21 miles of beautiful exmoor landscape
The 21 Mile Drive is a ‘scenic’ figure of eight drive around the beautiful ‘Little Switzerland’ area of Exmoor National Park and jam-packed with places to visit and experience.
Start your journey at Lynton Town Hall and drive through the beautiful Valley of Rocks.
- Drive along Lee Road, Longmead and in to the Valley of Rocks, driving towards the Lee Abbey Estate, leading on to Woody Bay. There are several car parks in the Valley of Rocks, along with a delightful Tea Cottage called Mother Meldrums.
- Shortly after Lee Abbey’s main house is Lee Bay, with parking. This is a great spot if you want to go paddling or wild swimming. During peak Summer months the Lee Abbey Tea Cottage serves delicious home-made refreshments. Public facilities are also available here.
- From Lee Abbey through Woody Bay the road narrows so take care. Woody Bay is another great place for a paddle or wild swim, better at low tide. There is another car park here with access on to the South West Coast Path, for a coastal walk to the Heddon Valley.
- Leave Woody Bay and head towards the Heddon Valley and Hunter’s Inn. The Heddon Valley is managed by the National Trust who provide plenty of long and short walks. The most popular from Hunters Inn to Heddon’s Mouth with its beach and lime kilns.
- From the Heddon Valley follow Killacott Lane, again taking care on the narrow road. Turn left onto the A39 and you will soon arrive at Woody Bay Station, home to the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway. Do stop here for a train ride and refreshments at the station’s tea rooms.
- Take the A39 to Barbrook, where there are public toilets and service station. Continue on to Lynmouth, turning right at the bottom of Lynmouth Hill onto Watersmeet Road. From here you will travel along the East Lyn River and it’s ancient oak woodland gorge. After about 2 miles, you arrive at Watersmeet.
- Stop here and visit the former fishing lodge, owned by the National Trust and surrounded by stunning woodland and riverside walks. Here the East Lyn river meets the Hoaroak Water and forms beautiful waterfalls and rocky pools, teeming with wildlife and a great spot for fishing.
- From Watersmeet, continue along the A39 for another mile, to Hillsford Bridge. Here you can park and enjoy the riverside walk back to Watersmeet or climb up to the Iron Age fort above the valley – both routes make an excellent circular walk.
- Take the next left after Hillsford, and turn immediately left again up a steep incline, taking in the views across the East Lyn valley. From here continue onto Brendon. The remote St. Brendan’s church is located at the top of the hill on your left.
- Dropping down into the river valley once again, you will pass the Rockford Inn, a cosy 17th Century pub and a great place to stop for lunch. In Brendon there is also the Staghunter’s Inn, which serves fresh homemade food every day.
- Turn left at Brendon’s pretty village green, climbing up the hill and back onto the A39. Here there is a good chance to see the iconic Exmoor ponies.
- Continue on towards Countisbury taking in the magnificent views of the Brendon Valley. Stop at the Kipscombe car park and enjoy walks to the Foreland Lighthouse and South West Coast path and experience the views of Lynton & Lynmouth across the bay.
- Continue down Countisbury Hill, returning to Lynmouth for a ride on the world famous Cliff Railway.