Travellers to Exmoor are not only rewarded with the outstanding natural beauty but also a peace and tranquillity seldom experienced in the South West.
Enjoy spectacular coastal views, the highest sea cliffs in England and leafy wooded gorges where fast flowing streams flow to the rugged shores of the North Devon or Somerset coast.
The Exmoor National Park spans two counties; North Devon and West Somerset covering almost 70,000 hectares of moorland, farmland and woodland. At the heart of Exmoor is an open wilderness of heath and moor smothered in wild heather and gorse.
If this is your first visit to the Exmoor National Park then there’s a few places we think you’ll really enjoy. Of course, there are dozens more places for you to discover and one thing we know for sure – you will find a place in your heart for each one.
Lynton & Lynmouth
These two charming villages sit on rugged North Devon coast in an area affectionately known as ‘Little Switzerland‘. The village of Lynmouth surrounds a picturesque harbour nestled at the confluence of two raging rivers. Lynton is perched high on a cliff overlooking Lynmouth and the surrounding coast and countryside. These delightful Victorian parishes are linked ingeniously by the famous Cliff Railway; one of the highest and steepest funicular railways in the world.
Both villages are bursting with charming shops, delicious restaurants and delightful cafes. Lynton & Lynmouth are often referred to as the walking capital of Exmoor with four National Walking Trails passing through, including the South West Coast Path and The Two Moors Way.
Valley of Rocks
The Valley of Rocks is situated about a mile out of Lynton and accessible by road or by a scenic coastal footpath forming part of the South West Coast Path, running along some of England’s highest cliffs.
This stunning ‘dry valley’ is truly unique in running parallel with the sea unlike any other on the north coast. It is an extraordinary area of strangely weathered rock formations with names such as The Devil’s Cheese ring, Castle Rock, Ragged Jack and Mother Meldrum’s Cave.
It’s perfect for selfies, exploring and walking, clambering amongst the rocks, picnicking with loved ones and conversing with the resident feral goats.
A trip to the Heddon Valley on the western edge of Exmoor provides an exciting drive from Lynton & Lynmouth and glorious walks. Explore miles of towering sea cliffs, hidden coves and stunning woodland with free-flowing streams. The River Heddon meanders through the valley leading to a rugged beach of rocky pebbles and boulders – it’s a great walk for the whole family.
The National Trust Heddon Valley is a well-managed haven for coastal birds and wildlife. The Valley is home to one of the UK’s rarest butterflies, the High Brown Fritillary.
We particularly love the Heddon Valley area because of its two accessible routes which are suitable for all-terrain mobility scooters.
One of the most fascinating structures in Exmoor has to be the Tarr Steps. This amazing “Clapper” bridge is built entirely from huge slabs of local stone and spans the crystal-clear, bubbling waters of the River Barle. It’s the perfect place to while away a few hours, enjoy a picnic, or a cream tea at the Tarr Inn.
There are several easy walks around the Tarr Steps, and some much longer ones too. One of our favourites is a circular walk crossing the River Barle at two places. It’s follows the river for most of the way there and back, it’s very popular. If you want a longer walk, we like to park further away from the steps and walk along the top of the valley descending at the Tarr Steps. The views are just gorgeous.
Selworthy is a picturesque area within the National Trust Holnicote Estate with miles and miles of lush woodland and wide-open spaces offering spectacular views over coast and country.
The village of Selworthy itself is a timeless chocolate-box picture of thatched cottages, with a fine medieval church that stands proudly overlooking the vale. We love enjoying an Exmoor cream tea in the Selworthy tea room ‘Periwinkle Cottage‘.
Enjoy the myriad of walks and trails through wooded combes with sweeping views Dunkery Beacon, Exmoor’s highest point. The whole area is simply breathtaking and a great way to enjoy the West Somerset side of Exmoor.