Devon

Tarr Steps, Exmoor National Park

Reputedly the longest clapper bridge in Britain, Tarr Steps is basically a construction of ancient rocks resting on each other, without the use of mortar. The Steps are ancient – nobody really knows how old they are, and there’s an on-going quarrel as to whether it dates from the Bronze Age or early Middle Ages.

The Tarr Steps Woodland National Nature Reserve, nestled in Exmoor National Park, is a very pretty area and much loved by visitors. The River Barle flows wide and quickly along here, and the tree-lined river edges make this a tranquil spot. 

Registered as an Ancient Monument, Tarr Steps is considered to be the most visited, drawn and photographed spot in Exmoor, being popular with tourists for over 200 years.

Surrounded by myth and legend, the Steps is thought to have once been owned by the Devil who besieged the local inhabitants. A brave local parson stood up to the Devil and overcame him, freeing the locals from fear, however as a compromise the Devil is free to sunbathe on the Steps in warm weather.

There are plenty of lovely walks in the area, and depending on what time of year you visit beautiful scenery too, whether it be the swathes of bluebells in spring, spotting otters in the river or the huge, ancient woodlands. The woodland itself is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the rare flora and fauna, especially the lichens and mosses that live there.

You can find a car park and toilet close to the Tarr Steps, and if you’re feeling peckish or in need of a drink, head to nearby Tarr Farm Inn.

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