Why Exmoor is a Walker's Paradise
Published: Wednesday 19th Sep 2018
Written by: Katie Bessant
Gaze down at the crashing waves below from on top of a rugged clifftop. Exmoor’s are the highest in Britain. Wander through the shady groves of ancient oak woodlands that line them. There are ten miles of them along Exmoor’s coastline, more than anywhere else in the country thanks to the protection that the cliffs and foreland bring from the salt-laden sea winds. On the gentlest parts, the trees sweep down right onto the beach, giving the feeling that you’ve just landed on a remote desert island.
Further inland, the rich mosaic of moorland, woodland, streams and farmland support a great diversity of wildlife including herds of wild red deer, rich lichen communities, rare butterflies, bats, and other species uncommon in southern Britain. Salmon still return from years at sea to travel up rivers such as the Exe and Barle to the same spawning grounds they hatched from.
It is a landscape that has inspired poets, writers and artists for hundreds of years, and no better way can you begin to experience it than by putting on your most comfortable shoes and exploring on foot. With over 1000km of footpaths and bridleways, including the start of the South West Coastal Path – the UK’s longest National Trail – Exmoor is undoubtedly a walker’s paradise.
Whether you’re an experienced walker or someone who prefers a short stroll, a visit to the National Park Centre at Lynmouth Pavillion is a great place to pick up all the maps and advice you’ll need to get you on your way.
Step outside the Centre and you’ll be conveniently situated at the trail head for the Coleridge Way, the Two Moors Way, the Devon Tarka Trail and the South West Coast Path, greeted by a wire statue of a gentleman holding out his hand, known locally as “The Walker”.
Lynmouth is one of the most popular destinations in the National Park and it’s not difficult to see why. The Valley of The Rocks is to the West of Lynton and is arguably the most spectacular scenic location on Exmoor and is reached by an easy walk or drive from Lynton.
A huge amount goes into the upkeep of Exmoor National Park and those who have enjoyed their visit are encouraged to contribute to much needed projects by donating to Caremoor for Exmoor, either online or at a National Park Centre. For example, a fundraising appeal is currently underway in Lynmouth to replace a century-old bridge at Woodside, putting this much-loved easy circular route through the lower reaches of the East Lyn River back on the map for another generation.