GUIDED WALKS

"Oyez, Oyez and thrice 'yez...."

.... the familiar cry of the town's tour guide, Tom Evans.

Mr Evans, who ran the town's Tourist Information Centre (TIC) for 30 years, has been conducting guided walks of Barnstaple since 1983.

Each walk is tailored to suit the time allowed, the start and finishing points, the weather, the time of day and the particular interests of the group.

Groups of any size from 6 to 60, in number, can commission a walk. Daytime groups tend to be larger (av. 35) and louder; evening parties are usually more intimate, with about 10 to 20 people.

Individuals or families are welcome to join any of the pre-booked guided walks listed below — except those marked with a star (☆).

If you wish to book a guided walk, please 'phone 01271 378935.



Schools may commission walks or studies of.....

  • 'Saxon and Norman Barnstaple'
  • 'Barnstaple during the Tudors and Stuarts'
  • 'Barnstaple's Victorian Social History'
  • 'The Maritime Trade of Barnstaple'
  • 'Barnstaple's Railway History'
  • 'An Explanation for the Town's Spirit of Mercantile Endeavour'
  • 'A Study of the Architecture of Barnstaple Town Centre'
  • 'A Study of the Change of Use of Town Buildings'
  • 'A Study of Geographical Influences on Barnstaple's Evolution'
  • 'Pirates and Privateers on the North Devon Coast'
All the subjects listed above are better served by a hour – immediately before or after the walk/study – discussing, handling and drawing relevant objects in the Museum of North Devon.
The Museum offers this service free of charge to local schools — contact the Schools' Liaison Officer, Museum of North Devon, tel 01271 346747.

COACH GUIDING

North Devon and Exmoor


Tom Evans has guided hundreds of coach parties since 1986.

Many group organizers have sent letters of thanks, including:
"....We have also had many guided tours in different parts of the country but never one more enjoyable. It was generally agreed that your tour really was the highlight of our holiday and all my group would like to send sincere thanks...."
V S, Christchurch, Dorset, for group staying at Saunton Sands Hotel.

Tom Evans is available for coach guiding on any day that is not already booked for a guided walk or another coach tour — see list below.

If you wish to book a coach guide, please 'phone 01271 378935.


The Gilbert Paige Almshouses (c1650) and Alice Horwood's School for poor maids (1659), Church Lane.

in the churchyard

Tom Evans addresses the throng in St Peters Churchyard, prior to visiting the C16th Grammar School.

a busy day in the pannier market

Riverside Walk passes under the first arch of the town's 16-arch 14th century Long Bridge.

eighteenth century oil painting of barnstaple

The medieval town of Bardnestapole became an influential trading port in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

The Great Quay, which was completed in 1565, later attracted merchant shipping for the American Trade.



The Second Guildhall, built in 16th century, was replaced by the present Guildhall in 1827.

oil paintings of the town's worthies

Some of the Hudson portraits in The Guildhall.



The Penrose Square, twenty almshouses built under the will of Johannes (John) Penrose in 1627.

oyez oyez 'tis green man day

Green Man Day – the Pilton festival: Tom Evans, bearing the proclamation, leads the procession.



The Pannier Market, built in 1855 to separate dairy and vegetable sales from meat and livestock.

balls of bizzie lizzies hung 'neath the wooden canopy

Butchers' Row, also 1855, faces north, the wooden canopy keeps the butchers shops in permanent shade.



linocut print by the late rita evans

This is one of the many linocut prints which brought my late wife's artwork to local and regional recognition.
For more examples, see: Rita's Web Pages

Where is Barnstaple ?

Barnstaple sits on the northern side, the drier side, of the Taw estuary at its first fording place, six miles from the sea. It was possible to wade across the Taw, at low tide, from a position upstream of its confluence with the river Yeo. The late-Saxon fortified burh, naturally defended by the tidal waters of the Yeo to the north, and the Taw to the west and south, had defences constructed on the eastern side by Athelstan, King of Wessex, in 928AD.

Why is Barnstaple called Barnstaple ?

The earliest surviving use of the name was on coins of the 10th century as "Beardastapol". The Domesday Book of 1086 spells it as "Barnestaple".
There are two interpretations of the name: Bearda is known to have been a saxon personal name (as used in Bearda Valley and Bearda Mill in Staffordshire), whereas Bearde was a saxon word for a battle-axe. Stapol meant a pillar or post. So it is either the pillar or post of Bearda or the pillar or post of the battle-axe.
I have recently corresponded on this matter with a world leading academic on Anglo Saxon history. He explained to me why a desire has evolved, in certain seats of learning, to discard the personal names in place-names in favour of more colourful descriptions. However, in the case of Bearde Stapol, he does not comprehend what a battle-axe post was nor can he imagine how it could be used. So he, whilst unwilling to be definite, is inclined to accept the meaning set out in J Gover, A Mawer and F M Stenton, The Place-Names of Devon (Cambridge 1931), pp. 25-7, as Beardastapol – the pillar or post of Bearda. Perhaps the pillar was used as a marker for the ford, which would have been difficult to find at high tide.
TE. Sept 2012

How old is the Castle Mound ?

