A Walk through History

About this route

This walk is based on using part of the Two Castles Trail, one of Devon’s longer-distance routes running between the two castles of Okehampton and Launceston.  It features a variety of other historical elements  – an Iron-Age hillfort, ancient standing stones, a Saxon battle-ground, a Norman Church and Castle, a Jacobean House and a Victorian Manor, as well as passing through attractive Devon countryside on the west side of Dartmoor.

Getting Around

There are regular bus services between Okehampton and Launceston and occasional service from Tavistock.  Check times at www.travelinesw.com

To begin the walk, catch the bus from Lewdown to Bridestowe where it will likely stop on the old by-pass.  Cross the road into the village.

Bridestowe: pub, post office and stores. Lewdown: pub, post office and stores
Stiles; one long steady climb of 250ft / 80m; one shorter climb of 125ft / 40m
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OS Maps

Explorer No. OL 28 Dartmoor and No. 112 Launceston and Holsworthy
Landranger No. 191 Okehampton and North Dartmoor and No. 201 Plymouth and Launceston

For More Information

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Interesting information

Bridestowe gets its name from the dedication of its church to St Bridget, an interesting survival of a possible Celtic dedication to this Irish Saint and the pointer to a very old settlement.  The present church dates from the 15th Century but the gateway to the churchyard is a Norman arch.  This is thought to be the only surviving part of the chapel of the older church which was moved in Victorian times.


Burley Wood is an important historic defensive site.  Originally one of the largest iron-age forts in West Devon, after 1066, the Normans built one of their own castles in a corner of the hill-fort site.  Its strategic position gave it control over the road to Cornwall, and together with castles at Okehampton and Launceston, would have kept the population from rising against the new Norman lords.  The castle would have been of the “motte and bailey” type; an earth mound with a wooden tower on top, with a timber palisade encircling an open area around the mound.  Unfortunately, there is no public access to the Burley Wood site.


Both Burford Down and Galford Down offer superb views.  The latter was the site of a battle between the Saxons and the Celts which took place in 1825.  The victor was King Egbert of Wessex who moved west against a revolt and invasion from Cornwall.  The battle spelt the end of the Celtic influence east of the Tamar.


At the green at Lew Mill is an old standing stone, thought to be the upright of an old cross dating back to the 13th century.  It was originally found nearby and erected here around 1900.  Further on the route passes Lewtrenchard Manor.

Photo of Bridestowe Church

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Photo of Whitelady waterfall at Lydford Gorge

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