The last time we visited the Hunters’ Path at Fingle Bridge was in June 2014. Dillan had fond memories of it, as it was his first ever car-assisted ride, so he was keen to visit it again today.
The forecast of light cloud from 10am proved accurate as we assembled in the Steps Bridge car park at 11.15. The Dunsford Wood bridleway along the River Teign was a delight as always, although we had chosen a time of the year that was between flowers – the daffodils were mostly gone and the extensive carpets of bluebells were still a few weeks away. From Clifford Bridge we followed another riverside path to Fingle Bridge which was today swarming with visitors – probably something to do with Mothers’ Day. We quickly abandoned ideas of coffee in the Fingle Bridge Inn when we saw the queues, but nevertheless enjoyed some home-brought pastries by the river before continuing onwards up the valley.
For the next stage we climbed high through Drewston Wood to the Hunters’ Path, affording spectacular views along the valley. We stopped on more than one occasion to venture off the path to admire the scenery, and had to stop several times to allow walkers to pass. Once we reached the far end of the valley we joined the Fisherman’s Path for the return journey to Fingle, which took us close to the fast-flowing river. A flight of steep steps halfway back proved a bit of a challenge, but eventually we returned to Fingle Bridge for around 1.30.
Most people had bought their lunch by now, so we were able to order some soup and chips and settle on the best seats in the house – some comfy sofas around the wood-burning stove. We hadn’t realised just how chilly it was outside until we found ourselves falling asleep by the fire.
Michael really wanted to have at least one coffee out, so after returning to Steps Bridge again we drove to Canonteign Falls café, which was on the way home. This was nearly as busy as Fingle Bridge, but the cakes and service both made an excellent end to a fine ride.
Jude and Dillan riding through Dunsford Wood from Steps Bridge, following the River Teign
Approaching the top of the Hunters Path from Fingle Bridge
The Hunters' Path
View back towards Fingle Bridge from Piddledown Common, near the Hunters' Path
Jude near Sharp Tor on the Hunters' Path
The Hunters' Path near Sharp Tor
Footbridge near the weir on the Fisherman's Path
View to the River Teign from the footbridge near the weir on the Fisherman's Path
A tricky climb on the Fisherman's Path heading back to Fingle Bridge
Climbing the steps on the Fisherman's Path
Jude near the Fisherman's Path and the River Teign
Nearing Fingle Bridge on the Fisherman's Path
Fingle Bridge after lunch in the Fingle Bridge Inn
The Fingle Bridge Inn