The Castle Mound is all that remains of the 11th century Norman motte and bailey castle. The Normans built five hundred such castles in England between 1066 and 1086, their principal purpose was to suppress the conquered Saxons: to establish Norman control of the land and its people. Barnstaple's castle was built on the western side of the fortified town; from here the Norman lord could command both the town and its river crossings.


Barnstaple is the principal market town of North Devon

Click here for ... more of what to see and do in Barnstaple


Options and Charges for Guided Walks and Study Walks

Most tours take about 1¼ to 1½ hours. However some local clubs and history groups prefer a full in-depth history of the town, this can take about 2 hours, or be split into two parts, each of about 1¼ hours.

Tour Charges
local school
language school
small group
less than 20
larger group
20 plus
Daytime
£20
£25
£20
£25
Evenings
-
-
£25
£30
Weekends
£20
£25
£25
£30
Christmas
-
-
£40
£55

Where to start your guided walk

Daytime tours start from the entrance to the Museum in The Square, unless otherwise stated in brackets, eg (Lib) – the North Devon Library.
Admission is free to the Museum which is open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm in winter and 10am to 5pm in the summer.
Evening tours often start from the North Devon Library, beside the Castle Mound: where there is a large carpark (which is free after 6pm).
You may prefer Tom Evans to meet you at your hotel, or to tailor the route in order to finish at a particular venue.

 

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Copyright 2005-2016

 
2017 Bookings       Individuals or small groups may join (free of charge) any walk listed below, except those marked with a star (☆)   If you want to see last year's list, click www.oyez-oyez.co.uk/oyez2016.htm
- change the date for other years
             
