East Devon Way

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East Devon Way

The East Devon Way (EDW) is a waymarked inland walking route of nearly 39 miles (63km) between Exmouth and Lyme Regis (the last mile is in Dorset).  It is broadly parallel to the western part of the Jurassic Coast.  It mostly follows public footpaths and bridleways, although some of it uses generally lightly-trafficked minor roads.  It provides an alternative to 30 miles of the South West Coast Path and, taken together, these offer the possibility of a 70-mile circular walk in East Devon.

The route goes through the heart of the East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) which covers much of East Devon and showcases its very attractive and varied scenery.  Between its end points the EDW avoids large settlements and so is very rural in nature, passing estuary, pebble-bed commons, heathland, woodland, river valleys and mostly pastoral agricultural land.  The walking is generally not too demanding, but the nature of the terrain - a plateau dissected by some steep river valleys - surprises many visitors because of its several sharpish climbs.  The plateau is generally between 500 and 800 feet (150 - 250 metres) above sea level, with the highest point of the route 840 feet.  Overall, walking the length of the path involves some 5,000 feet (1500 metres) of ascent.  Good views are possible from many points of the walk, and these frequently include the sea which is seldom more than 5 miles (8km) distant.  A led walk along the five sections of the EDW on successive days is offered each year in September as part of the Sidmouth &  East Devon Walking Festival.  For this, coach transport from Sidmouth to the start and from the finish of each day's walk is arranged.  Advanced booking and payment of coach fare is required, for full details - see visitsidmouth.co.uk 

The route was promoted by East Devon District Council and opened in 1992.  This followed collaboration with many individuals and groups, in particular the late Norman Barns who had the inspiration for the way 'An inland route from Exe to Lym'  and wrote the original route description, and the late Eric Mawer, who surveyed it and campaigned for its designation.  Eric was the former Chairman of East Devon Ramblers and a tireless campaigner for the designation of 'Lost Ways' as Public Rights of Way. They were supported in this work by many members of East Devon Ramblers, including Pauline Flood who remains an active member and regular walk leader.  In recent years responsibility for maintaining and promoting the route has been undertaken by the East Devon AONB.  A 60-page illustrated guide to the route can be ordered, viewed or downloaded from East Devon AONB at eastdevonway.org.uk where you may also find further information.

In addition, a series of 14 circular walks and 1 linear walk, of between 3 and 8 miles, each based on a short section of EDW, have been devised by two East Devon Ramblers, Ted Swan and James Baldwin.  These are easy to find on the same website, eastdevonway.org.uk/circular-routes  

The circular walks can also be found on the Ramblers website ramblers.org.uk/go-walking/find-a-walk-or-route and then selecting the 'Routes' tab.