Footpaths in the Parish of Aveton Gifford

We have 21 footpaths in the parish, as well as 4 bridleways and 3 byways, a total of 28 unpaved public rights of way covering a distance of just over 20km.  They are all walkable, and most of them are walked and/or ridden regularly by parishioners and visitors alike.  Detailed information about the paths is available in the booklet “Making Tracks” which is produced by the Parish Project Group and is available to buy in the village shop.  A map of the parish showing all our rights of way is displayed in the Timbers car park at the southern end of the village by the river.

Our footpaths are a major asset of the parish.  They preserve rights of way which have been in place for many years, they are used by parishioners for recreation and for travel, and they attract many visitors to the parish in small and large groups who enjoy walking the paths and subsequently use our shop and our pub for refreshments.

Since 1994 we have been members of a Devon scheme called the Parish Paths Partnership (P3 for short).  This is an agreement between us and Devon County Council whereby they give us a grant each year related to the length of the paths, and we maintain the footpaths locally.  Every year a group of volunteer parishioners inspect all the paths and we send a report to Devon on the state of each path, and of any works that are needed.  The biggest job is clearance of vegetation, usually achieved with a strimmer, followed by repairs to signage and furniture (such as replacing broken or worn down stiles with self closing gates).   Devon County has traditionally carried out larger maintenance jobs (such as construction of boardwalk over extremely muddy areas) on our behalf, or has awarded us larger grants to cover particular jobs.  They are under great pressure now, however, because of the extreme weather conditions we have suffered in the last two years together with the need to make cuts in their expenditure.

Our aim is to keep all the paths accessible and walkable, while recognising that they are country paths in a natural environment, and not in need of manicure.

A polite plea to our visitors 

Visitors and regular walkers on our footpaths are always most welcome, but we’d like to pass on some information that has recently come to light from some of the owners of land which these footpaths cross.

Research in recent years has led to the discovery that dog faeces can lead to the spread of two incurable conditions in grazing livestock; neospora, a parasite, can cause both cattle and sheep to abort (in fact recent figures suggest that it is the biggest single contributor to abortion in cows); and  sarcocystosis, again from parasites, leading to neurological conditions such as encephalitis and paralysis in sheep, and also abortion.

Dog faeces do biodegrade it’s true, but both of these organisms remain in the grass after all evidence of the dog poo has gone. Grazing livestock coming into that field can pick it up, and even if this grass is turned into hay or silage much later these diseases will still be transmitted to animals in their food – and there is no cure for either disease. We would like to politely request that dog walkers please be mindful of this new research, and please pick up their dog faeces even though it is out in the countryside.

Publications, Avon Estuary Walk & Cycle Paths

Making Tracks

This is a guide booklet giving maps and a full description of all these public rights of way in the parish. All routes can be walked and a few may also be ridden on horseback or by bicycle. All the routes are graded according to difficulty for walkers and give an approximate length and time taken.

It is available for sale for £2.00 from the village shop or The Fisherman’s Rest

 Two free leaflets of self guided walks are also available from the above outlets:

  • Village Trail and Church guide,
  • Wildlife Trail – a walk along the Tidal Road and around the creek at Dukes Mill

A large scale Ordnance Survey version of the footpath map can also be found in the parish notice boards in Timbers car park.

The Avon Estuary Walk

This is a way-marked trail right around the Avon estuary which includes several of the Aveton Gifford paths. In summer months only, the whole circuit can be completed by crossing the river by a small ferry at Bantham which operates twice a day (walkers are strongly advised to check first with the Bantham harbourmaster – tel: 01548  561 196)

The walk is marked by blue “Avon Estuary Walk” way-markers, and includes an alternative route which bypasses the Tidal Road and can be used during high tide. This particular walk is not included in the Making Tracks booklet, but information and downloadable maps can be obtained from the South Devon AONB:

Avon Estuary (7.5m)

The National Cycle Network

Devon County Council in partnership with several other local and national organisations is in the process of developing National Cycle Routes in Devon. These comprise both on-road and off-road sections. Two – “Devon Coast to Coast” (NCN route 27) and the “West Country Way” (NCN route 3) are already developed and fully mapped,  while a third, National Route 2 is partially developed. This is a long distance route between St Austell and Dover. As it passes through South Devon there are two route options, a Moorland Route, and a Coastal Route

Aveton Gifford is now included in this latter route which goes from Totnes to Salcombe and on to Yealmpton with a link to Ivybridge and Plymouth. A short signed detour has been added so that cyclists can visit Modbury on route. This cycle route completely avoids the A379 except for a short stretch at Aveton Gifford. It will shortly be mapped on-line by Sustrans with hard copy maps to follow

Further information is available from the Devon County Council website or from the Sustrans website

Maps can be downloaded from the DCC website, or can be ordered via email or by telephone to 0845 155 1004, or purchased from:

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