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5 Full Day Walks in Exmoor • • • •

5 Easy-to-follow Circular Self-Guided Walks From 7 to 10 miles Simple Map showing Route Part of a Series of Booklets

Devised and Written by Bryan Cath www.combewalks.com Coordinator of the North Devon and Exmoor Walking Festival www.exmoorwalkingfestival.co.uk


Introduction Welcome to a selection of circular walks that will show you some of the beautiful scenery around Exmoor. The walks in this booklet are longer walks perfect for a full days walking with a picnic and camera. I have been showing people around North Devon and Exmoor since 1987 when I provided walking and cycling holidays. I then started the walking festival in 2000 which I have devised and run ever since. We are blessed with an excellent rights of way network which is well maintained so I can be fairly confident that the walks described will be passable at all times. I have written the walks so you can follow them just from the text. But for those who can map-read I have included the OS grid references. These can also be useful if you want to try and learn to map-read, by following the route and using these references on the map as you walk. It is always sensible to have a map with you as it can help answer questions on what surrounds you as you walk along. It is quite common for stiles to be replaced by bridle or kissing gates and this might have happened since I wrote the text. So don’t be worried if I say cross a stile and you find a bridle gate. I give extra information which should together ensure you are still on the right path. Most of the walks here have been included in the walking festivals at some time. I hope you enjoy walking them. Happy walking! Bryan Cath How to use the OS grid references in this booklet: The SS pins the reference to this area. You can ignore it assuming you have bought the 1:25,000 map for this area, OL9 for Exmoor. The first 3 numbers refer to the numbers along the top (or bottom) of the map. Taking the first walks first reference, 904, go along the top (or bottom) to 90 and then divide the square to 91 into imagined tenths, going across by 4/10th. The next 3 numbers 469 refer to the numbers down the left (or right) hand side of the map. Go up the map to 46 and again divide 46 - 47 into tenths, going over by 9/10ths. Then join the two imaginary lines and where they cross is the grid reference location. Copyright Š Bryan Cath, 2012 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the copyright holder and Publisher. www.combewalks.com Twitter: @bryancath; Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Exmoor-WalkingFestival/264423586917341

Cover picture: Upper reaches of the East Lyn River valley from County Gate

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Contents Page Walk Name

Distance

3

Allerford via Selworthy

7.2 miles

7

Doone Valley

7.7 miles

11

Simonsbath via the Barle Valley

8 miles

15

Combe Park via Lynton

8.7 miles

19

County Gate via Countisbury

9.3 miles

This Booklet is part of a series: • • • • • • • • • •

5 Half Day Walks from Ilfracombe 5 Half Day Walks in North Devon 5 Full Day Walks in North Devon 5 Half Day Walks in Exmoor 5 Full Day Walks in Exmoor 6 Car-free ‘Ride and Walk’ Walks in Exmoor 7 Cycle Rides in North Devon & The Exmoor Challenge 7 Cycle Rides in North and Mid Devon 16 Best Picnic Spots in North Devon 16 Best Picnic Spots in Exmoor and the Quantocks

The half day walks are from about 3.5 to 6.5 miles. The full day walks are from about 7 miles to 10 miles, taking into account the hilliness of the area. The cycle rides are based on the Tarka Trail and interlink, giving a wide range of distances available. The Exmoor Challenge is a mountain bike ride. The Picnic Spots are all accessible by car and mostly have walks close by. 2


Allerford via Selworthy Fact File: Highlights: Allerford pack horse bridge, Selworthy Green thatched cottages, Selworthy woods, Selworthy Beacon, coastal views, Allerford village Start Grid ref: SS904 469 Distance: 7.2 miles, circular Height gained/lost: 501 metres. Starts easy becoming moderate to strenuous, finishing easy. High Point: 308 metres Low Point: 15 metres Toilets: Allerford, Selworthy, Bossington Eating places: Allerford PO tearooms, Selworthy Green Time required, including stops: 4 to 5 hours Public transport: 300 Mileages shown are cumulative Bristol Channel Hurlestone Point

r Po

ck

lo

hi

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eR

l ng

ge

id

22 17

23

Bossington Hill

Roads Rivers Route Track

16

15

21 20 24 T 25 Bossington 18 19 West Lynch Owl & Hawk 26 Centre

27 29 1

Selworthy Beacon

14

12 11

28

9

8

Allerford

2

13

3 A39

6 4

5

3

7



Selworthy

10

Woodland  Church Food T Toilets


Route description: This walk shows you some delightful villages, untouched by modern trends, panoramic views across the Bristol Channel to Wales and inland across Exmoor. The walk deliberately zigzags back and forth at the coast to show you the spectacular coastal views and the route is also specifically chosen to reduce the severity of the climbs and ascents, yet rising you some 1000 feet above sea level.

