Northam, Appledore and Westward Ho!

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

Weather – Warm sun all around

© Crown copyright 2022 Ordnance Survey FL 2022 SF
Starting out from a car park by the River Torridge, the path hugs the river and heads inland around the shipyard further along the estuary, First we need to head under that bridge over there. Think we were looking into the sun here, hence the squinting
The A39 heads across that bridge
Tapeley Park on the other side of the Torridge
Through the trees
Looking back to the bridge as we near the shipyard at Appledore
Shipyard ahead
The famous H&W logo
You can just make out the famous yellow crane and H & W, not quite Belfast but a smaller version down here in Devon. The place has until recently been part of the ship building for the Navy, however it almost went under until it was saved by Harland and Wolff
Appledore and time for some refreshments which I’d brought with me. My youngest is holding a bottle of water which when he put it on the floor I told him to be careful with. He proceeded to kick it and it neatly rolled under the metal fence and dropped 10 metres into the Torridge. It started making its way out to sea as my youngest followed hoping it would get close enough on the ramp for him to gather it
What actually happened was the bottle bobbed past the ramp (used as the on and off ramp for the ferry), heading further away just as the ferry came past the ferry captain noticed the bottle, reached out of the side and fished the bottle out. My youngest ran down as the ferry docked and got the bottle back
Heading through the village of Appledore, there are lots of cafe’s along here and a pub making it a good spot to stop. The estuary here has both the Torridge and Taw rivers included, the Taw has joined off to my right having started near Cranmere Pool on Dartmoor
Appledore street
A lovely Speckled Wood as we near Northam Burrows
That’s the estuary out there, it is names Skern on the maps and there is a lodge here used by schools for bringing kids for their outdoors activities week. My eldest has been here and when I’d pointed out where he was it all came flooding back
Northam Burrows
You can see the breaking waves out there as the estuary hits the Atlantic Ocean, Braunton Burrows is opposite
The pebble ridge on the northwest side, trying to protect the Burrows from the Atlantic tides and waves. That will be Hartland Point in the distance
Royal north Devon golf course, or at least part of it on our left, we follow the path through grassy dunes towards Westward Ho!
A full look along the pebble ridge and the glorious beach
The lifeguard on lookout with Westward Ho! behind
Ice cream time, eat or wear it on your chin!!
Pebble Ridge on the right and the full stretch of the beach. Atlantic to the left
The walk back was through Westward Ho! so views and good photos opportunities were rare. This spot grabs a vista between the houses to the Burrows
Westward Ho!
We are heading towards Northam again here, passing by the occasional good view
We head straight on here into Bideford and then left a bit further along to our car park, the end of a decent walk and good stay over in this part of Devon

2 thoughts on “Northam, Appledore and Westward Ho!

  1. Taking me back to my childhood here. Spent many happy holidays as a kid in Westward Ho! Sadly when we back a few years ago it’s all changed from what I remember although it’s still a nice place with a superb beach. I used to like Bideford and Appledore as well

    Liked by 1 person

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