A Devon Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve
Wonderful views of the Exe Valley beyond the city stretch from this peaceful corner. Enjoy grassland walks at Belvidere, or visit Duryard for a good picnic site overlooking the valley.
About the reserve
Two sites to explore over 11 hectares near the University of Exeter, with some very long views and peaceful meadow walks in a local nature reserve.
Did you know, Duryard was once a Royal Saxon deer park. (dur meaning deer and yard meaning hunting area)?
Little Devon A phenomenal view of Exeter, with benches to sit and enjoy a picnic. Or wander through the kissing gate and let the kids run up and down the hill and enjoy building dens in the little woodland.
Much less known than the other Valley parks managed by Devon Wildlife Trust that we love – see Mincinglake Valley Park and Ludwell Valley Park, and very different as there is no great network of paths to enjoy a walk, BUT the views are phenomenal and well worth coming for those alone. This walk relies on walking for a short time on busy Pennsylvania Road (a road with no pavement) and then it takes you down one (albeit quiet) road of houses and up another. My children (although great walkers) much preferred being in the Duryard Valley park itself, enjoying the nature and the mini woodland at the bottom of the valley in the second field.
Exeter Memories This area is associated with the University in the north of the city. It was once the hunting land of Anglo-Saxon kings and was the manor of Duryard. The name comes from the Anglo-Saxon dear (deer) and geard (fold). It stretched from the river on the west to Stoke Hill on the east, and Stoke Woods in the north to the Hoopern Valley just north of the city. The University occupies the southern section of the old forest. The historian, Professor W G Hoskins thought that King Athelstan may have granted the land to the city around 930. A reference to the name Derard is found in the Cartulary of St Nicholas Priory. Duryard Valley Park is one of Exeter's green spaces - much is privately owned but the Belvedire Meadows Local Nature Reserve is open to the public, and the private roads are open for walkers. There is a picnic area off Pennsylvania Road giving fine views across the valley park towards mid Devon.
Duryard Trust The Duryard Park Estate is located to the north of Exeter and the University Streatham campus. The estate consists of land crossed by a number of privately owned roads, tracks and paths. Ownership of these roads, tracks and paths is vested in the Duryard Trust created by a deed of covenant dated 1864. The Trust does not have any ownership of any estate lands. It is the Trustees and the Management Committees wish, to maintain the rural feel and character of the Duryard Park Estate for all our enjoyment for many years to come.
Bus and walk routes overlaid onto OpenStreetMap https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=15/50.7424/-3.5333
Getting to Duryard Valley Park
Getting there by Bus
The closest bus stop to Duryard Valley Park is on Stoke Valley Road, opposite Florida Drive. Walk back to Pennsylvania Road and turn uphill. You will find the entrance to Duryard Valley Park on your left. There are no pavements on this 150m section from the junction up to Duryard Valley Park. You could continue your walk by walking down Wreford's Lane to Barton Place Farm Shop and catch a bus at West Garth Road to Exeter or Crediton.
Duryard West Garth Road top (N-bound) – bustimes.org from Exeter to Crediton
The closest bus stop to Belvidere Meadows Valley Park is next to 165 Pennsylvania Road, before you get to the junction with Argyll Road. After leaving the bus, walk up to the Argyll Road junction and take the second road to your left (Belvidere Road). This narrow road wili take you down to Belvidere Meadows. You can continue your walk along Exeter Green Circle through upper Taddiforde Brook to catch a bus at Exeter University Innovation Centre.
BusTimes.org is the unofficial home of bus, coach and ferry transport information. This interactive map shows bus stops and live bus positions with links to routes and time tables.
The Exeter Green Circle is a twelve mile walk that provides a great walking experience within the boundaries of Exeter - from green countryside valley parks to the pavements of quiet leafy suburbs. The walk is made up of five sections:
- The Alphin Brook Walk (3 miles)
- The Ludwell Valley Walk (3 miles)
- The Mincinglake Walk (2 miles)
- The Hoopern Valley Walk (2 miles)
- The Redhills Walk (2.5 miles)
With return via Duryard Valley Park 3.8 miles. Thanks to route sponsor Southern Healthcare.
The first mile of this route is of busy road and rail. Red Cow level crossing is on the main Exeter to Paddington railway line, and also the Tarka line for North Devon. A steep uphill climb, with a return descent through woodland trails and splendid views.
Turn right at the junction of Argyll Road and Pennsylvania Road for a short walk to the bus stop.
With return via Beacon Heath and Mincinglake Valley Park 6.5 miles. Thanks to route sponsor Green Tree Court care home.
The start of this walk passes just below the highest point in Exeter at the top of Stoke Hill, once the site of a Roman signal station. From this elevation, the route descends through quiet footpaths, fields, tracks, and stretches on roads without pavements. There are scenic views at Beacon Hill by St Michaels and All Angels Church, a descent to Harrington Lane. You can return to the start via Mincinglake Valley Park.