An underrated rugged moorland walk.
Doone valley – Oareford – Robbers Bridge – Malmsmead Circular Walk. An advanced walk which requires some navigation competency.
Starting at County Gate car park (toilets): walk steeply down towards Doone Valley with patch work views of farmers fields and heathland
Coleridge Way turn off: Pass through a gate on your left towards Oare Church via farmers fields, signposted by the Coleridge Way National Trail. Look out for grey wagtails, dippers and friendly horses!
Steep Climb Up: continue to follow the Coleridge Way and climb 153m until you arrive at a conifer plantation – rehydrate at this point!
Down to Oareford and Robbers Bridge: turning almost 90o, walk south over “North Common” admiring the stunning moorland vista. Discover an old enclosure shading ewes and their lambs. Zig zag steeply down, cross a beautiful wooden bridge and turn left along the road…..Robbers Bridge is 600m/0.4miles ahead!
Oareford to Doone Valley: returning to the wooden bridge, cross over a stone bridge and turn left – follow the Bridleway to Larkbarrow via “South Common” – walk due south for 45mins through fields until you hit open moorland!
> Get out your compass: if you walk due West, you will hit Badgworthy Water by the foot of Clannacombe coniferous plantation.
Crossing Badgworthy water: find a SAFE narrow crossing on the river. Once crossed keep it to your right hand side all the way back to Malmsmead Bridge! (Walk for 1hr)
Medieval village: you will find a ruin site of stones embedded into the ground of the historical Doone family residence
Malmsmead to County Gate: after taking many photos by this historic bridge, cross the bridge and find the Bridleway on your left (5mins walk), crossing a bridge and leading you back up to County Gate, phew!
Distance: 13.5km / 8.4 miles
Time: 3.5 – 4hrs