Brendon Valley is one of Exmoor’s hidden treasures
Once discovered the Brendon Valley beguiles it’s visitors, drawing them back time and time again to enjoy its spectacular setting, tranquillity and special hospitality.
Encompassing the former hamlets of Leeford, Rockford and extending out towards Malmsmead in the east, the start of ‘Doone Country’, Brendon meanders along the steep-sided valley bottom alongside the rapid flowing East Lyn River as it speeds its way to the sea at Lynmouth. The river is home to wild brown trout, salmon and sea trout for which fishing permits can be purchased locally. The darting flashes of kingfishers can be regularly seen and if you are really lucky you will spot dippers as they swim underwater particularly near the road bridge at Leeford and the ford at Malmsmead. The slow ponderous flight of herons on their search for a tasty fish dinner adds to the daily birdlife activity on the river while circling buzzards and Britain’s largest wild mammal, the proud red deer, are also common sights.
Brendon Valley is at the very heart of the Exmoor National Park and sits at the intersection of a network of walks, which encompass a wide variety of land and seascapes.
On a circular trek, one can enjoy woodland, river, moorland, rugged coastline with views across the channel to Wales and traditional Exmoor farmland walks. It is possible to plan a variety of circular walks ranging from a relaxing couple of miles amble, through to an all-day hike building an appetite for a hearty meal in one of the local hostelries, restaurants or award-winning tea gardens.
The Brendon Valley also lies on a national cycle route along quiet lanes suitable for families while there are also challenging off-road tracks for more adventurous mountain bikers. For the more ambitious there is horse riding and pony trekking with local stables catering for all abilities.
Brendon, or “the valley” as it is referred to locally is renowned for its friendly welcome and hospitality. There is a wide variety of accommodation available ranging from B&B’s and self-catering holiday cottages to country guesthouses and inns. The Staghunters Inn is a great place to eat, sleep and stay in the Brendon Valley.
Be you young or old, looking to take part in the activities of the countryside or just wanting to relax and unwind “the valley” can provide, but beware once bitten by its hidden charms you will not be able to resist returning!