Picture this. The Tarka trail…

22 Jun

Named after the otter in Henry Williamson’s book, and originally conceived as the Taw and Torridge Country Park, the stretch of disused railway tracks and surrounding land between Barnstaple and Bideford was bought from British Rail in 1987, and the 180 mile footpath and cycle network that exists today was finally extended – to Braunton in one direction, and Meeth in the other – in 1992, when it was officially opened by HRH Prince of Wales.
It finally became the Tarka Trail in 1994.


You will see signs for the National cycle network (route 27) all over the area and we frequently use the trail, not for anything strenuous like cycling you understand, but as the section nearest us runs alongside the river Taw, (the same river that runs through Rock Park) it’s very pleasant to walk out towards Braunton and feed the ducks, coots, moorhens and swans that gather in the wildfowl reserves which line the old railway beds.


I have been taking photos along this stretch of the trail for several years, and as we were out there again today meeting and feeding the new cygnet as mum and dad kept a wary eye on us, I thought I’d share some with you.


You can see signs of the past life of the trail, with railway artifacts still visible here and there..



..and livestock grazing in the lush wetlands between the old tracks and the estuary.


There’s plenty of wildlife to see here, particularly on the lake that was built with nesting waterfowl in mind, with reed beds and low, overhanging trees making an ideal nursery for many types of birds.






A small jetty at one end of the lake allows visitors to be surrounded by grateful beaks just waiting to be fed…




..some more forward than others.


  Are you going to feed me then?


                … Well?

The gulls will even take food on the wing..


..and there’s always s fight for the last few crumbs.


The landscape around the trail always has something to catch the eye..





..which is why we keep going back.

If you want more information about the Tarka Trail go here.


Posted by on June 22, 2013 in Photography, Picture this., Travel


Tags: , , , , , ,

13 responses to “Picture this. The Tarka trail…

  1. Carl Allen Anfinse

    June 22, 2013 at 23:00

    Some of your photos would make exquisite paintings! Loved to take a crack at it. Enjoyed your day with you.

    • dalecooper57

      June 22, 2013 at 23:25

      Thanks. If you want to have a go, take whatever you like. I’m not possessive about my pictures.

  2. iancochrane

    June 23, 2013 at 00:33

    You are so lucky Dale. A beautiful piece of the world.
    Cheers, ic

  3. Ron

    June 23, 2013 at 01:30

    Dale, what AWESOME photos!

    Especially love the ones of the view down the trail, the cows, and the close up of the duck – PRICLESS!

    What a lovely area you live! And thanks for sharing it!

  4. Lanthie Ransom

    June 23, 2013 at 05:52

    So love your pics. You live in one of the mort serene places ever.

    • dalecooper57

      June 23, 2013 at 12:10

      Yes, we are very fortunate to have all this just up the road from home. I love visiting the lake, we’ve seen a heron there once or twice too.

  5. Helena Fortissima

    June 23, 2013 at 12:50

    Another picturesque post, Dale. I especially loved that hungry, spotty-faced duck…such an expressive little fellow! The stone bridge looks like it’s very old. Any idea when that was constructed? The scenery and animals are all just beautiful.

  6. Rum Punch Drunk

    June 23, 2013 at 14:24

    You managed to get some really nice photos and to see it all live must have been even better. You must have had a great time there. Anyone who lives in places like this are really lucky, no wonder you keep going back to visit.

  7. Big D

    June 23, 2013 at 15:10

    Looks like a lovely part of the world. Loved the pushy duck too.

  8. jerseylil

    June 24, 2013 at 07:37

    Dale, great shots of all the waterfowl! Interesting railways artifacts too. I can definitely see why you keep going back to this trail, it’s so beautiful and full of life.

  9. Gator Woman

    June 24, 2013 at 11:40

    These are wonderful. You live in such a tranquil place~


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