A classic pub quiz question asking, “what is the only town in England with an exclamation mark in its name?” Westward Ho! of course. A question I got right time and again at Uni in the north of England. Living in Devon it isn’t even asked, an easy question. Its taken me a while to get this walk sorted, mainly due to laptop issues at home, in the end a new one was needed and the resultant transfer of photos and applications across to the new one. We stayed at the Premier Inn in Bideford the night before in order to put is in a good spot to start with, and importantly get a decent breakfast in us! Thankfully this was a walk without any effort and it had stayed clearly in my head. The area around Appledore and Northam Burrows is exceptionally flat and as such it is a case of putting one foot in front of the other and moving onwards. That said, it sounds like a easy and possibly dull walk, not for me. The area around the Appledore shipyard was interesting and Appledore itself is lovely, but, for me, I was looking forward to Northam Burrows, an SSSI area, but more importantly one that holds England’s oldest golf course. Royal North Devon (note the Royal) was created in 1864 and is home to an amazing links course, the area is being swallowed by the sea, so if you want to play it as Old Tom Morris set it out 150 odd years ago, then head there soon. I played here 30 years or so ago and loved it, the clubhouse is full of memorabilia and the course is a joy. The walk around it brought back lots of memories from playing the junior circuit in Devon, and at times I wondered how I scored so well around the place. After leaving the ‘Burrows’ we grabbed ice cream before following the roads back to Northam and the edge of Bideford. A lovely walk with brilliant classic villages and some fine coast, I can only hope that Natural England allows for the saving of the Northam Burrows land and with it the golf course which has been there for some 150 years longer than Natural England’s existence.
Start – Riverside parking near to Bideford
Route – Northam – Appledore shipyard – Appledore – Northam Burrows – Royal North Devon Golf Course – Westward Ho! – Northam – Orchard Hill – Riverside parking
Distance – 9.5miles Start time – 10.30am Time taken – 5hrs Highest Point – Not really any ascent