Mincinglake Valley Park – the perfect place for adventures and picnics. There’s a stream for paddling, woods for exploring, dens for playing, fields for running through, a fairy village to be entranced by and a view point to enjoy.
Mincinglake is a fabulous spot where the landscape offers something new at every turn. There’s no set loop to follow but instead a number of paths that mean you can decide how long or short you would like your walk, how hilly or not, or how much your little one simply wants to splash in the stream or in a den found in the thicket. It’s honestly not at all daunting, but for those who like a map, there are some to follow on all trails – link below.
Some paths in the lower area (just off the car park) are surfaced and suitable for little ones to ride their bikes through the trees or for buggies, but as you climb into the meadows, the paths turn narrow and unsurfaced and slings or feet are needed. There are stiles of two wooden posts close together which can be too narrow to pass through if you’re wearing a baby in a sling (for all but the slightest of people and little babies) – however there are ways further up or down the path where you can pass. Mincinglake is one of six Exeter Valley Parks managed by Devon Wildlife Trust and is an incredible area of wildlife and countryside within Exeter city with so much to potentially explore. For those who make it even further up, Drakes Meadows, up Mile Lane, are now open to the public. The meadowland is rich in wild flowers, butterflies and other insects. Mincinglake is also part of the Exeter Green Circle walk. Information on the Mincinglake section can be found here and the pdf of the walk here. Further information about all of the Exeter Green Circle can be found here and the pdf here.
At the beginning of lockdown, a fairy village appeared and is the most magical and fabulous spot for little ones to enjoy. Be prepared to be there a while! From the Stoke Hill car park, cross the road and head through the entrance signposted Mincinglake Valley Park. Walk along the path for a couple of hundred metres until beady eyes spot rainbows and Fairy signs handing in a tree. There is a little stream and a growing village of fairy houses, ladders, bridges, toadstools, shell roads – a real treasure trove and we are so thankful to the fairies for sharing this with us.
Walk type: Woodland, meadows, stream, a hill to get to the view point but achievable for little legs (with the promise of a snack!).
Length: 19 hectares to explore
For those who like a map and a route to follow, there’s a 2.1 km circular loop available on alltrails (do need to create a free account and free app) https://www.alltrails.com/explore/trail/england/devon/mincinglake-valley-park-circular?ref=sidebar-static-map
Little Ones’ mode of transport: Buggy will be able to do some paths, Sling to enjoy all of the park (although there are some very narrow stiles) or feet!
Footwear: Any suitable for walking. Wellies for paddling in the stream.
Dog friendly: Yes. Very. Dog bins in the car park
Need to know
Opening times: All day every day.
How to get there: Stoke Hill Car Park: Exeter, EX4 7DR
By Bus – Ask for junction of Stoke Hill and Collins Road, or junction of Calthorpe Road and St. Katherine’s Road
By Car – There are two car parks:
1. Stoke Hill, opposite the junction with Collins Road – next to the Community building – Sylvania Community Hall. Exeter, EX4 7DR
2. Calthorpe Road near to the junction with Uplands Drive. (access is off Calthorpe Road)
Loos & Baby Changing: No