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Devon walks: The Templer Way
By Laura Joint
BBC Devon

The granite tramway at Haytor
The granite tramway at Haytor on Dartmoor

Templer Way is an 18-mile route from Haytor on Dartmoor down to the South Devon coast at Teignmouth.

Its origins date back to the late 18th and early 19th centuries, with the construction of the Stover Canal, and the granite tramway to transport the rock from Haytor.

The canal and tramway were built by the Templer family who bought a lot of land in the area in the 18th century.

Exeter-born James Templer was brought up as an orphan and ran away to sea.

He returned a rich man, having made his fortune with the building of Madras Docks in India.

The old quarry at Haytor
The old quarry at Haytor, where the track starts

In 1792, his son, also called James, built the Stover Canal from Teigngrace to the tidal River Teign at Newton Abbot, in order to transport clay from his land. The clay was then exported from Teignmouth docks.

Then, in 1820, his son George built the granite tramway from Haytor to the Stover Canal, to get granite from his quarries down to the docks.

The tramway was an amazing feat - yet it was only in use until the 1850s, when the granite quarries became uneconomical.

The canal remained in use until World War II.

Today, the Templer Way is a walking route which takes in open moor, woodland, and river valleys.

Beech trees alongside the tramway
The beech-lined section of the tramway

It is split into six sections, and I walked stage 1 from Haytor to Edgemoor - a four mile walk, and downhill all the way (make sure you have a car at each end!).

The granite tramway starts at the old quarries behind Haytor, and you can't really get lost because you simply follow the track.

The main quarry is worth a visit, too. It gives you an idea of how deep the quarrying went, and it has some industrial remnants of its mining days. And the dogs love the lake there.

From Haytor, you get fantastic views down the the south coast. Look out for the two churches at St Marychurch in Torquay, and the Torquay hot air balloon.

With Haytor on your right, you head downwards - and just keep on going.

Apple orchard
Apples blossoming in the restored orchard

At times, the tramway isn't visible, but there are Templer Way signs to point you in the right direction.

You'll reach Yarner Wood, where there is a fabulous section of the tramway through a beech-lined avenue.

The next part of the walk takes you along a permissive path on Natural England land, and you'll walk through a restored apple orchard featuring many Devon varieties.

At the end of the orchard, there is a minor road. Turn left here and walk along the road for a short distance.

Follow the Templer Way signs until you reach Edgemoor, and the end of this particular section of the route.

Give yourself 2 to 2.5 hours to complete this part of Templer Way.

You can find out more and download the walk details from the Templer Way website which is linked from this page.

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