The Green Circle: Exeter’s best kept secret?

PUBLISHED: 15:27 15 May 2015 | UPDATED: 15:27 15 May 2015

Millers Crossing taken by Tony Howell

Millers Crossing taken by Tony Howell


Exeter is continuously on the rise, whether it is a new Ikea, the development of the Science Park or the approaching Rugby World Cup, the city is fast becoming the buzzing business capital of the South West. However, surrounding the city centre there is a circle of serene green left to enjoy; Sam Hill has a look at the city’s best kept secret, The Exeter Green Circle.

The trail along Roly Poly HillThe trail along Roly Poly Hill

Anyone who lives in Exeter will be fully aware of some of the great walks and cycles the city has to offer, but one less known route is a walk that surrounds the city known as ‘The Green Circle’.

Whatever your reasons are for walking, here in Devon we are blessed to have the countryside right at our doorstep and after a shy spring, the promise of better weather begins to beckon us all to get out and about.

Walkers and hikers have long sung the benefits of a good walk being great for your health, but it seems that walks in the countryside offer extra health benefits such as mental wellbeing and stress relief. Interacting with nature allows people to switch off and unwind away from the distractions of home, work and the hustle and bustle of city life. We are never too far away from the tranquillity and serenity of the countryside

This appears to be Exeter’s best kept secret.

The Exeter Green Circle covers trail and tarmac and is relatively traffic free showcasing some surprisingly rural stretches which boarder the sleepy suburbs of the city.

The Circle connects many of the city’s green spaces and as it circles around the city it is accessible from almost anywhere.

From dog-walkers to joggers, this 12 mile walk around the city has something for everyone and is great fun for children as they get to treat it like a treasure hunt, looking out for the next arrow that directs the way along each route. You can find these signs stuck to stiles, lamp posts and even on the side of council owned bins.

Ten years ago, Exeter City Council set up the walking route with the aim of providing easy and pleasant routes for walking between different neighbourhoods of the city.

Be sure to keep a lookout for the Green Circle signsBe sure to keep a lookout for the Green Circle signs

A spokesman at Exeter City Council said “The aim was to encourage physical activity to keep people healthy and to provide challenges for walkers of all abilities, through the possibility of walking either the whole route or sections of it.”

The walk is made up of the following five sections;

The Alphin Brook Walk section is about three miles long and follows the valley of the Alphin Brook. The upper section of the brook flows through rich agricultural land separated from the city by a ridge of hills. The brook is tamed in a modern channel to prevent it flooding the old village of Alphington and its modern neighbour the industrial estate of Marsh Barton. Discover views and locations that are all part of Exeter but which often seem miles from a city.

The Ludwell Valley Walk is three miles long exploring the Riverside Valley Park, passing over the historic Exeter Ship Canal and the River Exe. In contrast through the Ludwell Valley Park the walk follows the quiet Northbrook overlooked by sloping meadows and at this time of year, a wonderful array of summer flowers.

The Hoopern Valley Walk is just over two miles and winds close to the City Wall and through the centre of St David’s. Elsewhere it follows parts of the picturesque Hoopern Valley through the University of Exeter’s Streatham campus with its arboretum. Near the high point of the route, there are views to the sea in one direction and Dartmoor in another over Duryard Valley Park.

A view over Exeter from RedhillsA view over Exeter from Redhills

The Redhills Walk is about two and a half miles and explores the western fringes of Exeter. This route starts at Millers Crossing which is next to the Mill on the Exe restaurant. With a few steep hills to climb, you will end up at the top of Redhills with spectacular views across Exeter and the estuary.

The Mincinglake Walk is a little over two miles and follows Mincinglake stream. The walk includes Mincinglake Valley Park, an attractive countryside park with butterfly-rich flower meadows. Here you will find breath-taking views down the Exe estuary to the sea from viewpoints near the route in the Valley Park.

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