Exploring one of Exeter’s best kept secrets: Mamhead Sensory Trail

Our newest Exeter Explorer, Stephanie Walker, discovered Mamhead Sensory Trail the other day and loved it so much she thought she should share her experience. Keep it under your hat though – we don’t want everyone to know.


My daughter’s school, for absolutely wonderful reasons, put all their inset and occasional days together in October to give a two week half term. I love having her at home and miss her a lot during term time. However adding one more person to my daily “Mummy, Mummy” demands is draining. How anyone has three children at home full time I do not know, I salute you!

So as we came to the end of the first week of half term, I knew that we needed to get out into the fresh air and explore. Somewhere the kids could run wild and the dog could have a glorious time too. So we headed out to the Mamhead Sensory Trail with our good friend Rich and his brood. 

If you’ve not been there before I highly recommend you head out there one day. Think Haldon Forest (it’s managed by the same people) but smaller, less people, no bikes and no car parking fee.
The path is flat and mostly level so a pushchair is easy and makes this suitable for all abilities. There are picnic tables dotted around the looped walk and there’s an optional add on to lengthen the walk from 1 mile to 1.5 miles. Perfect for little legs!

Our girls loved the various wood carvings and signage that tells you about the area. They also enjoyed the clearing we discovered, that had two large dens to play in. The dog appreciated being able to weave in and out of the wooded areas and particularly enjoyed several muddy ditches.

Mamhead Sensory Trail by steph walker for exploring exeter

My favourite part of the walk has to be the amazing view of the estuary that suddenly appears out of nowhere as you round a bend. The view wasn’t that clear on our visit (although still beautiful). On a less cloudy day you can see right out across the estuary to Exmouth and to the open sea. Just before this view there is also the Mamhead Obelisk which was built in 1742 and is listed. It’s slightly off the main path so easy to miss, but if you spot it, it’s worth the slight detour to explore.

Mamhead is only an extra mile drive from Exeter than Haldon and (if I don’t tell too many people about it) the lack of people and bikes – actually just the awesome view – definitely makes it worth those extra few minutes in the car.

You can find out all you need to know with a map on the Forestry Commissions website here.

You might also like this blog about Haldon.

About the Author: Stephanie Walker

Originally from Coventry with a slight detour via Wolverhampton and Luton, Steph moved to Exeter in January 2013. She lives in the St Thomas area of the city with her husband Chris, their 3 daughters and springer spaniel Freddie. 

A primary school teacher gone rogue, Steph currently works for Makelunch a national charity seeking to end holiday hunger for children and also runs weekly singing sessions for toddlers and their grown ups. 

Steph is passionate about building community, being honest about parenting ( in particular our birth experiences and post-natal mental health) and food! 


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