Directions To The Start: Go to the A39 between Porlock and Minehead. From the church in the middle of Porlock go towards Minehead for 1.4 miles. At a sweeping bend to the right, turn left into Allerford and follow the road to the left. Shortly a car park is on the left. From the Minehead direction at the westerly junction out of town (Porlock Road) follow the A39 towards Porlock for 3.2 miles and turn right into Allerford on a sweeping bend to the left. Shortly turn left into the car park.

Route directions: 1, SS904 469: From Allerford car park leave to the right back towards the main road. 2, SS905 469, 0.1 miles: Cross the pack horse bridge on the left and follow the road ahead ignoring the path soon on the left. Continue ahead to reach the thatched Jasmine Cottage 3, SS907 468, 0.3 miles: and now continue ahead level on a rough track as the road bears right down hill. 4, SS910 467, 0.5 miles: Soon it enters woodland, now continue ahead ignoring tracks to the left and a path to the right. Keep on this track for a little while until you reach a farm and tarmac road. 5, SS917 466, 0.9 miles: Continue ahead to reach the road and turn left uphill. 6, SS918 467, 1.0 mile: By the toilets take the bridle gate on the left along a path to the village green. Bear left up the grass to the top cottage to pass it to reach a bridle gate by a gate. 7, SS919 468, 1.1 miles: Turn left here signed to Selworthy Beacon and Bury Castle. Pass through the next gate and now keep level ahead signed to Selworthy Selworthy Green (NT) Beacon, ignoring the path down to 4


the left. It starts to gain height with a stream down on your left. 8, SS919 472, 1.4 miles: When the path divides, bear right signed to Selworthy Combe. 9, SS921 472, 1.5 miles: When the next path bears off to the left, keep ahead on the main track. It soon bears left and then right, continuing uphill through gorse. 10, SS926 476, 1.9 miles: Very Selworthy Combe near the top you reach a crossroads of tracks. Turn left here signed to Selworthy Beacon. 11, SS925 477, 2.0 miles: Shortly take the level track that bears off to the left, ignoring the track up to the road. 12, SS924 478, 2.1 miles: On reaching the road from this track, follow it ahead around a sweeping left-hand bend 13, SS923 478, 2.2 miles: to then bear off right up a wide track. 14, SS918 479, 2.5 miles: After a short while you reach the trig-point at the top of Selworthy Beacon with great views all around. Now continue ahead on the main track ignoring the one down to the left. 15, SS915 480, 2.7 miles: Having lost a little height the South West Coast Path comes in from the right. Continue ahead along the track keeping to the coast path with the acorn marker. Soon a view of Porlock Vale opens up ahead. 16, SS911 482, 3.0 miles: Ignore the track in from the left and then the next down to the left to Lynch Combe, continuing ahead on the coast path. It soon starts to gently lose height and then divides. Take the left-hand fork slightly steeper down to reach the top of a steep combe. 17, SS904 487, 3.5 miles: Bear left here away from the coast path towards Lynch Combe on a more level path. Great views again. Follow this path into the combe and around the other side into the woods. 18, SS905 480, 4.5 miles: When you reach the paths crossing one another, take the one down the centre of the combe to Bossington going steeply down by an old stone wall on your left, therefore ignoring the ones up and the other through a bridle gate. 19, SS903 479, 4.7 miles: About half way down at a cross over of paths turn right to Hurlstone Point to pass through a gate on a level path. Pass through the spooky holm oak woods to a gate. 20, SS902 480, 4.9 miles: Now bear left along a level path above a stone wall on your left. 5


21, SS900 481, 5.0 miles: Soon ignore the path down to your left to Bossington, continuing ahead level. 22, SS899 489, 5.5 miles: After a while you reach the South West Coast Path coming across you from Hurlstone Combe. If you want to continue ahead to the lookout do so here, otherwise turn left downhill on the coast path, turning left again at the T-junction Porlock Bay and shingle ridge towards Bossington. 23, SS898 487, 5.7 miles: Follow the path downhill to pass through a gate continuing ahead through the edge of the woods. Soon you reach a stream on your right and then a bridge over it. 24, SS898 480, 6.1 miles: Cross it for toilets only, otherwise bear left signed to Lynch and Selworthy, then ignoring this path as it goes off to the left, instead going right through a kissing gate. Follow this path through the woods with the stream down on your right. Keep on the path when it turns left up steps, through a kissing gate and up a field. 25, SS900 479, 6.4 miles: Turn right along a level path. 26, SS901 477, 6.5 miles: Go through the next gate and now cross a small stream ignoring the path left and off to the right, continuing ahead level to Allerford. Pass beside Lynch Country House to reach an oblique cross-roads of tracks to bear right downhill. 27, SS903 474, 6.8 miles: Shortly take the path bearing off to the right ignoring the track ahead. Follow this path down to go alongside a stream. 28, SS904 471, 7.0 miles: Soon cross the wooden bridge on the right over the stream, through a bridle gate to shortly reach the road through the village. 29, SS903 470, 7.1 miles: Turn left along it watching for cars. 30, SS904 469, 7.2 miles: Just the other side of the Post Office and tearooms turn right into the car park.

