Friday, 24 August 2012

Explore exquisite Exmoor…

Valley of the Rocks. Image credit: Mr D. Healy
Exmoor, the exquisite National Park beside the sea: wooded river valleys, dramatic cliffs, hidden coves, heather hills and sandy beaches; sheep, red deer, ponies and wheeling buzzards; rose-covered cottages, pretty villages and good food pubs. There’s so much to explore. Here are some of our favourite attractions…

The Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway, which connects Lynton to neighbouring Lynmouth, offers a unique perspective (you may have seen this photo posted on our Facebook page). Opened on Easter Monday in 1890, the railway has been in continuous use ever since with spectacular views of Exmoor and the north Devon coastline as you glide up and down the 862 foot length of track. Railway fans can also visit the nearby Lynton & Barnstaple Railway or West Somerset Railway. Alight at F57.

For more breathtaking views, don’t miss a walk or drive through the Valley of the Rocks on Lynton’s edge or a climb up to Dunkery Beacon (Exmoor’s highest hill) overlooking stunning Porlock Vale. In early spring, a stroll through Snowdrop Valley near Wheddon Cross is lovely. Put your feet up at F101.

Dunster Castle (Image from
Not many villages can lay claim to an imposing castle. Dating back to the 11th century (Norman times), Dunster Castle boasts sub-tropical gardens and superb views toward the Bristol channel, the Quantock hills and up to the moors. The agricultural show on the castle lawns and ‘Dunster by Candlelight’ are both super events to catch. A warm welcome awaits at F45.

Inland, in the beautiful river Barle valley, you’ll find the tiny town of Dulverton (popular with artists) and nearby, the ancient clapper bridge at Tarr Steps. This is one of the oldest things you’ll ever lay eyes (let alone feet) on: the bridge possibly dates to around 1000BC. The stone slabs weigh up to one to two tons apiece and span 180 feet (55m) across the river. Hop over to F10.

You’ll find a number of family-friendly wildlife attractions on Exmoor too. The Exmoor Owl & Hawk Centre offers the opportunity to interact with birds of prey in a safe environment. As well as owls and hawks, the centre has eagles, kookaburra and palm nut vultures. Make your nest at F32.

Browse our holiday cottages in Exmoor to find the perfect base from which to explore.  We’ll be taking a look at the wealth of outdoor activities on offer in Exmoor in a future blog.