This circular family walk at Dunkeswell Airfield takes in pretty woods and fields. Although there is a stretch on road to begin with. You can park at the airfield and visit The Aviator for pre or post walk refreshments. The undulating walk is approximately 4 kilometres. Due to a couple of kissing gates, I would recommend a baby carrier rather than buggy. When our babies were little, we loved the Tula Free-to-Grow carrier. Once older, they preferred the view from our LittleLife backpack carrier. It’s a lovely walk on a sunny day as it has shady stretches and a stream for a paddle.
Dunkeswell Airfield opened in 1943. It was built as part of the US Navy efforts to attack German U-boats in the Battle of the Atlantic during World War II. It now operates as a private airfield, with both flying and skydiving schools. The Dunkeswell Airfield Heritage Centre at the site has a photographic record of its time as a military base.
Circular Family Walk at Dunkeswell Airfield: through the village
- This photo guide takes you through the route. You turn right along the road from the airfield. There is a pavement on the opposite side of the road from the airfield. However, this disappears for around 80m, so take care.
2. You take the left turn down the hill at the corner. And then turn into the first right into Abbey Road, signposted to Dunkeswell.
3. You follow the road round through the village, past the church, to the village hall. Here, you take the road to the left down a hill. You continue down this road, through the edge of the village and up the hill the other side. The hill up the other side is pretty steep, but manageable even for little legs.
4. You reach a T-junction at the top of the hill where you turn left. You then continue along this road. And sigh with relief because the worst of the uphill is over.
Circular Family Walk at Dunkeswell Airfield: through the woods
5. Where the road bends round to the right, you continue straight down the signposted footpath. This is a good, wide path as it also provides vehicle access (so watch out for cars). This is my favourite part of the walk. It is an easy downhill, shaded section, leading down to the stream.
6. Some way down this path, the vehicle access continues round to the right. you need to take the signposted fork to the left towards a footbridge.
7. The wooden footbridge crosses a little stream.
8. You can easily access the stream by te bridge should you wish to cool your toes. This is my favourite spot to take a breather and contemplate the running water.
9. Across the footbridge, you follow the path round to your left. You then reach a fork; the footpath is signpostedto the right. You have to navigate across two small tributaries here. And the ground is wet even in dry weather. If it has been raining, this is very boggy and decent boots are needed.
10. You continue up the path though the woods until you reach a gate. There is also a stile here. but the gate is not locked. This leads you onto a bridleway that also acts as a driveway for a couple of houses.
Circular Family Walk at Dunkeswell Airfield: through the fields
11. You follow the bridleway up to Bowerhayes Farm. You take the signposted pedestrian gate to the left onto another footpath.
12. You follow this footpath through two fields. Cattle or sheep sometimes graze these fields, so take care. And remember to shut the gate between the two fields. If the fields are empty, we like to stop under the shady tree (pictured) for a rest and to take in the view.
13. You pass through another pedestrian gate into another farm. You follow the footpath through the farm, bearing round to the right.
14. You will see the footpath signposted through a gate to your left at an old cattle grid.
15. You follow the clear footpath round the edge of the field to a kissing gate.
16. You follow the ridge path through the wooded area to another kissing gate. This section is beautiful in the spring as there are numerous bluebells. You turn left onto the road.
17. Follow the road up to the Methodist church, where you turn right to get back to the airfield. Possibly time for a cuppa and some cake while watching the airfield activity!
If you would like more route information you will need Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 128 Taunton and Blackdown Hills or Ordnance Survey Explorer Map 115 Exmouth and Sidmouth (the maps overlap at this point!).
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