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

 
2018 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/oyez2017.htm
- change the date for other years
             
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
21st Feb Wed 8.45am 45+ Slovak students (Lib) (☆) NDSE coach to Woolacombe and Ilfracombe
26th Feb Mon 8.45am 45+ Slovak students (Lib) (☆) NDSE coach to Lynton and Lynmouth
28th Feb Wed 10.30am 30+ Roborough Probus Club (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
13th Mar Tues 1.15pm 37+ Polish students SOL intro to town + simple history
16th Mar Fri 1.30pm 15+ Italian school children (☆) NCS intro to town + simple history
19th Mar Mon 1.15pm 39+ Slovak students SOL intro to town + simple history
19th Mar Mon 2.15pm 0+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
21st Mar Wed 1.30pm 32+4 Hungarian 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
5th Apr Thurs 10.30am 34+ Russian and Kosovan 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
30th Apr Mon 10.30am 10+ Polish teachers SOL intro to town + simple history
30th Apr Mon 1.15pm 43+ Slovak 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
9th May Wed 10.30am 10+ South Molton U3A (☆) U3A Historic Barnstaple
14th May Mon 1.15pm 0+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
16th May Wed 2.00pm 28+3 French students (Lib) (☆) PCC intro to town + simple history
17th May Thurs 9.00am 9 Private Group (R&F) (☆) LK Historic Barnstaple
22nd May Tues 2.00pm 15+3 Spanish students (Lib) (☆) PCC intro to town + simple history
31st May Thurs 1.15pm 57+ Czech students SOL intro to town + simple history
1st June Fri 11.00am 4 Private Group (☆) PR Historic Barnstaple
4th June Mon 1.30pm 22+2 Austrian students (Lib) (☆) NDSE intro to town + simple history
6th June Wed 1.00pm 22+2 Austrian students (Lib) (☆) NDSE coach to Lynton and Lynmouth
13th June Wed 9.30am 30+ Pilton Infants School (Lib) (☆) PIS Barnstaple's castle and walls
13th June Wed 10.30am 30+ Pilton Infants School (Lib) (☆) PIS Barnstaple's castle and walls
13th June Wed 1.15pm 49+ Slovak and Romanian students SOL intro to town + simple history
14th June Thurs 2.00pm 16+2 German students (Lib) (☆) PCC intro to town + simple history
21st June Thurs 9.30am 20+ East Yorkshire NT Assoc (ImpHl) (☆) EP Historic Barnstaple
25th June Mon 1.15pm 60+6 Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
25th June Mon 2.30pm 23+ Croatian students SOL intro to town + simple history
26th June Tues 1.15pm 33+ Bulgarian / Serbian students SOL intro to town + simple history
27th Jun Wed 1.15pm 19+ French and Spanish students (☆) ALICE intro to town + simple history
28th June Thurs 1.30pm 30+2 Spanish students (Lib) (☆) NDSE intro to town + simple history
2nd July Mon 1.00pm 30+2 Spanish students (Lib) (☆) NDSE coach to Lynton and Lynmouth
3rd July Tues 1.30pm 30+2 Romanian students (Lib) (☆) NDSE intro to town + simple history
4th July Wed 1.00pm 30+2 Romanian students (Lib) (☆) NDSE coach to Clovelly
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
9th July Mon 1.00pm 30+2 Romanian students (Lib) (☆) NDSE coach to Ilfracombe
10th July Tues 2.15pm 40+ Serbian / Croatian students SOL intro to town + simple history
11th July Wed 10.30am 45+5 French students (☆) LEC* intro to town + simple history
11th July Wed 2.00pm 10+ Barnstaple Townswomens' Guild (Lib) (☆) BTWC Historic Barnstaple
11th July Wed 6.00pm 20+ Barnstaple Bloomers (Lib) (☆) BB Historic Barnstaple
12th July Thurs 10.30am 45+5 French students (☆) LEC* intro to town + simple history
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 10.00am 30 Liss Area Historical Soc (QAW) (☆) LAHS Historic Barnstaple
18th July Wed 3.00pm 50+4 Croatian students (Lib) (☆) NDSE intro to town + simple history
19th July Thurs 1.00pm 50+4 Croatian students (Lib) (☆) NDSE coach to Woolacombe & Ilfracombe
20th July Fri 2.15pm 0+ Croatian students SOL intro to town + simple history
23rd July Wed 1.00pm 50+4 Croatian students (Lib) (☆) NDSE coach to Lynton & Lynmouth
24th July Tues 1.15pm 52+ Romanian students SOL intro to town + simple history
26th July Thurs 1.15pm 58+ Romanian students SOL intro to town + simple history
30th July Mon 2.15pm 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 2.15pm 0+ Serbian students SOL intro to town + simple history
7th Aug Tues 1.15pm 0+ Slovak students SOL intro to town + simple history
13th Aug Mon 1.30pm 30+3 Romanian students (Lib) (☆) NDSE 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 2.15pm 0+ Hungarian students SOL intro to town + simple history
20th Aug Mon 1.30pm 31+3 Romanian students (Lib) (☆) NDSE intro to town + simple history
3rd Sept Mon 2.15pm 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
             
        DUE TO FAILING HEALTH I HAVE CANCELLED MANY BOOKINGS