Walk - Robber's Bridge

7.3 miles (11.7 km)

Robber's Bridge - TA24 8JP Robber's Bridge

Challenging - Footpaths, tracks, quiet lanes.

Starting from Robber's Bridge, at one time the heart of notorious bandit country but now a tranquil beauty spot among birches and beeches, this walk rises and falls through forest and woodland on the side of Culbone Hill, giving breathtaking panoramas out over the coast.

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.

Ash Farm, Porlock Hill

We are a working farm just off the Coast Path. Please call 01643 862414 for more details. Porlock Weir pick up if required. Packed lunch on request.

Sea View B&B, Porlock

4 Star B&B, en suite. TV/free wi-fi. Breakfast Award: gluten free/vegetarian, local produce/homemade
bread/preserves. Drying facilities.

Myrtle Cottage, Porlock

A comfortable thatched cottage built over 400 years ago, bursting with character and charm. All rooms en-suite, award winning breakfast.

Hillside

Bedroom with view of Hurlestone Point. Double bed, private bathroom and downstairs toilet. Can provide mattress for child. Use of kitchen for DIY breakfast. Sunny back patio.

The Cottage B&B, Porlock

A cosy, luxurious, historic and friendly B&B in the heart of the village, close to all amenities

Sparkhayes Farm Campsite, Porlock

Family site-5 minute walk to the village and its shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants. 20 minute walk down to the sea on the South West Coast Path.

Reines House B&B, Porlock

Benefitting from a peaceful location, yet a short walk from Porlock's numerous shops, pubs and restaurants. Locally sourced produce from sausages to tea and coffe.  Packed lunch on request.

Exmoor Country House

Beautiful Guest House within Exmoor National Park in the enchanting village of Porlock. Evening dinner every night except Sunday.

Tudor Cottage

15th century Licensed Farmhouse B&B offering a hearty breakfast with beautiful views. Evening meal, packed lunch & afternoon teas by arrangement

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.

Exmoor Rambler, Porlock

Exmoor Rambler stocks a large range of outdor clothing & equipment-waterproofs,walking boots, walking guides,etc. Ideally suited for South West Coast Path.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. Park in the car park just to the east of Robber's Bridge, and pick up the start of the walk by walking along the lane, back towards the bridge, and going through the gate on your right just before you reach the bridge. Take the path to your right, heading roughly east around the hill, and follow it gently upwards above Met Combe.

Although it is widely assumed that the bridge is named after R. D. Blackmore's fictitious wild Doone brothers, a robbing, murdering bunch of brigands (see the Lorna Doone Walk), in fact this area was once notorious bandit country in its own right. Blackmore's tale is said to be based on Exmoor history which he learned from his uncle, a rector at nearby Oare Church.

The real-life Doone brothers are thought to have been a band of Jacobite outlaws who fled from Scotland to this part of Exmoor, ambushing travellers passing through the remote moorland around Badgworthy Water.

  1. When a footpath joins from above and behind you, carry on around to the right and through the trees to the inn at the top. Stay with your path around the back of the inn, emerging on the main road to its right. Cross the road carefully, and take the metalled lane opposite over the brow of the hill.

At the top of the hill here, in the private woodland to the left with no public access at present, is the Culbone Stone, a standing stone inscribed with a wheel cross, thought to date from the 9th or 10th century AD.

There is also an impressive Bronze Age monument in the wood, consisting of some twenty or more stones arranged in a row. One of the stones is inscribed with a cross, leading to speculation that maybe the Culbone Stone was removed from this row to its current location at a later date.

In addition, there are two Bronze Age burial cairns in this area (see the Barna Barrow History Walk).

  1. Ignoring the two tracks to the left, where there is no public access, follow the lane to the right about a hundred yards, to a bridleway on your right.

  2. Follow the bridleway down through the forest.

  3. When the track forks, take the right-hand path and carry on downhill, still along a forest track, until you reach a path to the left, just before Pitt Farm.

  4. Turn off the bridleway onto this path, and go past the farm buildings and onto the metalled lane beyond, staying with it until it forks about a quarter of a mile later.

  5. Take the left-hand fork and follow it northwards around the hill, ignoring the lane to your left after about half a mile.

Part of Parsonage Farm, half a mile or so beyond, dates from the 17th century and it is a listed building, with mullioned windows and distinctive chimney stacks. Ash Farm before it, too, has a place in posterity, as poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge was said to be staying here when he wrote Kubla Khan, the poem famously interrupted by the 'Person from Porlock' (see the Culbone Church Walk).

    1. At Silcombe Farm, beyond Parsonage Farm, you run out of road. Just before you reach this point, however, the Coast Path joins your path. Turn left onto it, and follow it along the track beyond Silcombe Farm as it navigates a series of combes, the path curving in and out around the almost-vertical valleys that these plunging streams have carved on their way to the sea.
    2. A couple of hundred yards after Twitchen Combe you come to the lane which links Broomstreet Farm with the A39 County Road. Turn left onto this lane (before the farm) and follow it, a little less than a mile, to the County Road.
    3. Crossing the road carefully, take the footpath opposite which follows the drive to Lilycombe House. A couple of tracks lead off to the left, but your footpath turns to the right before your reach the farm and follows the field boundary a moment later, to emerge onto the access land beyond. Stay close to the hedge for a few hundred yards, until it turns abruptly right, with a bridleway crossing your path.
    4. Turn left onto the bridleway and follow it gently downhill a mile or so until it returns you to the lane about a quarter of a mile to the west of Robber's Bridge.
    5. Turn left onto the lane and return to the bridge.

Public transport

Buses run a few times a day between Lynmouth and Minehead via Porlock, and stops at the Culbone Inn (point 3 on the walk).

For timetable information, zoom in on the interactive map and click on the bus stops, visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33.

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