Bratton Clovelly 3 mile Circular Walk ~ Packhorse Trail

BRATTON CLOVELLY
A Walking Trail and some Local History

General
The trail is about 3 miles and should take you around an hour to walk. Walking boots or Wellingtons are recommended, especially when the weather has been wet.  The trail is hilly in places. Sadly Wheelchairs may cope with the terrain as far as Lower Voaden where they would then need to return the same way as they went.
 
DOGS TO BE KEPT  UNDER STRICT CONTROL (ie ON  LEADS). 
For a Google-Online map of the route click here. 
For a printable pdf version  Packhorse Village Walk

Your walk starts outside The Clovelly Inn

This was formerly the Old Pack Horse Inn. In the bar is an oak fireplace lintel inscribed 1789. There are some excellenthistorical photographs of the village to be seen in here. There used to be two hand operated petrol pumps at the barn opposite and stabling forhorses. This ‘Trail’ will also finish back at this point

Bratton Clovelly Village

Now walk down through the Village. This street has changed little over the last 200 years, the main difference being that once most of the cottages were thatched, and now two new houses have been added. Many of these old cottages were divided into two or three dwellings that housed tradesmen and craftsmen

The first cottage on the right once housed a tailor and was a Police House. Next door, ‘Laurel Cottage’, was the District Nurse's surgery, the old barn next to it was a cowshed and then there is a pathway leading to Parsons Cottage, (previously three homes known as Bank Cottages). It was renamed after the Parson family who lived there

‘Briony’ cottage, opposite ‘Laurel Cottage’, was originally two dwellings. Further on, Rose Cottage was a cobbler's and the railings are original; they were left for the safety of children so not taken for their metal in World War Two

 Just opposite you will also see the restored Village Pump. The village had two communal water pumps, one here and one further along the road near the Old Forge. Unfortunately, the latter is no longer functional and its trough is no longer in its original place.

The final two dwellings on the left are Church View, an old 'longhouse' (animals lived at one end, separated by a passage from front to back and then the family's living quarters) and Mill Park, once a doctor’s home. This had an extension added at the back in the Edwardian era

St Mary the Virgin Church

Walk up to the Church, a Norman building constructed on the site of an earlier Saxon church. If you are able to enter the Church you will find the walls are covered in paintings from the C17th. These wall-paintings are very rare. Information Leaflets about the Church should be available inside

 Next to the Church Gate is the old National SchoolBuilding, built in 1837. It has two chimneys, as the boys' and girls' classes were taught in separate groups at either end of the room. Children were last taught here in 1900. The School Room has been through a restoration that has given it a new lease of life, as it is now used for Community Activities and Private Hire

Court Barton

The entrance to Court Barton is to the right of the old school. Within the courtyard you can see the old round threshing-house in which a horse, (or donkey), walked round to work the machinery. This has now been incorporated into the private dwelling

Returning to the entrance to Court Barton you are beside 1 Church Cottages; the front room was once used by a dentist who would visit the village. The building alongside it, facing onto the Village Green, was the Post Office. Now closed, this was run by the same family since 1863

The Village Green

This was formerly a deep saw pit, where many years ago timber was cut by two men using a double-handed saw, one man above and the other, who was always covered in sawdust, worked below. The railings here were put up to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, and they fully enclosed the Green, entry being by a gate which bears the letters VR (Victoria Regina). It was sometimes used as a pound for stray animals. A section of railings was removed allowing for the War Memorial to be erected Benches here were donated by the Women's Institute

The long house opposite (Midsummer Cottage) was originally a pub, The Ring of Bells It then became the village shop, which once sold virtually everything! The upper end, now Brenmoor Lodge, was an agricultural storehouse. The stone plinth outside allowed for unloading carts into the storeroom

Heading towards Boasley Cross (Signposted) the trail now takes the road down hill in the direction of Boasley Cross. This is a typical Devon road with high banks on either side and no verge or pavement. Half-way down the hill on the left is a house, ‘Four Chimneys, which was a working farm. From near here you get a good view of Eversfield Manor on the opposite hill

Eversfield Manor

The Regency front and terrace of the Manor were built between 1790 and 1802 by William Wimpy (possibly the Squire Impy referred to by Baring-Gould) who bought several farms and land in the parish. The fine house was built incorporating some of an old farm named Culmpit, and renamed Culham Court, (believed to be a childhood home of *Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould, the hymn writer, and prolific author)

