It will be the fifth time we have visited this delightful spot – and our 96th outing - on the edge of Dartmoor led my Malcolm and or Gay. We cater well for the Inner Man (or Woman) by starting - and finishing - by an excellently situated pub by the river - and we also manage to slip in a café stop halfway round, so no-one can say this is a strenuous walk. (To refresh your memory see here)
The walk itself is about 4½ miles long and will take us alongside the river and then up to the top of the valley beneath Castle Drogo, before dropping back down to the pub. The first half of the walk is generally flat, with one moderately steep set of rock steps to go down, then there is a steady climb up to the back of the castle and then the final descent back to the Fingle Bridge Inn.
There are a few nice places to stop for breathers/food breaks as required, and the route can be adjusted if the weather is not very friendly.
Castle Drogo, for those who don’t know it, is a Lutyens designed country home built between 1910 and 1920 for a grocer, one Julius Drewe. It was the last castle built in Britain and the only one built entirely of granite. Lutyens designed it largely by “mail order” while he was involved in building New Delhi. It is undergoing a £20 million refit.
To find the start 10.30 (scroll down to see map)
Take the A30 or A382 to Drewsteignton, then follow the signs to Fingle Bridge – unless you have a 4x4 the road goes nowhere else. You will eventually see cars parked on the left hand side of the road, then the pub on the left and the narrow bridge ahead. If people feel too nervous to drive over the bridge into the car park (and main meet point) they can park on the left and walk the remaining hundred yards or so over the bridge.
If you have sat-nav, the postcode EX6 6PW will take you right to the pub. One little warning – the last few miles are on quite steep/narrow Devon lanes.
Most will prefer to park this side of the river, but if you have a narrow car, or are brave, then you can drive over the packhorse bridge and park the other side.