Distance: 7.25 Km (4.5 miles) over mostly level woodland and riverside meadows, tracks and paths.
Time: 2 hours
Parking: Just over Dogmarsh Bridge on the A382, north west of Moretonhampstead. (What3Words Ref. ///spires.moral.household ) (There is also parking for a few cars close by; continue for 300 yds to the cross roads at Sandy Park and turn left. After less than 300 yds there is parking space on the left opposite a gated drive. (W3W ///poses.sorry.mergers ) Walk back 100 yds to a foot path, on the right, that leads to Dogmarsh Bridge, point ‘A’.)
The walk: This is a particularly easy route to navigate as it follows the course of the River Teign, there and back! It is also on the route of the Two Moors Way.
Cross the road to the gates by the bridge and passing through, follow the signpost to Fingle Bridge. As you walk through the riverside meadow, views of Castle Drogo and the Teign Gorge come into view. Where the meadows give way to oak woodland, there is a gate and soon after a path junction with a suspension bridge to the right, ‘B’; this will be crossed later, on your return from Fingle Bridge.
Following the path by the river, Drewe’s Weir and its salmon pools come into view, below Hunter’s Tor; it provides a take off for water to the recently refurbished turbine house which provides power for Castle Drogo, built for the Drewe family and designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.
At ‘C’, the path ascends a series of steps over the base of Sharp Tor, with railings in some places, before dropping back to the riverbank. Further long, through a gate, at ‘D’ is Fingle Weir which used to provide water for the now destroyed Fingle Bridge Mill, dating back to 1790. The turning point of this walk is only 5 minutes ahead, through a kissing gate and at ‘E’ the river can be crossed, but perhaps not before seeking refreshment at the Fingle Bridge Inn.
The packhorse bridge dates back to the 17th century. The name Fingle is derived from the word “fang”, which meant ‘to catch’, indicating the river’s suitability for fishing. The Fingle Bridge Tea Shelter was founded in 1897 by the enterprising Jesse Ashplant, serving fishermen, grain carriers and tourists. This developed into the Anglers’ Rest pub, later renamed the Fingle Bridge Inn.
Suitably refreshed, cross the bridge and turn right along the track through Hannicombe Woods. Eventually, you will come to a section where the track steepens and there is a path bearing off to the right. Take the path, which affords a closer look at the Castle Drogo turbine house, point ‘F’, also the leat, which feeds water from Drewe’s Weir, seen earlier. Continue along the path and re join the track which comes to a halt at a massive gate and 8 foot granite stone wall. Go through the gate and follow the track until an obvious set of stone steps to the right which give access to the impressive suspension bridge seen earlier at ‘B’. Once across, bear left, back through the meadows to the start.