5th Jan Thurs 1.30pm 14+ Chilean teachers / students (Lib) (☆) NDSE intro to town + simple history
6th Jan Fri 1.00pm 14+ Chilean students (NW) (☆) NDSE coach to Woolacombe and Ilfracombe
11th Jan Wed 1.00pm 14+ Chilean students (NW) (☆) NDSE coach to Lynton and Lynmouth
19th Jan Thurs 10.00am 11+ Lampard Community School (Lib) (☆) LCS history of Barnstaple
23rd Jan Mon 1.00pm 14+ Chilean students (NW) (☆) NDSE coach to Westward Ho! and Clovelly
10th Feb Fri 2.00pm 21 Czech trainee teachers (☆) SOL intro to town + simple history
25th Feb Sat 1.00pm 0+ Newport School private group (☆) NCS intro to town + simple history
6th Mar Mon 1.15pm 34+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
10th Mar Fri 2.00pm 26+ Italian school children (☆) NCS intro to town + simple history
15th Mar Wed 1.30pm 30+ Hungarian students (Lib) (☆) NDSE intro to town + simple history
27th Mar Mon 1.15pm 40+ Slovak students SOL intro to town + simple history
19th Apr Wed 11.00am 28 Croatian trainee teachers (☆) SOL intro to town + simple history
21st Apr Fri 2.30pm 0+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
24th Apr Mon 3.30pm 20+ Bavarian teachers (Lib) (☆) NDSE intro to town + simple history
25th Apr Tues 1.30pm 10+ Lampard Community School (☆) LCS Norman Barnstaple
27th Apr Thurs 1.00pm 20+ Bavarian teachers (NW) (☆) NDSE coach to Lynton and Lynmouth
3rd May Wed 1.15pm 42+ Czech students SOL intro to town + simple history
8th May Mon 1.15pm 0+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
8th May Mon 3.00pm 11+2 Spanish students (☆) (Lib) PCC intro to town + simple history
15th May Mon 1.15pm 39+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
15th May Mon 2.45pm 17+2 Austrian students (Lib) (☆) NDSE intro to town + simple history
16th May Tues 2.30pm 0+ Slovak students SOL intro to town + simple history
29th May Mon 1.15pm 0+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
1st Jun Thurs 1.15pm 57+ Czech students SOL intro to town + simple history
2nd Jun Fri 10.00am 40+ Shearings tour groups (☆) (QAW) BTC Historic Barnstaple
9th Jun Fri 10.00am 40+ Shearings tour group (☆) (QAW) BTC Historic Barnstaple
12th Jun Mon 1.15pm 0+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
13th Jun Tues 1.15pm 40+ Czech students SOL intro to town + simple history
13th Jun Tues 3.00pm 24+ Slovak students SOL intro to town + simple history
15th Jun Thurs 4.30pm 20+ GWR conference delegates (☆) (R&F) DCRP Historic Barnstaple
22nd Jun Thurs 6.00pm 4+ Private group AVR Historic Barnstaple
26th Jun Mon 10.30am 29+ Bulgarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
26th Jun Mon 1.15pm 60+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
26th Jun Mon 2.30pm 0+ Bulgarian / Romanian students SOL intro to town + simple history
27th Jun Tues 1.15pm 17+ French and Spanish students (☆) ALICE intro to town + simple history
28th Jun Wed 1.30pm 27+2 Spanish students (Lib) (☆) NDSE intro to town + simple history
30th Jun Fri 10.00am 40+ Shearings tour groups (☆) (QAW) BTC Historic Barnstaple
1st Jul Sat 1.30pm 31+2 Romanian students (Lib) (☆) NDSE intro to town + simple history
3rd Jul Mon 10.30am 0+ International teachers SOL intro to town + simple history
3rd Jul Mon 1.15pm 16+ Bulgarian / Serbian students SOL intro to town + simple history
3rd Jul Mon 2.30pm 36+ Romanian students SOL intro to town + simple history
5th Jul Wed 6.00pm 10+ Ashford Lit. & Arts Society (Lib) ALAS Historic Barnstaple
7th Jul Fri 10.00am 40+ Shearings tour group (☆) (QAW) BTC Historic Barnstaple
7th Jul Fri 1.15pm 25+ Romanian students SOL intro to town + simple history
10th Jul Mon 1.15pm 20+ Spanish / Romanian / Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
12th Jul Wed 10.30am 45+6 French students (☆) LEC* intro to town + simple history
13th Jul Thurs 10.30am 45+6 French students (☆) LEC* intro to town + simple history
13th Jul Thurs 2.30pm 45+ Croatian / Bulgarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
15th Jul Sat 11.00am   Pilton Green Man Festival PGM Town Crying - procession
17th Jul Mon 10.30am 0+ International teachers SOL intro to town + simple history
18th Jul Tues 10.30am 0+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
18th Jul Tues 1.15pm 0+ Serbian students SOL intro to town + simple history
21st Jul Fri 2.30pm 38+ Serbian students SOL intro to town + simple history
25th Jul Tues 1.30pm 40+2 Croatian students (Lib) (☆) NDSE intro to town + simple history
27th Jul Thurs 10.30am 46+ Romanian students SOL intro to town + simple history
27th Jul Thurs 1.15pm 56+ Romanian students SOL intro to town + simple history
28th Jul Fri 10.00am 40+ Shearings tour group (☆) (QAW) BTC Historic Barnstaple
31st Jul Mon 2.30pm 26+ Ukraine / Macedonian students SOL intro to town + simple history
4th Aug Fri 10.00am 40+ Shearings tour group (☆) (QAW) BTC Historic Barnstaple
8th Aug Tues 10.30am 41+ Slovak students SOL intro to town + simple history
8th Aug Tues 1.15pm 52+ Bulgarian / Romanian students SOL intro to town + simple history
14th Aug Mon 1.30pm 26+3 Romanian students (Lib) (☆) NDSE intro to town + simple history
15th Aug Tues 2.30pm 42+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
17th Aug Thurs 1.00pm 26+3 Romanian students (NW) (☆) NDSE coach to Lynton and Lynmouth
18th Aug Fri 10.30am 0+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
18th Aug Fri 1.15pm 26+ Romanian students SOL intro to town + simple history
25th Aug Fri 10.00am 40+ Shearings tour groups (☆) (QAW) BTC Historic Barnstaple
28th Aug Mon 1.15pm 0+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
1st Sep Fri 10.00am 40+ Shearings tour groups (☆) (QAW) BTC Historic Barnstaple
4th Sep Mon 10.30am 0+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
4th Sep Mon 1.15pm 0+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
12th Sep Tues 1.15pm 48+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
21st Sep Thurs 2.30pm 13+1 Spanish students (Lib) (☆) NDSE intro to town + simple history
22nd Sep Fri 10.00am 40+ Shearings tour groups (☆) (QAW) BTC Historic Barnstaple
26th Sep Tues 9.30am 26+ Ashleigh School (☆) APS Victorian Social History
27th Sep Wed 9.30am 26+ Ashleigh School (☆) APS Victorian Social History
28th Sep Thurs 9.30am 26+ Ashleigh School (☆) APS Victorian Social History
29th Sep Fri 10.00am 40+ Shearings tour groups (☆) (QAW) BTC Historic Barnstaple
5th Oct Thurs 1.00pm 25+3 Goodleigh Primary School (☆) GPS Victorian Social History
30th Oct Mon 1.30pm 40+ Polish / Slovene students SOL intro to town + simple history
31st Oct Tues 1.30pm 36+5 Czech students (Lib) (☆) NDSE intro to town + simple history
1st Nov Wed 1.00pm 36+5 Czech students (NW) (☆) NDSE coach to Woolacombe and Ilfracombe
2nd Nov Thurs 1.00pm 36+5 Czech students (NW) (☆) NDSE coach to Lynton and Lynmouth
6th Nov Mon 9.30am 30+6 Our Lady's School (☆) OLS Barnstaple - Past and Present
             