This property was later bought by Mr and Mrs Thomas Manning and renamed 'Eversfield Manor'; Mrs Elizabeth Manning was a great benefactor to the village. The Eversfield estate owned many of the properties around the village; more recently the Manor was owned by ‘James Hewitt’

The Mill

At the bottom of this hill you can see the Old Mill. Water, diverted from the river, turned a mill-wheel. There was once a bridge here across the leat and the road ran straight down past the Mill buildings to a ford. The mill building, built in the late C18th, replaced an older mill on the same site. It had an 'overshot' wheel and two pairs of millstones, so different grains could be ground at the same time. The house (originally thatched) was two buildings until 1850, and is mostly C17th but has older foundations

Continuing along the road, Blackbird Cottage (former Culmpit Cottage) was originally two small cottages built for Eversfield Estate workers. 'Culm-pits' were the workings where good quality clay was obtained for the building of the cob houses. Continue 200m up the hill, with Eversfield Manor on the left, until you come to the start of the Bridleway, also on your left

Bridleway and Devon Banks.

At the start of the bridle way you pass the back of Eversfield Manor. Continuing along this ‘working farm’ track, you pass between typical Devon Banks with their rich variety of flora and fauna. A Devon Bank is of unique construction, being made up of stones on each side laid vertically with an in-fill of earth extracted from the ditch at its base. You can see numerous different plants in a one metre vertical 'slice'. These could include: primroses, bluebells, violets and a great many more wild flowers. This growth encourages a great variety of wildlife; insects, birds, mammals, great and small

Further along the track you get a good view of Birch Wood (look left), and then on a far hilltop a white house; this is *Red Spider Cottage (from Baring-Gould’s book of the same name; it was the home of the character Honor Luxmore). As the route bends the track crosses over a stream that forms the local River Thrushel which eventually flows into the Tamar

Continue up and over the hill and you will arrive at Lower Voaden Farm. This farm straddles the Bridleway, so follow the track through the farm yard, to the left of the house, past several new barns, until you start up a hill. Continue on this hill to reach a bend and a gate. At this point you leave the Bridleway via a stile, but it is easier to go through the gate.

Once you are in the field, turn to your left and head downhill in the direction of the distant wooded valley  This will bring you to a footbridge and small gate, roughly in the middle of the facing hedgerow.

Cross the next field, head diagonally; keeping all the trees growing in the field on your left, you are heading for the far corner where you will see a dip, and 'Packhorse' marker, at the edge of the stream and here a gate

This gate leads to a footbridge where, in the stream bed, you can see the slate like stone that is the geology that makes ploughing difficult in this area.

Leaving the bridge, go up the slope towards and passing through a gate; keep to the hedge along the side of the field with the wood on your left. At the right time of year there is a wonderful display of bluebells in the wood. Pass through a Field Gate into and along a 'green lane' between two more Devon Banks

100m later go through another gate and continue out to the road, turning left to follow the road back into the village

Back to the Village

As you go up the road, the house on the right was built by a Boer War survivor. He named it Tugela after the battle site at the River Tugela in South Africa.

At the top of the hill on the left, is the Old Rectory built in 1902 to replace a former thatched rectory (Old Domons) that was on the road to Boasley, as it burnt down

Town Farm

Going over and down the hill into the village, on the left is Town Farm (once the property of the late Alan Clarke, diarist and historian, when he was MP for Plymouth Sutton). Next to this is Town Cottage At the junction pause and look to your right and you will see the Old Village School which is now closed and has been converted into three private dwellings

Roadford Lake

If you were to continue for three miles along this road you would reach Roadford Lake, the largest reservoir in Devon, constructed by South West Water in 1989 It is very popular as a tourist spot with tea rooms, walks, bird watching, fishing and sailing; it was the subject for the very first Channel 4 ‘Time Team’ investigation prior to it being flooded

You are now back where you started and I hope you have enjoyed your walk

For a Google-Online map of the route click here. 
For a printable pdf version  Packhorse Village Walk

 The Clovelly Inn serves very good Food and Drink ~
 if you had not already found out before you started the walk.