A Walker’s Journal by Anthony Linick
The Two Moors Way is a splendid route that winds through picturesque Devon countryside (with some time in Somerset as well) as it makes its way from the English Channel to the Bristol Channel via Dartmoor and Exmoor. The Devon Ramblers Association offered one of the first guidebooks to the route, but today there is an Aurum Press guide by John Macadam – one that already includes the relevant sections of the Ordnance Survey maps you would ordinarily have to buy separately.
The length of the TMW is listed as 87 miles in some sources, 90 in others – but when my former student Gavan and I walked it in 1992 we walked over a hundred miles; this is because it was necessary to leave the route on a number of occasions just to find accommodation. Today, a search of the Internet will uncover the names of firms that will do your booking for you and ferry your luggage forward as well. Strategies for making your own accommodation reservations are among the topics discussed in my A Walker’s Alphabet: Adventures on the long-distance footpaths of Great Britain – published in 2010 and available from the publisher at www.authorhouse.co.uk or from www.authorhouse.com or from www.amazon.co.uk or from www.amazon.com.
The route also has a sponsoring organization, The Two Moors Way Association; they can be contacted at email@example.com.
As the accounts that follow will illustrate, we walked the route from south to north, from Ivybridge to Lynmouth, and spread the venture over eight days. Although some of the stages were rather lengthy and there was plenty of up and down (except for a fairly flat middle interlude) I would not describe the route as strenuous – and there are so many rewards among the towns and villages of a fascinating and beautiful landscape.
Our stages were as follows:
Day 1: Ivybridge to Holne – 13.5 miles
Day 2: Holne to Widecombe-in-the-Moor – 8 miles
Day 3: Widecombe-in-the-Moor to Chagford – 13 miles
Day 4: Chagford to Coleford – 14.5 miles
Day 5: Coleford to Witheridge – 15 miles
Day 6: Witheridge to Tarr Steps – 16.5 miles
Day 7: Tarr Steps to Simonsbath – 13 miles
Day 8: Simonsbath to Lynmouth – 10.5 miles