Although this walk may be possible for the adventurous with an off-road pushchair, the ground is pebbly and loose so take care particularly on the steeper sections of pebbled slopes.
Enjoy this circular route which journeys between many of the Pebblebed Heaths most iconic features including Gibraltar Stone on Woodbury Common, the wet heath boardwalks of Colaton Raleigh Common, a panoramic Exe Estuary view and Woodbury Castle, an Iron Age hill fort.
Please note, bird-breeding season here is from 1st March to 31st July. During this time of year, it is particularly important to be aware of vulnerable ground-nesting birds, which often reside very close to the paths.
Dogs must be kept under close control throughout this route – staying on the main paths and in sight with good recall. If close control is not possible without a lead, then dog leads must be used. #pawsonpaths
Although only in specific areas, pony grazing takes place across the Pebblebed Heaths from May till October - see the full grazing schedule here.
1) Park at Four Firs car park, and follow the path towards Gibraltar Stone.
2) From Gibraltar Stone head down the valley eastwards and turn left.
3) At a crossroads, turn right towards Model Airfield and continue through the car park.
4) Once through Model Airfield car park, turn right immediately and then take a left towards Colaton Raleigh Common, keeping Uphams plantation on your right.
5) Enter Colaton Raleigh Common, taking the boardwalk across as a stream and wet heath habitat.
6) Walk past the grenade range which will be on your right and take the path towards Woodbury Castle, you will see this as the highest point in the distance, a patch of beech woodland.
7) Go through the centre of the woodland and hill fort monument and cross the road by Woodbury Castle car park. Head over to Estuary View car park and take the accessibility trail to enjoy this wonderful view of the Exe.
8) Take the track back to Woodbury Castle car park, and walk on the path parallel to the road looping back to Four Firs car park.
*Navigating on the Pebblebed Heaths can be tricky! Many footpaths are not marked on OS maps, these printable maps are a brilliant tool to assist your walk.*
Heathlands are full of specialist wildlife, adapted to live amongst dense gorse, woodland clearings and boggy peatland. Keep an eye out for stonechats and dartford warbler perching on a low branch and listen for their distinct calls. During warmer months, enjoy the variety or butterflies that teem the pathways including grayling, green hairstreak, small heath and gatekeeper – butterfly spotter sheets are available here.
Reptiles, such as the common lizard and adder, enjoy basking in the sun along boardwalks and barer patches, particularly in between wet spells of weather.
As you drop down into each glade, you will see a change in vegetation, here species which prefer a damp environment will thrive. You may find plants such as bog asphodel and sundew - a carnivorous plant, plus you will certainly see all three types of heather: bell, ling and cross-leaved.
We would recommend using paper guides or mobile apps such as Seek and Merlin to learn wildlife ID. Please be aware however, that playing birdsong aloud to attract birds is disturbance to wildlife and therefore an offence.