Walk of the week: Lynton and Lynmouth, Exmoor

Length of route: 6.5 km
Starting point: Lynbridge, grid reference SS719485
Suitable for: Walking
Maps: OL9 – Exmoor
OS Maps

This guest walk is from Tim who runs Car Free Walks, a website of walks around the UK that can be reached by public transport. See more details on the route here: http://www.carfreewalks.org/walks/1160/lynton_amp_lynmouth

Exmoor has a special place among my walking memory bank. It was here that I learn the basics of using a compass (clue: you need to check which end of the needle points north and which one points south). It was here that I learnt how to put up a tent in the driving rain in the middle of a moor (answer: as quickly as possible). And it was here that I learnt that it’s no easier getting served underage in a pub just because you’re away from home [ahem – not recommended – Editor].

_MG_6091The reason Exmoor was the setting for these formative experiences was, as you might have guessed, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. Exmoor was our nearest National Park, hence the destination for our school minibus on summer weekends. But as well as the harsher memories of outdoors life, I also remembered the beautiful moors, the abundant wildlife, the scenic campsites in hidden corners. So I was keen to show this special place to my German fiancé (pictured).

But as the bus headed along the country roads from Barnstaple to Lynmouth, the sky was full of grey, brooding clouds. I could read her mind as she peered through the drips on the window: is this really the place he’s been making such a fuss about? And does he really think I’m going walking in it?

Fortunately, Exmoor’s charms shine through even in adverse weather. We started our walk at Lynbridge, following the woodland path through Glen Lyn Gorge. Come rain or shine, no one could fail to be impressed by the scenery in this gorge, whose waters crash out through the village of Lynmouth. The sun even started to peek out as we walked through the village, admiring the views across Lynmouth Bay.


The uphill path out of the village towards Lynton was slippery after the rain, however, and we took care along the Victorian path that hugs the steep cliffs of Hollerday Hill, to the west of the village. The cloud was back with a vengeance by the time we reached the Valley of the Rocks, making it hard to admire the view (or take photos). But a walk in the rain is a fine English tradition, after all. And hurrying the final stage back into Lynton meant even more time to appreciate another English tradition – a pot of tea while in a cosy café while it hammers down outside.

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