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Doone Valley Fact file: Highlights: Lorna Doone country, RD Blackmore Memorial Stone, Badgeworthy Water, medieval village, Lankcombe Ford, the waterslide, Cloud Farm, Oare church Start Grid ref: SS 792 478 Distance: 7.7 miles, circular Height gained/lost: 357 metres, steady, muddy in parts Highest Point: 390 metres Lowest Point: 227 metres Toilets: Toilet block at the start car park and toilets at Cloud Farm. Eating Places: Ice creams are available at Malmsmead; cream teas at Cloud Farm. Time required: 3hr 45 min, plus stops Mileages shown are cumulative

Southern

Malmsmead

Wood

T

2 1

14

13

15

e Oar

10

 3

9

Oare  church

Water

12

11

T

Cloud Farm

Ford

Malmsmead Hill

4

Water Slide

Lank Combe Ford

5

8

Medieval village

7

ater yW rth wo

7

ge Ba d

6

Roads

Woodland

Rivers

 Viewpoint

Route

 Church

Track

Food

T

Toilets


Route description: If you know the Lorna Doone story, this walk takes you through the countryside in which R. D. Blackmore set his novel. You pass the ruins of the Doone’s property, the water slide, walk along beside the Badgeworthy (Badgery) Water, and are able to visit Oare church, the scene where Carver shot Lorna Doone. The walk itself takes you over the moorland of Brendon Common and down the picturesque Badgeworthy Water valley, with its banks of rhododendron bushes.

Directions To The Start: Make your way to Lynmouth on the A39, and continue up Countisbury Hill, still on the A39, and about a mile after passing Blue Ball Inn, take the road bearing off to the right, down to Brendon. At Brendon, cross over the river bridge and turn left and follow this narrow road until you come to Malmsmead. Park the car in one of the car-parks on the left.

Route Directions: 1, SS791 478: Leave the car-park and cross the road over to the track going up by the barn, signposted Bridleway to Southern Wood, Brendon Common. Pass through the gate and go up the track between the walls to the next gate. Having passed through this gate, turn immediately left up by the hedged wall at the edge of the wood and follow up hill keeping to the edge of the wood. On reaching level ground, ignore the gate in the left-hand corner and continue until reaching the opening into a field ahead, where the wall goes on ahead up the hill. 2, SS786 478, 0.6 miles: Now bear right to round the hill infront of you, making for the track which you follow round the hill and up to the gate by the road. Cross over and follow the signpost to Doone Valley 3 miles, Brendon Common 1.75 miles, continuing along the track ahead, ignoring the one bearing off right. 3, SS780 469, 1.3 miles: Soon, ignore the large track which goes off to your left up the hill, keeping to the main track which bears gently round to the right, down the hill, to a ford. Cross the ford, and take the path immediately on the left signposted to Brendon Common and Doone Valley. Follow this rough path up and round to the right to level off across moorland.

Malmsmead ford

8


4, SS776 459, 2.0 miles: On reaching the track continue ahead along it to where the paths cross at the next signpost, signposted to Doone Valley. Go left into the valley, over the Lankcombe Ford and up the track to your left. The track now keeps parallel with the valley on your left. If walking soon after rainfall, watch out for boggy areas up here. 5, SS781 452, 3.2 miles: After a mile or so you will come to a Badgeworthy Water fence, go through the yellow waymarked gate, which might be over to your right a little. Now go straight ahead down into the valley, over the yellow waymarked ford, on down the track, through the yellow waymarked ungated gateway, and down by the overgrown wall to the site of the medieval village coming on your left, (site of the Doone’s property). 6, SS791 444, 4.0 miles: When the path goes between two hillocks, keep to the path off to the left, rounding the left hill. You are now entering the upper part of the Doone Valley and following the Badgeworthy Water. A good place for a picnic. 7, SS792 445, 4.1 miles: Follow the track along beside and above the river, finding your way carefully across the brook cutting through the path, and on to the small bridge. As you cross over the bridge look to your left and you will see the water-slide mentioned in Lorna Doone. (3 miles to Malmsmead) 8, SS791 453, 4.7 miles: Turn right from the bridge, now keeping parallel with the river. Follow the track on down by the river, through the woods and gate, past the Memorial stone to the author of Lorna Doone, and on towards Cloud Farm, where you can see the stanchions which remain of the bridge which was over the river before the flood in August 1952, just on the rise before reaching the farm, by the cow feeding area. 9, SS793 467, 5.7 miles: On coming down to the signpost opposite Cloud Farm, cross over the bridge towards Oare church, through the two gates and follow the signpost to Oare church by going up by the house, turning left through the barn and on up the track away from the farm. (2 miles to Malmsmead) When the track bears round to the right, ignore the two gates on the left, continuing up hill and ignoring the next gate on the left, continuing up to the enclosure and gates. 10, SS797 470, 6.1 miles: Having passed through the enclosure con9


