Shute Beacon Via Loughwood Meeting House
Return via Kilmington and Studhayes Farm
Some moderated inclines along country lanes, public footpaths, permissive tracks, bye-ways and the main A35 (100 metres)
Time: 2hrs 40 minutes
With your back to the Tuckers Arms, turn left and take the next turning left (Lower Lane). Go past the Rising Sun and turn left at the cross roads (still called Lower Lane). Go over the hump back bridges and follow the road (Buddleia on right). Ignore the unmetalled road on your right and keep going to the T junction (about 1000 metres) turn right and then immediately left.
Loughwood Meeting House is 50 metres up the hill on your right. Loughwood is a 17th century thatched Baptist meeting house owned by the National Trust. It is open all year round. Originally the meeting house was in the middle of woodland, the nearest road being the Old Roman road (the current A35 was not in existence). It was built in this location because during the years of persecution in was near to the borders of Devon, Dorset and Somerset so whichever County was doing the persecuting the Baptist members could escape to one of the other Counties. It is a lovely building which has recently been sensitively and beautifully restored and is well worth a visit.
After leaving the Meeting House turn right and carry on up the hill. Make sure pets are on leads as the next junction is the busy and fast A35. Cross straight over the main road and onto the footpath leading up into the woods. Follow the left hand hedge up the hill until you reach a barrier type gate. Step around the gate onto the track and carry straight on to the junction (the old Roman Road). Turn right and after about 20 metres turn left through the barrier gate onto another track (covered in old tarmac. This is a permissive track and the owners reserve the right to close it at anytime) Go straight up the hill.
As you reach the brow of the hill the track swings to your right. After about 30 metres it swings left go through the gap in the bank and head to the gap in the bank up a slight incline immediately in front of you onto another track. Turn left along this track (go past Ash Wood on right) through a bridleway gate and at the T junction turn right onto another track. Follow this track down the hill until you come to a barrier type gate on your left and go through the gate and onto another permissive track.
(For Shute Barton, a National Trust Property, carry straight on down the hill to the main road. The entrance is in front and to your left through the archway).
Follow the right hand hedge through the woods. Just past the car parking area on your right the track goes uphill. At the next junction (way marker) turn left, go along the track which goes under some trees and then opens out on your right to a grass bank. At the top of the grass bank is the beacon house.
The Shute Armada Beacon House is one of the 2 remaining in Devon. It is thought to have been built in about 1567 and was used for signalling messages, the most famous being the warning of the approaching Spanish Armada in 1588. The watchman was not allowed a seat or bed to sit on. He was not even allowed a pet for company in case they curled up together and fell asleep. On a clear day you can see the English Channel.
To carry on the walk go up the slope and at the back of the beacon house go down the track, which is slightly to your left and then swings immediately around to the right, to the T junction. Turn left onto another track and then right at the next junction onto track/unmetalled road. Go downhill to the gate/stile and out of the woods and onto the road. Turn left and walk along this road until you come to the village sign of Kilmington.
Just past the sign turn left up over the steps, (fingerpost Public Footpath). Follow this footpath in the woods alongside the field on your right. At the end of the path turn right down the steps into the field and then left through the kissing gate. Go to the end of the path immediately in front of you and over the stile onto the old Roman Road. Turn right and follow the road to the 1st cross roads in Kilmington and turn left** down to the A35 and turn left again.
Walk along the grass verge past the junction on your right and cross the road by the farm entrance in between the two oak trees on your right, turn left and walk in the same direction along the grass verge. Take next turning on your right (Studhayes Cross) and down the lane.
Studhayes Farm is just around the bend on your left. Walk down this lane, ignoring the farm entrances and take the next turning right (bottom of short steep descent). Follow this lane (1000 metres) over the hump back bridge, turn right into Lower Lane. At the end of the lane turn right to the Tuckers Arms.
** Refreshments are available during normal licensing hours at the New Inn and/or Old Inn. The New Inn will be found by turning right at this junction and about 50 metres on your left. For the Old Inn go straight down the road and it is on your right on the A35 about 800 metres.