Walk - Lynmouth / Lynton to Combe Martin

13.7 miles (22.1 km)

Lynmouth / Lynton Combe Martin

Challenging - Strenuous. An easy start on tarmac to Castle Rock. There are some challenging climbs, including reaching the highest point of the South West Coast Path.

An easy start on tarmac to Castle Rock turns to grassy clifftops, which then lead to the spectacular rock formations of The Valley of Rocks. This is part of R. D. Blackmore’s Lorna Doone territory and the landscape is so extraordinary that legend has explained its origin as the acts of the Devil. From here there are some challenging climbs, including reaching the highest point of the South West Coast Path, and lovely views along beautiful stretches following the edge of the land, away from civilisation.

Interactive Elevation

Highlights

  • Rounding a corner to see Castle Rock towering above Wringcliff Bay as the Path enters the famous Valley of Rocks.
  • The jagged tor known as Rugged Jack. Local legend has it that some Druids were inappropriately dancing here on a Sunday and were turned to stone by the Devil.
  • Taking in the breathtaking views of Exmoor, the Welsh coast and Lundy from the highest point on the South West Coast Path: Great Hangman standing at 1043 feet.
  • The hanging oakwoods around Woody Bay, protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and home to Red Deer and a wide variety of birds.
  • Enjoying the many cliff top flowers, especially the abundance of bluebells, campions, violets, celandines and primroses present in the springtime.
  • Searching for the herd of feral goats that inhabit the cliffs.
  • Hollow Brook: one of the highest waterfalls in Britain which drops 200 metres to the sea.
  • The fantastic names of rock formations such as Rugged Jack and the Devil’s Cheesewring, home to R. D. Blackmore’s Mother Meldrum.
  • The sense of achievement on reaching the village of Combe Martin after the many steep ascents and descents of the day.

Places of interest

  • Riding the famous cliff railway which connects the twin villages of Lynton and Lynmouth, first opened in 1890, using water to power the motors.
  • The Beacon: Roman fortlet overlooking Heddon’s Mouth – a lookout built in the first century AD to monitor the Silures, a powerful tribe occupying much of the coast of south-east Wales. The site was excavated in the 1960’s to reveal barracks for approximately 80 Roman soldiers.
  • Take a quick detour to go down to Heddon's Mouth beach as the sea can be wild and dramatic as it crashes onto the rocks. You can watch from the shelter of the restored lime kiln.

Shorter option

It is not easy to shorten this walk due to lack of accommodation close to the Coast Path. You may wish to simply walk a stretch and then retrace your steps to Lynton.

Longer option

Continue to Ilfracombe (an additional 5.3 miles, 8.6 km).

Nearby refreshments

There is a good selection of pubs, restaurants and shops in Lynmouth, Lynton and Combe Martin. Along the route you can find refreshments in the Valley of Rocks, and Lee Bay (in summer). Lee Abbey Tea Cottage serves cream teas and other light refreshments in summer and there is an Inn and a National Trust shop, which has ice-creams, in the valley of Heddon’s Mouth.

Public transport

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.

Parking

Lynton (Postcode for Sat Navs: EX35 6BT), above Lee Bay, above Woody Bay, the valley of Heddon’s Mouth, Trentishoe Down and Combe Martin.

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