Morchard Bishop Walk 2
It is possible to park either in the playing field car park to make a longer walk, or Church Street near the entrance to the churchyard, except when the children leave school.
From the car park, turn left into Wood Lane as for Morchard Bishop Walk 1. At the crossroads, turn left (signposted) into old track between cottages and Old Rectory Gardens. Go through a small gate on the left just past the last cottage (footpath 1). Follow the right hedge to the first gate and stile and turn right up towards church (this is now footpath 4). Cross over the stile at the top of the field, turn right and cross over the road to the church gates. Proceed from this point if your car is parked in Church Street.
- Take footpath 6. Pass through the church gate and follow the tarmac path with St Mary’s 15th century church tower on the left. Continue past the church main entrance and to the right is a spectacular view of Dartmoor. The church stands at 600 feet and is visible for many miles around. A meteor struck a pinnacle during a storm in the 1950s. Continue through the little wrought-iron gate made at the local forge at Frost Cross in the valley below. Carry on in a straight line passing a fine line of old trees and go through a small gate. Cross the road to the opposite field gate and signpost (footpath 7).
- Go through the gate and follow the right-hand hedgerow. In the left-hand valley below is seen the white Barton House, an early Victorian house built by the Lords Portsmouth and which, reputedly, Winston Churchill visited. The woods further left beyond Lady’s Plain are again Morchard Woods. Far distant on a clear day Exmoor can be seen. A stile will be found tucked in the hedge on the right. Cross over the stile (1st) and still follow the straight line of same hedge, now on the left. The hedge and path start to drop down the hill towards a small wood called Beardown Copse. Cross over the stile (2nd) facing you, into the above wood. The path does a slight S-bend, swings left towards a wire fence and goes steeply down through the wood. The next stile (3rd) lies ahead (clearly visible in winter) on edge of wood. Once into the wood, bear very slightly right climbing steeply and make for the far edge of the wood. When you reach the fence along the right-hand edge of the wood, turn left uphill following the fence until you reach another stile (5th) at the top of the hill. Exit out of the woods and walk a few yards to the brow of the hill. Dartmoor is to the right with Barton House and Morchard Wood to the left. Follow the crest of the hill and remains of the hedge and fence until a more substantial hedge appears. Do not turn left but follow this hedge keeping it on your left until a stile (6th) appears. Cross over stile and follow the hedge on the right towards the cottage. Cross the final stile and walk down the steps into the road opposite Farthing Park. Turn right and follow the road past a thatched house on the right and continue up a gradual hill. Just past a track to the left there is a signpost pointing across the field (footpath 33).
- Enter the field and walk straight across towards the remains of an old cottage (Chapman’s Cottage) on the other side of the hedge. Cross the stile here and turn right into an old cart track. Follow this cart track, which gives a marvellous idea of what the roads were like in a bygone age and leads back up to the church. Pass over a little bridge called Beardown Bridge, Beardown Copse is to the right and the track climbs past the side entrance of Broadgate Farm. At times, the track is down to bed-rock. The track levels out at the top of the hill and on the other side of the tarmac road will be seen footpath 6 again with its line of trees leading to the church.
- Retrace your steps past the church. Walkers who have left their cars in the playing field car park should turn right after the church gates and cross the stile beside the school house to pick up footpath 4, the Two Moors Way, and proceed as for last part of Morchard Bishop Walk 1.
Image courtesy of Philip Halling / Farmland around Middlecot, Morchard Bishop /
- Morchard Bishop Walk 2