Salmonhutch, Crediton to Tiverton - 2/6/08
Come one, come all for a riveting walk along the spectacular Exe Valley Way. We have the ups, we have the downs (none of those pesky flat sections though) and for those of you who dream of a morning of knee shattering fun, there's always the option of an exciting on-road section first thing. If you can tear yourself away from the relaxing asphalt surface (steep camber included at no extra price) then the wonderful Exe Valley Way offers even more to the discerning hiker.
Relive those childhood dreams of exploration as you battle through our specially prepared undergrowth. Our route maintenance experts have been busily crafting a dense foliage jungle just for you and their careful placement of fallen trees and overhanging branches ensures that your time on the trail will be a real challenge.
But, it's not just about physical exertion; there are sights aplenty to be seen as you go. See our glorious hedgerows which come with our personal "breeze blocker" guarantee to provide you with mile after mile of near identical viewing. After the hedges, be sure to enjoy our sodden fields, murky forests and have your camera ready for the unmissable sights and smells of the Tiverton sewage works.
All said, the Exe Valley Way really is the trip of a lifetime so don't delay, grab your waders and come and join us today. As a bonus, act now and you'll get the benefit of our stifling humidity and torrential downpours at no extra cost. The Exe Valley Way - a once in a lifetime experience.
You can probably tell from the above rant (I don't know why it took the form of an advert - it just seemed right at the time), that the route today has not really been one of my favourites to date. Not only has the walking generally been awful, but the constant ups and downs all day have taken their toll and I'm now walking with a distinct limp. It's my left leg this time, just above the knee, but fortunately I've got tomorrow off, so by the time I don the pack again, it should hopefully feel a tad better.
So, focusing on the positives, what have I enjoyed about today? The honest answer would be precious little, although I must pass on a good word for Bickleigh Mill. I came across this lifesaver late in the afternoon after stomping up and down the hills all the way from Crediton. Having found nothing to eat since my modest bowl of breakfast porridge, I was naturally starving and so pretty much anything would have been welcome. My deli board of cold meats, breads, cheeses etc and a cream tea (complete with two giant scones) turned out to be delicious and all disappeared in a matter of minutes.
Sadly, not even a full stomach could improve the bog ridden off road section that consumed the remainder of my afternoon. It seems to be a constant problem down here that even the more prominent footpaths are in desperate need of a spot of maintenance. It's all well and good providing signs and waymarkers pointing across a field but if you can't physically walk across said field without hacking through waist high grass and climbing over fallen trees, then something is clearly amiss. I therefore implore whoever is in charge of the footpaths of Southern England to get out there and "walk the trails yourself" (preferably with a heavy backpack) so that when the next LEJOG walker comes along they can have something positive to say about their journey into Tiverton.