Nestling in the wooded Barle valley, the Tarr Steps clapper bridge in one of Exmoor’s finest gems!

The name “clapper bridge” comes from the Medieval Latin “claperius” which means “pile of stones”.

It is an ancient type of bridge constructed with large slabs of stone resting on one another without the use of mortar.

Tarr Steps is the largest example of its type.

The stone slabs weigh up to two tons each. The bridge is 180 feet (55 m) long and has 17 spans.

The ancient woodland around Tarr Steps is owned by Exmoor National Park Authority and covers 33 hectares of the River Barle valley.

There are a number of river walks to embark upon.

And while walking along the river you’ll probably catch sight of dippers, wagtails and kingfishers!


Tarr Steps is a great place to go when looking to explore Exmoor National Park. You can head straight there.

From the site car park is it just a gentle walk down to the ancient clapper bridge.

For a short circular walk from the bridge just follow the orange way marks.

It’s a delightful 1.8-mile walk upstream to cross by a footbridge to return the other side of the river.

We enjoyed several walks around this area starting at Dulverton, one of the gateways to the moor.

A wonderful 7-mile loop will take you from the magical Tarr Steps alongside the winding River Barle through deep forests to the Somerset village of Withypool.

There is a challenging 12-mile circular walk from Dulverton to Tarr Steps which takes in the heathland of Winsford Hill.

This hill stays invisible until you are almost there. Once you´re at the top, you will be rewarded with stunning views as far as Dartmoor.

Images by Cool Places Britain
Two Moors Way

At Tarr Steps you can also join the Two Moors Way.

The Two Moors Way spans 102 miles from Ivybridge on the southern boundary of Dartmoor National Park to Lynmouth on the North Devon Coast in Exmoor.

The section from Hawkridge to Withypool passes Tarr Steps. You could extend this walk towards Exford. Joining the Exe Valley Way at Hawkridge.

Exe Valley Way

The Exe Valley Way is a long-distance route for walkers exploring the length of the River Exe valley.

It is almost 50 miles (80km) in length, stretching from the South West Coast Path National Trail on the Exe Estuary to the village of Exford on the high land of Exmoor.

Cool Places to Explore: Dunkery Beacon | Selworthy | Quantock Hills AONB | Lynton & Lynmouth | Heddon Valley.