tinue along the track, ignoring the gate in the corner, instead bearing right to the next gate on the left (blue waymarked). Follow this track down and round to the left and follow the path by the fence on your left. Do not continue up the track but go down to the gate in a corner. 11, SS800 469, 6.4 miles: Pass through the gate and down the field keeping to the fence on the Cloud Farm tea gardens left. Go over to the blue waymarked gate and ‘Path’ signpost and continue down to the gate by Oare church, turning left onto the road. Visit the church, if you are interested. 12, SS801 473, 6.7 miles: At the road junction, turn right down towards Lynmouth, cross over the river bridge and ignore the gate and signpost on the right. Soon you come to a gate on your left, opposite a signpost to Yenworthy. 13, SS801 475, 6.9 miles: Pass through this gate, signposted to Malmsmead 1 mile. Pass through the next gate and follow the path along by the river on your left. Go through the next gate and follow the grass track to the gate ahead, ignoring the farm gate on the left. Keep level by the telegragh wires, ignoring the gate in the fence on your left, instead continuing to the gate ahead. 14, SS795 479, 7.4 miles: Follow the signpost to Malmsmead to the left, through a (possibly) very muddy area and to the rivers edge where you can wash your boots! Now cross over the bridge, up the track, through the gate and past the buildings to the road. 15, SS794 477, 7.5 miles: Turn right and follow the road past the Exmoor Natural History Society and on down to Malmsmead ford and pack-horse bridge. Enjoy yourself around here before returning to the car-park the other side of the buildings.

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Simonsbath via the Barle Valley Fact file: Highlights: Exmoor ponies, Iron Age hill fort (Cow Castle), remains of an old copper mine, River Barle valley Distance: 8.0 miles, circular Start Grid ref: SS 773 394 Height gained/lost: 315 metres, moderate to easy walk. Possibly muddy in parts. Highest Point: 394 metres Lowest Point: 283 metres Toilets: The only toilets are at the start car park. Eating Places: Boevey’s restaurant and tea-rooms next to the Simonsbath Hotel or the Exmoor Forest Hotel. Time required: 3hr 45 min, plus stops

Roads

2

Food

Track

Honeymead Farm

18

Route

T 

Toilets Telephone

Winstitchen Farm

17

4 Flex Barrow

16 Wheal Eliza

Wat er

B3358

3

B 322

 Church

5 15

6

Whit e

T 1   3

Simonsbath

Woodland

Rivers

7

Cow Castle

14 Horsen Farm

Picked Stones Farm

8

13 Riv

9 11

10

er B

arle

12 Landacre Bridge

11


Description: A picturesque circular walk taking you through one of the highest beech woods in the country, across country to almost certainly meet Exmoor ponies, past a well preserved Iron Age hill fort, and then up the valley of one of the largest and attractive rivers to run off Exmoor, passing on the way the remains of an old copper mine.

Directions to start: From the Ilfracombe directions take the A399 through Combe Martin to Blackmoor Gate, continuing ahead at that junction for about a mile to the next junction on the left, signposted to Simonsbath on the B3358. On reaching Simonsbath (pronounced Simmonsbath locally) turn right onto the B3223, pass the Exmoor Forest Hotel, and the telephone box on the left and take the next entrance on the left, with a signpost opposite pointing to the car park, toilets and picnic area with an honesty box. From other directions, pick up the A399, Ilfracombe to South Molton road and then take the Simonsbath road (B3358).

Route directions: 1, SS773 394: Go out of the car park and turn right down the pavement to the Exmoor Forest Hotel. Cross over the road opposite the Hotel to follow the footpath signposted to Landacre (pronounced Lannacre) via Picked (pronounced Pick-ked) Stone. Follow the path through the beech woods to the next signpost and turn left up the hill towards Landacre via Picked Stone. 2, SS773 391, 0.2 miles: Follow the track to the top of the woods and pass wood-carvings cut into tree stumps. Take the gate on the right into the field, following the wall/hedge on the left to reach the gate in the corner. Go to the next gate ahead, ignoring the one on the right. 3, SS779 391, 0.6 miles: Follow the wall on your right to the two gates by a tree, taking the furthest gate and follow the wall/hedge on the left to the next gate. Pass through and go down by the wall to the small barn and gate, going through the small gate. Now aim

