START: The Plains, Totnes TQ9 5DR
1. Walk through The Plains and when the road swings right, bear left onto the public footpath alongside the leat.
2. When the leat joins the River Dart follow the path back to the road and you will reach the Steam Packet Inn on the left. Here, take the marked diversion to your right up the hill and follow the signs taking you onto The Dart Valley Trail. Choose the footpath option instead of the fully paved cycle path, taking the route that runs parallel to the River Dart.
3. At the end of the fenced path, continue ahead into the wood. Wind through the woods keeping close to the river. You will soon emerge in a field. Continue along the bottom of this field (still parallel to the River Dart) and then bear right, continuing to follow the bottom of the field.
4. You will soon find yourself above riverside marshes, keep following the footpath to a stile and then descend alongside the reed beds. A further couple of stiles later, and you will find yourself at the bottom of another field. Follow the bottom of the field to another stile that enters woodland.
5. Go into the woods, continuing to a gate that takes you into a further field. Head through into this field, cross the valley and head diagonally left (uphill) over the field, to re-join the cycle path. At this point, The Dart Valley Trail joins the cycle route and in this elevated position you can enjoy fantastic views of the reed beds, the river and the opposite side of the valley Following the cycle path, you will soon pass through a gate and reach a junction. The cycle route (and the walk’s return) bears to the right, but for the outward leg of the walk continue ahead down the track. Keep your eyes peeled for a stile on the right-hand side. Cross the stile, and then climb diagonally across the field towards the next stile at the top.
6. After a steady climb you will reach a viewpoint, which boasts epic views of The Dart Valley. Don’t forget to look towards Dartmoor and try to seek out the craggy outline of Haytor in the distance. Once over the stile, you will rejoin the cycle route. Continue climbing this path through the woods.
7. The path will soon reach a lane. Down the lane to the left is the route to Sharpham, The views are spectacular down this lane, it’s a great viewpoint and well worth the extra walk