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Getting to Tarr Steps is a bit of a challenge but the pay off is worth the hassle believe me. If you are in the Exmoor National Park area and fancy some picturesque sceney this is THE place to go. Nowhere else (that's easily accessable) is quite so beautiful.
To reach Tarr Steps the best way I've found is to go to Dulverton and follow the signs. Be warned, however, that Tarr Steps has roads going to the river on both banks but no vehicle bridge across. My husband once made the mistake of trying to follow a sat-nav to Tarr Steps instead of doing it the old-fashioned way and the sat-nav brought him the wrong side of the river to the car park. We'd all finished our picnic by the time he'd driven all the way around!
Now, as you've just heard, there is a car park at Tarr Steps. This has been developed in recent year and now has room for loads of cars, and there is a toilet block too, always an advantage. From the car park you have to take a short walk down the hill to the river.
Although it is a popular destination with tourists and locals alike it remains relative unspoilt. There is a small guest house/hotel with a restaurant which serves rather lovely cream teas, and on warm, busy days an ice cream kiosk. This is it. The beauty of Tarr Steps lies in the landscape.
The main draw is the clapper bridge, an old fashioned foot bridge made of giant stone slabs. This is right next to the ford, which can be crossed by brave vehicles and 4x4s when the water is low enough. On a summer day it's nice to go paddling in the water here and many people do.
Then there are a number of walks through the surrounding woodland. My favourite is to stay on the car park side of the river and follow along with it on your left. This takes you past the flood defences designed to catch washed away trees, past a rather intriguing log full of coins, to a footbridge. Here you can cross the river, play on the rope swing if you're brave enough and follow the path back to the the clapper bridge. The path on the way back is higher above the river and offers some good views through the trees.
This walk takes no more than 45 minutes at a leisurely pace but is sufficient to let you work up an appetitie for ice cream. Sit back and enjoy it in the sunshine next to the tranquil sound of the water trickling under the bridge. Ideal!