Cow Castle

12


at the hedge and tree over ahead/ left, to the gate by a tree. 4, SS785 385, 1.2 miles: Go through and follow the track down by the wall on the left, through the next gate. Now ignore the gaps in the hedged wall on your left, passing through the next gap and down a track into a valley by a wood on the left. 5, SS794 381, 1.9 miles: Having River Barle passed through the ungated gate, take the track down into the combe on the right. When you reach the stream, there is a ruin of a cottage where a drunken miner John Burgess is reputed to have lived in the mid 19th century. He worked at the old copper mine of Wheal Eliza, passed later in this walk. 6, SS795 379, 2.1 miles: Keep on the track through the next two gates and up the hill. When the track divides near the top, take the right-hand track. The Iron Age hill fort called Cow Castle is now over to your right with The Calf beside it. 7, SS799 374, 2.5 miles: Pass through the next two gates and continue until you reach a gate in the wall on your left. Follow the signpost ‘Public Bridleway to Landacre’ to the next gate and pass through this one. Go straight ahead between the fences with the farmhouse on your left to the gate ahead. 8, SS800 371, 2.8 miles: Continue up the farm road to the gate across the road (probably open) and now take the blue way-marked gate ahead, ignoring the gates to the left and right. Walk through the field keeping to the wall/hedge on the right and then cross to the gate in the wall/hedge across you, ignoring the gate on your right. 9, SS806 371, 3.2 miles: Pass through this gate and continue straight ahead between the heather, keeping level for about a mile. 10, SS818 370, 4.0 miles: When you reach a track coming in from the right turn hard right onto it, towards Simonsbath. Exmoor ponies are nearly always around here. 11, SS810 368, 4.5 miles: Having gone about half a mile down this track, and are rounding the top of a small combe, the track bears left down into the valley ahead. Soon Landacre Bridge will be visible over to your left. Continue on down the track, passing through a gate and on down to pass through the next gate. 12, SS806 363, 4.9 miles: Continue down the track to the woods. Pass through the gate on the edge of the woods and follow the track until you reach the river by a ford. 13, SS796 369, 5.6 miles: Continue through the edge of the wood to a footbridge, 13


which you do not cross, but go over to a gate via the small bridge and over the stile. 14, SS796 370, 5.7 miles: Carry on along the path, keeping The Calf and Cow Castle on your right. Having rounded Cow Castle by the river, go through the gate and continue along to the trees, going to the right of them and up to the corner and through to the river again. 15, SS788 377, 6.4 miles: Continue up stream, passing through the bridle gate, the path becomes difficult and muddy in parts here, so take it carefully, until you eventually rise to a gate. Pass through it and you are now at the site of Wheal Eliza, the remains of the old copper mine. You can see the old mine buildings beside you and the leat and water wheel pit on the other side of the river. 16, SS783 381, 6.9 miles: Continue ahead to the right of the hill (Flexbarrow) on the path through a gate. On returning to the river continue up stream to the right until reaching the next gate. 17, SS780 386, 7.3 miles: Pass through this gate and continue along until you come to the next gate which takes you into to the beech woods that the walk started in. 18, SS773 391, 7.8 miles: On reaching the signpost, retrace your footsteps on the path to come out opposite the Exmoor Forest Hotel. Cross over the road, past the telephone box and left into the road to the car park. Notes: Iron Age (500BC to 43AD) hill forts of this size where not exactly ‘forts’. They were simply places on exposed hill-tops where cattle and sheep were penned, probably overnight to give protection from wild animals during the summer months when upland pastures were grazed. The river Barle at Simonsbath is only five miles from its source, as the river flows, yet it already has this flow and breadth. Throughout Exmoor you will find fences which have been swung from a telegraph pole across a river. The idea is that debris brought downstream when the river is in spate will swing the fence enough to let it pass and not cause an obstruction, but will successfully prevent animals from passing. Prior to the Lynmouth Disaster in 1952 fences were simply put across the river and would slowly collect debris and cause a damming effect. It was noticed during the Lynmouth Disaster that the water came down the valleys in bursts, and this was caused by these fences breaking under the strain and releasing a wave of water and debris. These swung fences prevent that happening again. Wheal Eliza was a copper mine from 1845-54 and then an iron mine until 1857. The mine was not successful due to insufficient ore. The mine is infamous as the location where the body of Anna Burgess was found. Her father John Burgess murdered Anna because his lover hated Anna. John Burgess was hanged for the murder in 1858 at Taunton. 14


