Walk - Two Cleaves

4.9 miles (7.8 km)

Lynmouth Seafront Car Park - EX35 6EN Lynmouth Seafront Car Park

Challenging - High Coast Path with a small degree of exposure, woodland paths, a lot of steep ascent and descent

A walk to blow the cobwebs away, passing through the ruined ramparts of an enormous hillfort high above Lynmouth Bay, also featuring a woodland walk beside a bubbling river rich in wildlife. The route takes in the last leg of the Two Moors Way, and includes sections of the Tarka Trail and the Samaritans Way South West as it travels through two breathtaking cleaves between soaring peaks with stunning vistas over the trees.

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.

The Blue Ball Inn

The Blue Ball Inn is a dog-friendly traditional coaching inn, located in the hamlet of Countisbury, offering a high standard of bed and breakfast accommodation with a warm welcome. 

The Old Sea Captains House

Set against the mouth of the East Lyn River, the Captain’s House offers an ideal base from which to explore the Exmoor and North Devon coastline.

Hillside House B&B, Lynmouth

Situated on the East Lyn River, we are ideally suited to walkers needs, 400 yards from the Coast Path. The perfect location to explore & enjoy coast, riverside & woodland.

Orchard House Hotel, Lynmouth

Friendly, homely atmosphere. Full English breakfast, licensed bar, kit drying, luggage transfers,single occupancy reductions,walking parties welcome as well as pets & children

Sinai House, Lynton

AA 4 Star Silver rating accommodation with incredible sea views, offering peace and tranquillity. "Where Exmoor meets the Sea". Ideally located for the South West Coast Path.

The Crown Hotel, Lynton

A warm welcome awaits at the Crown Hotel, originally a coaching inn. Located in the heart of Lynton, a quiet base to explore N.Devon's rugged coastline. One night stays and dogs welcome.

Sunny Lyn Holiday Park, Lynbridge

Sunny Lyn Camping and Holiday Park is situated just outside Lynmouth and the closest camping to the South West Coast Path.

South View Guest House, Lynton

We look forward to welcoming you to our newly refurbished & upgraded Edwardian Guest House.  Ideally located for pubs, restaurants, shops and the spectacular North Devon Coast Path.

Bay Valley Of The Rocks Hotel

Overlooking the pretty harbour of Lynmouth, early Victorian hotel retains many aspects of its original charm, including an impressive atrium in the lounge and rooms with stunning scenic views.

Gable Lodge Guest House, Lynton

Family run guest house offering family friendly bed and breakfast accommodation. Freshly prepared evening meals using local produce.

The Denes Guest House

The Denes offer locally sourced food and comfortable en-suite bedrooms, facilities to dry outdoor gear and a selection of maps. Books, DVDs and board games for relaxation.

Longmead House, Lynton

As one of Lynton’s best kept secrets, our beautiful Victorian B&B offers plenty of comfort after a long day’s walk with our picturesque gardens, en-suite bedrooms and breakfast like no other.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. Starting out on the seafront, pick up the South West Coast Path and follow it around to where it joins the A39 on Countisbury Hill, and then follow it beside the road as it starts to head towards the point.

A small wooden marker by the path marks the earthwork ramparts of an important Iron Age hillfort (see below). The more modern-looking remains were a World War I gun emplacement, and the concrete building nearby is thought to have been an ammunition store or shelter.

  1. Ignore the path leading downhill to your left at the halfway point, staying with the Coast Path until a path leads off to your right towards Countisbury.Turn onto this path and follow it past the church and down to the road, by the pub.
  2. Cross the road and pick up the path a few yards to the east on the opposite side. Stay with the path between fields until it goes into Horner's Neck Wood and drops downhill to the riverside path. (Ignore the smaller paths leading off to right and left on the way down). Turn right onto the riverside path and follow it around to Watersmeet.

Watersmeet was built as a fishing lodge in 1832 by the Reverend Halliday of Glenthorne (see the Glenthorne Walk). Halliday was a big fan of the Romantic poets (who were themselves big fans of the Exmoor coast – see the Porlock Woodland Walk), and he had part of a Wordsworth poem quoted over the door of his fishing lodge.

Rev Halliday was also a tree-lover, and the species he planted around his fishing lodge included exotic conifers (note the huge Monterey Pine on the lawn). With its lush gardens in such a dramatic setting, the fishing lodge was an ideal place for the Edwardian tea-room it subsequently became: an atmosphere which continues in its current role as a National Trust shop, tea-room and information point.

Watersmeet is one of the largest areas of ancient oak woodland in south west England, and is home to a rich diversity of wildlife, including otters, salmon, kingfishers, silver fritillary butterflies and numerous wildflowers (see the Lynton and Lynmouth Hike). It is also an important place for various types of whitebeam, for which the Exmoor coast is particularly known (see the Foreland Point Adventurous Walk).

  1. Cross the river, and turn right onto the path zigzagging steeply uphill to the road.

  2. Cross the road, and find the path opposite, again heading steeply uphill into woodland. After a while it takes a sharp left turn and pulls out into the open, through the remains of an Iron Age hillfort.

This is one of several Iron Age hillforts around the area, including one just across the river, on Trilly Ridge in Horners’ Neck Wood above Watersmeet. On Wind Hill, between here and the coast, are the remains of a particularly noteworthy Iron Age fort, (the one you passed through at the start of the walk), with massive ramparts and a history to match (see the Wester Wood walk).

  1. Ignoring the paths to left and right at the bottom of the hillside beyond, take the steps directly up it, turning right with it above Myrtleberry Cleave.

A cleave is a steep-sided valley whose name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word cleof meaning cliff.

  1. When the Two Moors Way/Tarka Trail path comes in from the left, turn right onto it and drop gently downhill with it and around the combe down below, and then climb with it, once more rising high above the East Lyn river.

Watersmeet is so named because the East Lyn and Hoar Oak Water both flow down from Exmoor, high above the valley, and meet down here in the woodland. Heavy rainfall on the moor in August 1952 gushed torrentially down these two rivers, when nine inches of rain fell in just 24 hours, and in the resulting floods, houses and bridges were swept away and 34 people lost their lives (see the Lynton and Lynmouth Hike).

  1. