SWCP Day 3 - Spectacular and remote coastal walk with a nice lunch pub
|Length||21.8 km / 13.6 miles|
|OS Maps||Explorer 9 (Exmoor)|
|Toughness||10/10 - Good, waymarked paths with easy navigation but lots of ascent and descents - 1,250m of ascent|
This walk is day 3 of the South West Cost Path (SWCP), and a very pretty walk in its own right
Lynmouth is a small touristy village (lots of hotels though). Above it is Lynton, a small touristy town with a 'Lake District' feel, and many fine looking B&Bs, with its very own attraction, the over-rated Valley of the Rocks!
This is a long and strenuous walk - the route passes the Valley of the Rocks, Heddon's Mouth Cove and Great Hangman (at 318 metres, the highest point on the entire SWCP). The only refreshments are the pretty Hunters Inn pub, 0.5km inland from Heddon's Mouth.
Note the coast bus service between Combe Martin and Lynmouth is summer only and takes a long detour inland, so there are no drop out points along the route
|Lunch and Tea|
The South West Coast Path (SWCP) is the longest of the national paths and follows the coastline of Somerset, Devon, Cornwall, Devon again and finally Dorset. This section, along the Exmoor coast, is its traditional start, as is done anti-clockwise.
The walk may be done as one long walk, staying overnight along the way, or as a series of day walks, returning by bus to your car or accommodation.
By car, you'd be better in a B&B, renting a cottage, or staying in one of the caravan parks near Combe Martin, and doing day trips by car (returning to it by bus), then you don't have to worry about carrying your kit, provisions, booking accommodation, etc. With 2 cars you can shuttle, and have far more freedom over how far you walk each day.
Minehead is a large seaside resort town with shops accomodation, but only heritage rail, not national rail.
Porlock is a small touristy village with several pubs, restaurants and B&s;Bs a few km inland. Porlock Weir on the coast has a hotal and a good pub.
Lynmouth (seafront) and Lynton (above it at the top of the hill) are a large very touristy village with lots of accomodation. Year round bus service inalnd, but summer only bus service along the coast
Coombe Martin is a small seaside village a few km from a much larger one - Illfracombe
The SWCP National Trail website has more details on each day's route. The SWCP Association has an annual handbook with updated accommodation guide.
Exmoor is a small National Park (NP) on the north coast of Somerset and Devon. It has a dramtic rocky coastline with the highest sea cliffs and largest coastal forest in England. Inland are steep sides valleys which lead up to bleak moorland plateau ("The Chains") and the NP's highest point - Dunkery Beacon at 519m / 1703 feet. The southern side of the plateau, bisected by steep valleys slopes much more gently, as is used for sheep farming. Formerley a royal forest, the NP has few towns, but 2 large seaside resorts outside it - Minehead and Barnstable. See Exmoor's wiki page
There are no train stations nearby. To get here, take 1) a National Express Coach to Minehead or 2) a train to Taunton, and then a bus to Minehead.
Regular buses run along the coast on the SWCP day 1 route to Porlock, then a summer only services along the SWCP day 2 route to Lynton. The coastal road heads inland, and doesn't rejoin the coast until the end of SWCP day 3 route - a summer weekend only bus service. NB the #300 bus along the coast runs in 2 sections: i) Minehead to Lynmouth, and ii) Lynmouth to Illfracombe
After the walk, we would love to get your feedback
|Map Walk||This walk requires an OS map and a compass or GPS for navigation. You can print out OS maps using the link above.|
National Rail: 03457 48 49 50 • Travelline (bus times): 0871 200 22 33 (12p/min) • TFL (London) : 0343 222 1234
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The directions for this walk are also in a PDF (link above) which you can download on to a Kindle, tablet, or smartphone. OpenStreetMap (not OS) mapping is used in the PDF for licence reasons.
The official route (marked on the map) goes along the road from Lynton, but its nicer to follow the signposted route to the Valley of the Rocks, which starts just by Lyynton's Church. There is a tea room in the Valley of the Rocks - there is nothing else until lunch.
The road after this point is a toll road with very little traffic.
After Woody Bay, you can take the higher path to the Hunter's Inn. If you take the lower path, continue inland, alongside the river, and enter the pub through it garden
Take a short cut inland, over the trig point