Combe Park via Lynton Fact file: Highlights: Hoar Oak river, East Lyn river, Watersmeet, Countisbury church, South West Coast Path and impressive coastal scenery, Lynmouth, Lynton and Lynmouth Railway, Valley of Rocks, West Lyn river, views from The Cleaves Start Grid ref: SS 739 478 Distance: 8.7 miles, circular Height gained/lost: 785 metres, starts easy becoming strenuous, then moderate and strenuous Highest Point: 278 metres. Lowest Point: 7 metres Toilets: Immaculate toilets at Watersmeet; various at Lynmouth; Town Hall Lynton; Valley of Rocks picnic area. Eating Places: Watersmeet Lodge (NT); Blue Ball Inn at Countisbury; various at Lynmouth and Lynton; Ye Olde Cottage Inne at Lynbridge Time required: 5hr 30 min, plus stops Mileages shown are cumulative

Countisbury

Lynmouth

T 

12

10 13

8

7

6

9

16

17

15

18

Lynbridge

Ea st Lyn R iver

19

 The Cleaves

Woodland

Rivers

 Viewpoint

Route

 Church

2

t Eas

er

Lyn

Watersmeet

20 Hillsford Bridge C.P.

Food

T 

Toilets Telephone

15

a Ho

A39

ater kW a rO

Farley Water

Roads

3

T

W es tL yn

r ive

5 A39 4

14

R

Riv

  Valley of Rocks

Bristol Channel

11

1


Route description: This walk takes you through and above three of the most beautiful valleys in Exmoor. You will see Watersmeet in all its glory, spectacular views over the East Lyn River, look down on Lynton and Lynmouth from every angle except from the sea itself, sample the grandeur of the Valley of Rocks and have aerial views of the East and West Lyn Rivers and the Hoar Oak Water.

Directions To The Start: Go to the junction called Blackmoor Gate, where the A399 and A39 cross. Turn towards Lynton on the A39 and follow this all the way the Barbrook, ignoring the turning to Lynton opposite the petrol station. Instead continue ahead and now count the hairpin/sharp bends. At the fifth one continue ahead signposted to Simonsbath, but do not cross the bridge, instead turn immediately right and then bear right through the gateposts into Combe Park car park. Park here and pay at the honesty box. From other directions, pick up the A39 and go towards Lynmouth following the above directions.

Route Directions: 1, SS739 477: Starting from Combe Park car park, return to the road and over the bridge on your right, passing through the gate on the left just the other side of the bridge, signposted to Watersmeet 0.75 miles. Follow the path down to Watersmeet, with the Hoar Oak Water on your left. 2, SS743 486, 0.7 miles: Take the steps down to the bridges and cross the righthand bridge over to the lodge, turning right from the bridge, past the lodge. Follow the signpost on Fisherman’s Path towards Rockford. In a short while take the path going back to the left, signposted to Countisbury. It is a steep climb so take it gently. Follow the zigzag path until you come to a T-junction (now blocked) just after the lovely view over the river valley. 3, SS746 487, 1.0 miles: Turn left up the hill, leaving the river behind you. Carry on up the zigzag path until reaching the seat and triangle of paths. Have a break! 4, SS747 490, 1.3 miles: Continue through the gate signposted to Barna Barrow car-park. There are now sheep around. Go ahead between the gorse, over the brow, aiming at the right-hand corner of this field, passing the

Combe Park picnic area

16


signpost in the middle of the field. Once there you will find a gate and a small track down to the A39, with a mast and a church ahead. 5, SS747 496, 1.7 miles: Cross over and left down the road to the track to the church. Go through the churchyard and through the gate in the rear wall. 6, SS746 498, 1.8 miles: Now follow the wall going away to Lynton and Lynmouth from Countisbury your left. Lynton and Lynmouth are down in front of you. Follow the coast path signs, on through the gate past Countisbury Castle ramparts. Keep following the coast path signs, ignoring the path down on the right to the shore. 7, SS735 494, 2.6 miles: Walk on until reaching the road, continuing down the hill keeping to the right, until reaching the path off to the right signposted ‘coast path’ by the Countisbury Lodge Hotel sign. Follow the zigzag path down through the woods to the sea, keeping to the coast path signs. 8, SS725 496, 3.4 miles: At the wall turn right to the sea, then follow the path or grass round to the left and Lynmouth. Follow the coast path sign over the river bridge, and then turn right. Toilets are now in front of you, with information on the 1952 flood disaster in the rooms above. 9, SS722 496, 3.7 miles: Now turn up by the Rising Sun Hotel and up the path by the cottages. Turn hard right by the seat and lamppost, then left up the hill following the coast path sign, crossing over the cliff railway bridges. 10, SS720 495, 4.0 miles: At the top follow the coast path, Lynton, Valley of Rocks signpost, following the road over the railway again, and on towards the Valley of Rocks. On this path there is an excellent place for a picnic. There are two sheltered seats overlooking the sea, and plenty of benches in the open, weather permitting. 11, SS710 499, 4.7 miles: You are now approximately half way around the walk, so when you have had some refreshment, continue along the path until the path divides by some little sheltered benches. Take the left-hand path up, signposted Lynton. The Valley of Rocks (see note at end) will open up soon on your right. Follow the path down to the ‘Poets’ shelter and gate. 12, SS711 496, 4.9 miles: Cross over the road, through the picnic area to the gap in the wall where you turn left up the path. Pass the cemetery on your left, and continue straight on where the path comes down on the right from Lee Abbey and Bay, and over the stream. 13, SS714 491, 5.3 miles: Having crossed the stream you will come to a farm, follow the road down signposted to Lynton .25 miles, until reaching the hairpin in 17