             
             
             
             
             
             
2018 Bookings       Individuals or small groups may join (free of charge) any walk listed below, except those marked with a star (☆)    
             
8th Jan Mon 1.30pm 10+2 Chilean students (Lib) (☆) NDSE intro to town + simple history
2nd Feb Fri 1.15pm 21 Czech trainee teachers SOL intro to town + simple history
20th Feb Tues 10.00am 45+ Slovak students (Lib) NDSE intro to town + simple history
20th Feb Tues 1.30pm 45+ Slovak students (Lib) NDSE intro to town + simple history
28th Feb Wed 10.30am 20+ Roborough Probus (ImpHl) RPC Historic Barnstaple
5th Mar Mon 1.15pm 25+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
12th Mar Mon 1.15pm 46+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
19th Mar Mon 1.15pm 39+ Slovak students SOL intro to town + simple history
19th Mar Mon 2.30pm 0+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
21st Mar Wed 1.30pm 35+3 Czech students (Lib) NDSE intro to town + simple history
26th Mar Mon 10.30am 41+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
26th Mar Mon 1.15pm 30+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
26th Mar Mon 2.30pm 0+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
5th Apr Thurs 1.15pm 37+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
13th Apr Fri 1.15pm 30+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
17th Apr Tues 1.15pm 43+ Czech students SOL intro to town + simple history
23rd Apr Mon 1.15pm 0+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
7th May Mon 1.15pm 40+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
8th May Tues 1.15pm 42+ Czech students SOL intro to town + simple history
14th May Mon 1.15pm 0+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
15th May Tues 1.15pm 40+ Slovak students SOL intro to town + simple history
31st May Thurs 1.15pm 57+ Czech students SOL intro to town + simple history
4th June Mon 1.30pm 22+2 Austrian students (Lib) NDSE intro to town + simple history
12th June Tues 1.15pm 0+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
18th June Mon 1.30pm 40+3 Czech students (Lib) NDSE intro to town + simple history
25th June Mon 1.15pm 60+6 Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
26th June Tues 1.15pm 55+ Bulgarian / Serbian students SOL intro to town + simple history
28th June Thurs 1.30pm 30+2 Spanish students (Lib) NDSE intro to town + simple history
3rd July Tues 1.30pm 30+2 Romanian students (Lib) NDSE intro to town + simple history
6th July Fri 10.30am 40+ Romanian students SOL intro to town + simple history
6th July Fri 1.15pm 40+ Romanian students SOL intro to town + simple history
6th July Fri 3.15pm 20+ Romanian students SOL intro to town + simple history
10th July Tues 2.30pm 40+ Serbian / Croatian students SOL intro to town + simple history
11th July Wed 6.00pm 20+ Barnstaple Bloomers (Lib) BB Historic Barnstaple
16th July Mon 1.15pm 45+ Bulgarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
17th July Tues 1.15pm 37+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
18th July Wed 10.30am 30 Liss Area Historical Soc (QAW) LAHS Historic Barnstaple
18th July Wed 1.30pm 35+4 Croatian students (Lib) NDSE intro to town + simple history
20th July Fri 1.15pm 0+ Croatian students SOL intro to town + simple history
24th July Tues 1.15pm 52+ Romanian students SOL intro to town + simple history
27th July Fri 1.15pm 58+ Romanian students SOL intro to town + simple history
30th July Mon 2.30pm 35+ Croatian students SOL intro to town + simple history
6th Aug Mon 10.30am 0+ International Teachers SOL intro to town + simple history
6th Aug Mon 2.30pm 0+ Serbian students SOL intro to town + simple history
7th Aug Tues 1.15pm 0+ Slovak students SOL intro to town + simple history
17th Aug Fri 10.30am 65+ Hungarian / Bulgarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
17th Aug Fri 1.15pm 40+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
17th Aug Fri 2.30pm 0+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
3rd Sept Mon 2.30pm 0+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
4th Sept Tues 1.15pm 0+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
11th Sept Tues 1.15pm 0+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
18th Sept Thurs 1.15pm 0+ Czech students SOL intro to town + simple history
8th Oct Mon 1.15pm 0+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
18th Oct Thurs 1.15pm 0+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history