We would suggest that these notes are read in conjunction with
the Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure 9 Exmoor 1:25000 map.
Description: This is a linear walk, returning via the same route. The section beyond Pinkworthy Pond can be very boggy and wet after rain or in the winter. This part of the moor is the old Exmoor Forest area and is among the most open and remote parts of the National Park. Note that on some signs and maps, the spelling of Pinkworthy has been simplified to Pinkery. If you have an exploring nature or have children with you, it might be worth carrying Wellie boots.
Pick a dry, clear day to best appreciate this walk.
Distance: 6½ miles out and back. The walk can be curtailed at any point, returning via your outward route.
Time: 3-3½ hours.
Start point: Goat Hill Bridge on the B3224 3 miles west of Simonsbath (GR SS724405). There is a sizeable parking area on the north side of the road just before the road turns sharply uphill.
Directions: Leave the parking area and walk a further 50 yards along the road and turn right through the gate leading to the Pinkworthy Farm Study Centre. Follow this tarmac road along the valley of the infant River Barle which flows through Simonsbath and Tarr Steps to join the Exe below Dulverton. After about half a mile, you approach the centre buildings and the signposted track swings left up and round the corner of the fence and over a low brow passing a small wind turbine on your right.
You pass through a small gate and onto a narrow track continuing to run above the river valley. After a short while, the waymarks lead you off this track and over the shoulder of the low hill to your right to avoid a very wet section before rejoining the old track and continuing up the valley. Ahead of you, you will see the earthen dam wall of the pond. The track swings to the right to reach an access gate.
Here, you can walk down to the side of the pond (GR 723422) which is the source of the River Barle. This was created artificially in the mid-18th century by the Knight family who developed much of the area with roads and farms.
If you have decent waterproof footwear (Wellies preferably), an expedition through the tunnel where the river flows out to where it emerges on the other side of the wall can be interesting. Watch your head!
To continue on, return to the dam wall, walk across the top following the track straight ahead up to a gate in the top left hand corner. Continue straight ahead on a roughly defined track which gradually moves to meet the fence on your right as you appraoch a couple of trees by a barrow. This is Woodbarrow gate (GR 716424). As you go through the gate, you cross into Devon.
Turn left past the barrow and follow a narrow path which parallels the fence on your left. This leads you to the next barrow which is Long Stone Barrow (GR 707427), where there is a gate and also a ladderstile. From here, you can see the Long Stone itself slightly to the right and in the shallow valley ahead of you. The track leading down to the Long Stone can be very wet. Continue past this point aiming for Chapman Barrows which you can see along the skyline in front of you. There are fine views down to the coast and inland from here. The return journey is via the outward route.