Walk - Lorna Doone Walk

5.4 miles (8.7 km)

County Gate - EX35 6NQ County Gate

Challenging - Footpaths, tracks, bridleways, quiet lanes, some steep ascent and descent

A breathtaking walk, first through inspiring scenery from high above the coast, then dropping to a romantic ramble through picturesque Lorna Doone country to the church used in the filming of her eventful wedding day.

There is a dog friendly pub in Malmshead. Have a look at our Top Dog Walks on the South West Coast Path for more dog friendly beaches and pubs. 

There are a range of wonderful places to lay your head near the Coast Path for a well-earned sleep. From large and luxurious hotels, to small and personable B&B's, as well as self-catering options and campsites. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Cloud Farm Campsite

Stunning Views. 10 electric hook ups. Onsite shop, washing up area, toilets and showers on site

Ash Farm B&B

We are a working farm just off the Coast Path. We can pick up from Porlock Weir if required. Packed lunch on request.

Harbour House Coffee Shop

Next to South West Coast Path at Porlock Weir on Exmoor coast, dog friendly cafe & unique self-catering holday apartments 1 sleeps 4, 1 sleeps 2 (grd flr)

Exmoor Bunk House

Surrounded by dramatic valleys, rugged moorland and an impressive rocky coastline, the 18-bed Exmoor Bunkhouse is the ideal holiday destination for intrepid explorers of all ages.

Berry Lawn Linhay Bothy

Sleeps 4. The former farm building offers a simple, basic walkers’ overnight shelter.

Lynmouth Holiday Retreats

Set in a truly picturesque part of the country; the Exmoor National Park has stunning views from almost every pitch on the park you can admire the view

You'll be spoilt for choice for where to eat and drink along the Path. With lots of local seasonal food on offer, fresh from the farm, field and waters. Try our local ales, ciders, wines and spirits, increasing in variety by the year, as you sit in a cosy pub, fine dining restaurant or chilled café on the beach. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Harbour Gallery & Cafe

Situated right on the coastpath we sell a fabulous range of freshly prepared food and drinks.
What is on your list of things to do when you visit the Path? From walking companies, to help you tailor your visit, with itineraries and experts to enhance your visit, to baggage transfer companies and visitor attractions there are lots to people and places to help you decide what you'd like to do. The businesses that support the Path, where you've chosen to visit, are listed here.

Porlock Visitor Centre

Porlock Visitor Centre provides a vast array of information for visitors to Porlock Vale, including accommodation booking service, maps, walks, things to see and do.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. From the car park at CountyGate, cross the road carefully and take the track opposite running to the east and slightly downhill.

  2. When the path forks, take the left-hand track (sign-posted Glenthorne, Nature Trail, Coast Path) which runs steeply down beside Coscombe, bordering the forest.

  3. As this track flattens out, it meets the Coast Path at a junction. Turn right onto this (signposted Culbone, Nature Trail, Beach), heading roughly eastwards, through a combe and onto Yenworthy Combe beyond.

  4. At the next junction, the Coast Path divides into two. At this junction, by a barrier (gate?) the signpost is awaiting repair (has been reported). Take the right fork which climbs very steeply uphill. You will see an acorn sign on a post up the hill. (If you find the hill too steep, there is a zigzag path on the left which makes the ascent to the post easier). Carry on uphill. At the top of the hill (signposted at Guildhall Corner), keep following the South West Coast Path towards Culbone. The Coast Path continues uphill, along a wooded path and then through a field, till you reach a 4-finger signpost. 

  5. Leave the South West Coast Path at this point, following the sign for Bridleway Oareford 2 miles, still going uphill towards the road.

  6. Cross the road and head eastwards (left) for a few yards and then pick up the track to your right which leaves the road, passing through a gate, and runs along the top of the hillside there. Follow this track until you reach a signpost, then turn right towards Oare (on the Coleridge Way).  

  7. Follow the path down till it reaches a stream. Carry on right alongside the stream to the lane beyond.   Turn left onto the lane and left again when it forks, about a hundred yards further on. This will bring you to OareChurch.

Oare Church is the location of one of the most dramatic scenes in RD Blackmore’s novel ‘Lorna Doone’ which was set around here during the late seventeenth century. There is a memorial tablet in the church to Blackmore, whose uncle was a rector here.           

  1. Take the footpath just beyond the church, which leads to your right and uphill through the field to a patch of woodland a few hundred yards above. Carry on uphill on the footpath signed to Cloud Farm, and follow it around the edge of the wood, turning sharply right with it to continue through the fields. In the first field look out for a signpost and take the path to the left. Continue following the path through the fields and out through the gate at the bottom, by the stables.
  2. At Cloud Farm, turn right onto the drive and follow it northwards to the road at Malmsmead, a mile or so beyond.

The stream running alongside the drive, on the left, is Badgworthy Water. It is in Badgworthy that Lorna Doone was set. If you were to follow the stream in the opposite direction, southwards from Cloud Farm, just a few hundred yards would bring you to a memorial stone, erected in RD Blackmore’s memory in 1969 by the Lorna Doone Centenary Committee.   Following the stream onwards a mile or so from the memorial (a very pretty walk), you would pass through Badgworthy Wood and Doone Valley, below the open moorland of Doone Country and Brendon Common beyond it, and into the ruins of the mediaeval settlement where Blackmore wove his yarn.

  1. For this walk, however, turn right onto the road at Malmsmead, and walk to the bridleway on your left (through Parsonage Farm). Take the bridleway and, after you have crossed the footbridge, do not take the footpath left along beside the river, but instead go straight ahead towards the woods to the junction of bridleways beyond.  
  2. Choose the second left-hand bridlepath (signposted County Gate) and climb with it back up to the main road to return to the car park.

Pausing on this bridlepath, you can look back over the valley below and see Badgworthy Water winding its way through the woodland to the remains of the tiny village. No doubt Blackmore did the same and pictured Lorna doing her washing among the stones in the bubbling river, while Carver and his wild outlaw brothers went about their business at a furious gallop on the expanses of empty moorland above.

Public transport

Quantock Motor Services Route 300 travels a few times a day between Lynmouth and Minehead via Porlock, and stops at County Gate. For timetable information, zoom in on the interactive map and click on the bus stops, visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33.


County Gate car park


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