the main road. Cross over and go up the hill on the pavement. 14, SS717 492, 5.5 miles: Turn left down Norman’s Cleave, (3.25 miles to Hillsford Bridge) and further on ignore the public footpath on the right. On reaching the oblique cross-roads go straight over, signposted to Lynbridge. 15, SS720 486, 6.1 miles: On reaching, after half a mile, a small Valley of Rocks road follow it down to the main road by The Bridge Inn. Go down its drive and over the bridge over the West Lyn River, through the gate and follow the signpost to Watersmeet via Summerhouse Hill and the Cleaves 2.5 miles. 16, SS722 487, 6.4 miles: Continue up the path to the kissing-gate and then through the wooden gate by the National Trust sign ‘Watersmeet Estate’. Have a second break on the seat by the hairpin bend, overlooking Lynton. (2.25 miles to Hillsford Bridge) 17, SS722 490, 6.6 miles: Carry on up the zigzag path and steps. Marvellous views now open up from Countisbury to Lynton/Lynmouth and Valley of Rocks. Carry on towards Watersmeet 1.75 miles, ignoring the gate to A39 and shortly the signpost to Lynmouth, keeping on by the wall. There are probably sheep about again. 18, SS726 490, 6.8 miles: Follow the signpost to Watersmeet 1.75 miles. Ignore the path off to the right between the two walls. Go down the zigzag path into the valley, cross the stream and up the zigzag path the other side! (1 mile to Hillsford Bridge) 19, SS734 486, 7.6 miles: Pass through the two gates following the signpost to Hillsford Bridge .75 miles. Ignore the signpost to Watersmeet. Continue on down the Bridlepath to Hillsford Bridge 0.5 miles. Ignore the next signpost to Watersmeet. 20, SS740 479, 8.5 miles: On reaching and passing through the gate, you come to the main road at a hairpin bend. Go down the road to the next bend, then straight across and turn immediately right to the Hillsford Bridge car park. Note: The Valley of Rocks was apparently created at the end of the Ice Age, not by a glacier, as they did not reach this far south, but by the glacial meltwater which carved out gorges across hill barriers. This valley is unusual, as it is streamless, having silted up over a long period.

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County Gate via Countisbury Fact File: Highlights: Sisters Fountain, rhododendrons (in season), red deer, peregrine falcons, buzzards, Countisbury church, East Lyn valley, Brendon Start Grid ref: SS 793 486 Distance: 9.3 miles, circular Height gained/lost: 896 metres. Starting easy, then strenuous in parts finishing moderate High Point: 323 metres. Low Point: 127 metres Toilets: at County Gate car park Eating places: Pubs at Countisbury; Rockford and Brendon Time required, including stops: 4.5 to 5.5 hours Public transport: 300 (Barnstaple to Minehead). Traveline 0870 608 2 608 www. travelinesw.com

Foreland Point

The Foreland Great Red

7

Roads

Woodland

Rivers

 Viewpoint

Route

 Church

A39

9

T 

Toilets Telephone

Bristol Channel

6   8

Food

5

Barna Barrow

4

Sou th West Coast Path

Countisbury 

3 2 10

11

17

15 12

A39

13

14

 Brendon

Leeford

16 Eas t

T

1  County Gate

Lyn River

Malmsmead Rockford

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Route description: This walk includes some beautiful coastal walking with excellent views along the coast. Just over 4 miles of the South West Coast Path is included, walking through banks of rhododendrons and oak woodland along the way. The walk then goes inland to drop down into the lovely East Lyn valley following the fast flowing rocky river upstream through woodland. Finally you reach a wide, open valley with good views across the moor.

Directions to the start: County Gate sits on the border between Somerset and Devon on the north coast. It is on the A39 between Minehead and Lynton. The car park is off a sweeping bend and the adjacent Visitor Centre provides information on the local area.

