A dog friendly walk from DogPeople

A dog-friendly walk from DogPeople
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Tavistock and Shorts Down Circular (3 ¾ miles easy)

We walked from the town but alternative starting points are the long or short stay car park (Abbey Car Park, grid reference SX 501 744) on Whitchurch Road (south side of river where the A386 goes off a roundabout to Plymouth.

Go uphill on Whitchurch Road away from the roundabout and past the short stay car park (on your left hand side – LHS).  TURN LEFT into Deer Park Lane (marked as a no through road for traffic).  KEEP AHEAD past St Johns then keep ahead on a track barred to traffic as the road bears left.  Continue uphill until the track reaches another road then TURN LEFT using the pavement on the LHS of the road. Keep ahead over Down Park Drive then CROSS the road as it bends left and KEEP AHEAD on a wide metalled path (note bench to the memory of Edward W Chilcott).  Follow the path uphill, then through a gate to reach the Down.

KEEP MORE-OR-LESS AHEAD on a path through the gorse (there are paths left and right closer to a wall.  Climb a little and pass a pair of marker stones soon after you reach the gorse.  Keep ahead – you will see the cricket ground on your right hand side (RHS), and a stone building away to your left.  Follow the path towards a clump of trees, passing to their left when you reach them (also a wall through the trees on your RHS).

KEEP AHEAD downhill when the wall on your right turns right – aim towards a metalled road and a pair on benches just before it.

At the road TURN RIGHT then immediately LEFT (so more-or-less ahead) on a metalled lane signed to Middlemoor ¼ mile – there's a cattle grid a little further right.  Follow the lane to cross roads then TURN LEFT by a telephone pole with a street lamp on it.  Follow a metalled lane past a house called Ivydene.  A stream is soon in a valley on your RHS – follow the lane / track as it bends RIGHT over the stream

KEEP AHEAD through a gate marked with a footpath yellow arrow indicator.  Follow a roughly made enclosed track uphill – the way is deeply sunken in places and down to the bedrock.  Ignore gates to left or right until your way is blocked by a gate (with other gates on each side).  GO AHEAD through the gate (an unusual double gate at SX 5003 7271) onto a downland area (Shorts Down - well covered by ferns when we walked).

TURN LEFT keeping close – about 20 metres or so - to a wall on your left hand side.  Follow the wall when the path forks – i.e. keep ahead on the left hand fork - to the bottom of the enclosed area, then TURN RIGHT at a wall junction (now going uphill with the wall on your LHS – do not go ahead through the gate marked private).  TURN LEFT, as the wall does, near the top of the hill.  Follow the wall a short distance down to a metalled lane (SX 5061 7242).

TURN LEFT on the lane.  The next section of the walk follows this mostly narrow and quiet country lane.  There is no pavement so, even though there is likely to be little, if any, traffic please take care.  BEND HARD LEFT when the lane does by a reservoir on your RHS – there are unmade tracks ahead and right here – but stay on the metalled lane.  Follow the lane down a fairly steep descent after a property named Birchy then gradually uphill again.  Follow the lane as a footpath leaves via a gate on the left (opposite a house named Little Casey) and a path and pillar box are on the right.  

At a five way road junction (left to Whitchurch, ahead to Tavistock and hard right to Princetown), CROSS JUNCTION to the LEFT (i.e. between the Whitchurch and Tavistock roads to reach the open down by a footpath marker (yellow arrow on low post).  Follow the path across the down passing to the RHS of a football pitch and LHS of the golf course.  The route follows a row of marker stones and passes to the LHS of the far left hand green (with its flag).  As you pass the green BEAR RIGHT uphill just to LHS of a bench.  50 metres or so past the bench BEAR RIGHT uphill to the RHS of the reservoir and its stone building.

Keep to the right of the building, another bench and an animal drinking trough then bear right across the edge of a golf course to reach a metalled road – aiming just to the RHS of a wooden post fence and gate (SX 4909 7362).

TURN LEFT on the quiet residential road, after a short distance pass a 'riding on verges prohibited' sign.  TURN LEFT at junction with more major road (this also comes from the Down from the right).  Pass through gate on the RHS of a cattle grid and keep to the footpath on that side. Keep ahead downhill and follow the road through a right hand bend (on the left is the path used earlier), cross over Down Park Drive then, after another 100 – 200 metres, TURN RIGHT onto the track used earlier (through a couple of bollards).  Retrace your route to your start point.  

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