Tarr Steps is a medieval clapper bridge over the river Barle which spans the fifty-five foot river in seventeen spans of flat stone. Close by are burial mounds of Bronze Age men from 5,000 years ago.
Owned by Exmoor National Park Authority, Tarr Steps Woodland National Nature Reserve covers 33 hectares of the River Barle valley. This is mainly Sessile Oak woodland, with beech, ash, sycamore, hazel, blackberry, bluebells and honeysuckle. Much of the woodland was once coppiced, primarily to provide charcoal for the local iron smelting industry. The river and the valley woodlands are part of the Barle Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest and abound with wildlife, ranging from red deer to dormice, including the rare Barbastelle Bat and otter that feed along the unpolluted and fast-flowing river.
Well marked footpaths run along the valley between Simonsbath and Dulverton and to the village of Withypool. There is a circular walk from the main car park for Tarr Steps down to the river, along the riverbank for about 1.3 kilometres to a footbridge and returning on the other side, crossing the river on the clapper bridge. The main car park and toilets (about 400 metres from the bridge via a footpath) can be reached from the B3223 road between Withypool and Dulverton. Parking for the disabled and refreshments are available nearer the bridge.
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Exmoor National Park, Dulverton, Somerset, North Devon, TA24 7QP
Map reference: SS 846355 Lat: 51.10761 Long: -3.64947
Tarr Steps Woodland is near the southern boundary of the Exmoor National Park mid-way between the villages of Liscombe and Hawkridge. Access by car is via minor roads from the B3223.