of field to another gate. Pass through gate, with hedge now on the right. At this point there is a nice view of the church. Continue across field through rust-red stock-gates into the road. This is Frost Cross and opposite is the forge.
- Turn left and then, almost immediately on your right, beside the forge’s cob wall, is a sign. This is the start of foot-path 9.
- From the sign-post, follow a small track with the cob wall on your right and pass through a large gate then a small one. Ignore gateway on the left and follow hedge on the left to the stile near two large oaks. After the stile, walk diagonally up across the field to where a hedge corner juts into the field, marked with a signpost. Having reached this corner (not clearly visible from stile) follow hedge on right to Bradgate Lane (footpath 8). To the right across the lane is a signpost on a small raised bank where primroses, periwinkles and celandines flourish. Footpath 8 continues along this bank, over the stile, diagonally right across the meadow with the church coming closer.
- Cross the footbridge into the sunken lane, where badger tracks can sometimes be seen. The lane, which can be wet at times, rises steeply up and down as one skirts the edge of the cemetery. Continue past a small hut on right with the 15th century church of St Mary further to the right (this is worth a visit as it has a beautiful interior and there is also a seat outside with splendid views of Dartmoor). Go through the church gates opposite the attractive Victorian stone-built Primary Church School.
- Should you wish to stop for a light snack, turn left after the church gates, follow Church Street to the T-junction, turn left and on the immediate left you will see the old coaching inn, the London Inn. Being on the old coach road from London-Exeter-Barnstaple, travellers must have been thankful to stop here. To return to the car park, turn right, cross the road and to the right of the school house there is a stile with a stone commemorating the opening of the Two Moors Way in 1976. Cross over the stile into the field (footpath 4).
- From here there are views of Morchard Wood. Follow hedge on left down to the bottom of the field. Turn left either through the gate or over the stile, joining FP1. The path now turns towards the lower part of the village. Follow the hedge on the left which passes the back of Old Rectory Gardens (the Rectory was pulled down in the 1950s). Tucked into the hedge on the left and just before a cottage is a small gate. Go through the gate into a small stony road, continue past old cottages on right, turn right at crossroads and continue back up Wood Lane to the car park and playing fields.
Image courtesy of Martin Bodman / Morchard Bishop: oak tree in new leaf /
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