Tarka at 90: hot on the otter trail in Devon

April 3, 2017

Kari Herbert follows in the footsteps of Henry Williamson, 90 years after he published Tarka the Otter. No otters put in an appearance, but the pristine woods and riverbanks are reward enough

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The narrow river gorge smells of leaf-mould and damp earth. Dense, ancient woods line the steep valley sides. The river coils and tumbles beside us, fresh from the moor, rushing over smooth stones and gurgling among tree roots and ferns. It is the perfect place, surely, to see an otter.

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“Do you think Tarka would like a bit of my jammie dodger?” my daughter Nelly asks as we peer hopefully into the dark water.

Our explorations start at Braunton Burrows, the UK’s largest dune system and home to nearly 500 species of wildflower

Compared with some beauty spots, this remains a relatively unfrequented corner of Britain

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