Exmoor National Forest
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Exmoor National Park is shared between Somerset and Devon with the former county having the larger share. The national park was created in 1954 and of all the UK national parks with a recorded number of visitors it would appear to attract fewest. Why? Perhaps because it's difficult to posit what makes it so good. Its heights are not spectacular. Unlike Dartmoor it does not have rocky tors. Yet anybody who loves great scenery wants to return!
R.D. Blackmore's well known novel, Lorna Doone, is based on this area.
Exmoor extends under less than 30 square miles. It is a moderately high plateau of Devonian rocks with high and scenic cliffs near the coast and steep river valleys. Among the rivers are the Exe, the Barle, Heddon Water and the East and West Lyn. The highest cliff is at Great Hangman but the wooded cliffs west of Porlock Weir are also dramatically attractive. Dunkery Beacon, at a bit under 2000 feet, is the highest point.
Towns and Villages
There is no large town on Exmoor, Minehead in Somerset being just outside the moor but providing accommodation for many moorland visitors.
- Dulverton - market town - near Tarr Steps (below)
- Dunster - Norman Castle and 17th century yarn market.
- Porlock Weir - small village west of Porlock with a beach of huge pebbles.
- Culbone - a tiny village with a tiny church with a Saxon spike tower. The walk through splendid deciduous coastal cliffs from Porlock Weir is sheer delight.
- Lynmouth and Lynton - twin towns with a cliff railway - access from Lynton to Valley of Rocks (below)
- Selworthy - delightful thatched village with a pleasant short walk to Selworthy Beacon (below).
- Horner - This and Luccombe are on the Holnicote estate with lovely oak woods.
- Exford - near Dunkery Beacon (below)
- Winsford - on the Exe - claims to be Exmoor's prettiest village - reasonable claim but it has competitors!
- Stoke Pero very small village near Dunkery Beacon. Highest church on Exmoor.
- Martinhoe - spectacular site overlooking heddon's Mouth.
- Oare - the church is the site of Lorna Doone's wedding in the book of the same name by R.D Blackmore
Sights and Activities
- Dunkery Beacon the highest point on Exmoor - superb views.
- Tarr Steps - ancient clapper bridge.
- Selworthy Beacon - unbeatable coastal views.
- Cloutsham Nature Trail -a treat for all, particularly school children.
- Valley of Rocks - not really a valley at all but a small road high above the coast with small peaks to the side and a herd of wild goats.
- Watersmeet The Lyns, East and West come together.
- Heddon's Mouth
Long walks going beyond Exmoor
- South-West Coast Path
- Two Moors Way
- Tarka Trail
- Coleridge Way
- YHA Exford, Exe Mead, Exford, Minehead, Somerset, TA24 7PU Tel: 0870 770 5828
- YHA Lynton, Lynbridge, Lynton, Devon, EX35 6AZ Tel: 0870 770 5942