North Devon Coast

National Landscape

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Silver, Smoke & Strawberries

Silver, Smoke and Strawberries – circular walk booklet for Combe Martin

A new self-guided, illustrated walk exploring the industrial heritage of Combe Martin has been produced by the North Devon Coast AONB team. This 6 mile walk through parts of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Exmoor National Park and the village of Combe Martin takes the walker through nine centuries of history.

“Combe Martin is different to its neighbouring towns due to its remoteness and industry, which left it a ‘shammick’ of a town – dirty and industrial,” said Chrissie Ingle, the AONB’s Project Development Officer who researched the walk. “Industrial activities starting with mining in the Medieval Period, and lime burning in the Eighteenth Century continued up until the 1930’s with periods of quarrying and mining in between. The Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century saw a shift to commercial market gardening in the valleys with Combe Martin strawberries still famous today. Although this industrial past delayed the development of tourism in the valley when compared to Ilfracombe, it has left a fascinating legacy of clues in the landscape for us to discover and enjoy.”

“Combe Martin’s population has left evidence of their historic activities in the buildings, pathways, products and landscapes all around the village,” said AONB Manager Jenny Carey-Wood. “This walk takes you on a journey through time with outstanding views, peaceful lanes and historic sites at every turn. Some visitors will have heard of the strawberries or the silver mines, but we wanted to give them the whole story by highlighting the influence of landscape, geology and soils on the changing activities over time in the village of Combe Martin.”

The walk booklet was developed as part of the Historic Environment Action Plan for Combe Martin with input from the Combe Martin miners, Walk and Talk Group, the Museum and Parish Council and provides an activity to encourage new visitors to the area. The booklet is available from Combe Martin Museum, Ilfracombe TIC and Lynmouth Pavilion or downloadable at http://www.northdevoncoast-nl.org.uk/explore/silver-smoke-strawberries-self-guided-walk