Robert Southey's Lynton & Lynmouth
Two rivers join at Lynmouth. Each of these flows down a combe, rolling over huge stones like a long waterfall; immediately at their junction they enter the sea; and the river and the sea make but one sound of uproar. Of these combes, the one is richly wooded, the other runs between two high, bare, stony hills. From thehill between the two is a prospect most magnificent; on either hand, combes; and the river before the little village. This alone would constitute a view beautiful enough to repay the weariness of a long journey; but to complete it, there is the blue and boundless sea.
Imagine a narrow vale between two ridges of hills, somewhat steep, the southern hill turfed; the vale, which runs from east to west, covered with huge stones, and fragments of stone among the fern that fills it; the northern ridge completely bare, excoriated of all turf and all soil, the very bones and skeleton of the earth; rock reclining upon rock, stone piling upon stone, a huge terrific mass. A palace of the Pre-Adamite kings, a city of the Anakim must have appeared so shapeless, and yet so like the ruins of what had been shaped after the waters of the flood subsided.
I ascended with some toil the highest point; two large stones inclining on each other formed a rude portal on the summit. Here I sat down. A little level platform, about two yards long, lay before me, and then the eye immediately fell upon the sea, far, very far below.
I never felt the sublimity of solitude before.
Robert Southey, writing on Lynton, Lynmouth & the Valley of Rocks, 9th August 1799.
Taken from the Devon & Cornwall Black's Guide for Tourists 1871.