This walk takes in the dramatic coastline of the Exmoor National Park, with its contrasting landscape of quaint villages, lonely moorland, rugged cliffs and dense coastal woodlands. Running from Minehead to Combe Martin, the scenic splendour of this stunning stretch of coastline was central to Exmoor achieving National Park Status in 1954.
Explore the unique landscape of Exmoor’s coastline – much of which has remained largely unchanged since smugglers plied the lonely shores and romantic poets strode out across the moors in search of their muse. All along this walk there are some fantastic views across the Bristol Channel to the Welsh coast and Lundy Island. The first day’s walk takes you to Selworthy Beacon with spectacular views over the moor and on to Hurlstone Point overlooking the magnificent Porlock Bay. On day two, the route takes you past Hollow Brook – one of the highest waterfalls in Britain, dropping 200 metres to the sea. It then leads you to the twin villages of Lynmouth and Lynton, connected via a water-powered cliff railway that’s been operating since 1890. There are more rewarding views on day three after a steep climb to the highest point on the Coast Path at Great Hangman: 1043 feet above sea level. After many ups and downs, you’ll feel a great sense of achievement on reaching Combe Martin.
History / Coastal / Culture
By Water / Rolling Countryside
This wild stretch of coast includes some fairly strenuous climbs up and down steep slopes and steps to reach beautiful coves. The daily distances are fairly consistent and some involve several hundred metres of ascent and descent, so don’t underestimate the time/effort required.
There are a range of comfortable pubs, inns, hotel and hostels to lay your head near the Coast Path for a well-earned rest. From large and luxurious hotels, to small and personable B&B’s, as well as self-catering options and campsites. There’s ample choice in Minehead and Lynmouth but options are more restricted on the less populated sections. The gloriously eccentric Anchor at Porlock Weir is a uniquely English experience.
Air / Rail
Fly to Bristol or Exeter then train and bus to Minehead. Taunton is the nearest mainline railway station. You can catch the number 300 bus from here to Minehead, but there is currently no direct service from Minehead to Lynton. The number 309 bus runs between Lynton and Barnstaple and the 301 between Barnstaple and Combe Martin. For further details visit Traveline or phone 0870 6082608.
This is a relatively short but varied itinerary that could be tackled at any time of year. The scenery is fantastic all year round, but Autumn is especially dramatic when the vast swathes of heathland become a purple haze of heather and the wooded combes turn golden brown.
Expect to find fresh seafood at pubs and restaurants in the larger towns and some refreshing local ales from local breweries like Quantock and Exmoor Ales, whose celebrated Exmoor Gold was one of England’s first refreshing golden ales. The Culbone at Culbone and the Rising Sun at Lynmouth are highly recommended.
The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the National Trails Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.
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