Route directions: 1, SS793 486: Go out of the entrance to the car park, turning left along the main road to cross back into Devon. Cross over to go down the track by the hedge on the right, signed footpath to Coast Path. Ignore the track going up to the left and continue down through the bridle gate by a gate. Follow the fairly steep path downwards by the high deer fencing into the combe ahead. 2, SS792 491, 0.4 miles: At the bottom go through another bridle gate by a gate and turn hard right. Just into the trees, turn hard left on to the Coast Path towards Lynton. Go down the steps, past the old stone cross called Sisters Fountain and along the path to the bridle gate, signed to Wingate Combe. Continue to the next bridle gate and on reaching the farm track go between the gate pillars with the stone hogsheads, signed to Lynmouth and the Coast Path. 3, SS793 493, 0.6 miles: Pass the house and follow the track. When it takes a sharp left-hand bend take the path to the left just before the bend, signed to Wingate Combe and the Coast Path. The cliffs now become clothed in rhododendrons. After some time ignore a path back to the right and continue ahead towards Countisbury. 4, SS779 496, 1.7 miles: Soon the path goes inland again to View from County Gate 20


cross a stream in a valley. Cross the stream, ignore the path to the left and continue until you reach a small footbridge crossing another stream in the next combe and go through the bridle gate. On reaching the sea again, the path diverts slightly to avoid another landslip. Keep on the path for a good while until you come to a bridle gate at Glenthorne Cliffs (National Trust), by Pudleep Gurt. Countryside around Countisbury church 5, SS766 499, 2.9 miles: The path continues through mixed woodland to cross Swannelcombe and on to Chubhillcombe. 6, SS759 503, 3.4 miles: On reaching the small road and gate, cross the stile and continue up the road. On reaching the road down to the lighthouse on your right, follow it downhill to cross the road-bridge and immediately turn left signed to Countisbury and the Coast Path. Follow this path up the hill and round into the scree and grass-covered valley. At the top turn left on to a wide grass track and go uphill towards the radio mast ahead. 7, SS749 503, 4.2 miles: By the fenced-off landslip called Great Red, turn right to round the hill, signed to Countisbury and the Coast Path. After a while you will reach Countisbury Church which is well worth a visit. Go through the gate at the back of the churchyard to visit the church. From here you can go down to the main road for refreshments at the inn. 8, SS747 498, 4.5 miles: Return through the churchyard and gate and follow the wall going on your right signed to Barna Barrow. Follow the Devon bank on your right ignoring the path on the left to Kipscombe. Continue ahead until you bear right on to a track. Go through the car park and down to the road. 9, SS752 495, 5.0 miles: Cross the road and follow it to your right, to a gate where you will find a signpost to Wilsham and Rockford. Go through the gate and down the path into the valley, ignoring the path to the left. 10, SS755 489, 5.5 miles: At the bottom of the valley cross the two small bridges over streams and go up the other side. Go through the bridle gate and then straight ahead signed to Rockford. Soon go through a kissing gate, ignoring gates either side. 11, SS755 485, 5.8 miles: Go ahead following the marker posts down through the field to a bridle gate in the corner. Turn left and go up the field by the fence on your left to the next bridle gate. Go straight across the 21


field, following the marker posts to the gap. Go straight ahead and level towards Rockford and then down to the next gap to follow the path down to the woods. Ignore the path to the left. 12, SS756 479, 6.3 miles: Go through the next kissing gate and take the path ahead into the valley signed to Rockford. 13, SS756 478, 6.4 miles: At the Heron on East Lyn River bottom by the river, turn left along the path signed to Rockford and Brendon. Pass the bridge over the river and continue with the river on your right. Go through the next bridle gate and continue past a cottage and stand of pine trees. 14, SS762 478, 6.9 miles: Now bear left along the path with a field between you and the river. Go through the next gate and follow the path back to the river. After passing between the buildings and gate, following the drive towards Brendon and Malmsmead. Go through the next gate and on reaching the road continue ahead to pass a pack horse bridge on your right. Continue along the road ahead and not over the road bridge. Pass the farm entrance and take the path on the right up some steps, signed to County Gate and Malmsmead. This path gains height and goes through a bridle gate. 15, SS774 485, 7.9 miles: Continue through the small valley and the next gate and up the path through the gorse. After a short distance go through the next bridle gate and soon you will go up steps over a wall. 16, SS785 484, 8.7 miles: Cross the next stile on a footbridge and turn left up the track. Follow it to the next bridle gate, ignoring the gate that you will see up to the left. 17, SS786 485, 8.9 miles: Now take the upper path to County Gate, following up the hill‌ 18, SS793 486, 9.3 miles: ...to the car park.

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Published and written by Combe Walks

Copyright Š Bryan Cath, 2012

www.combewalks.com

5 County Gate via Countisbury

4 Combe Park via Lynton

3 Simonsbath via Barle Valley

2 Doone Valley

1 Allerford via Selworthy

4

3

5 2 1

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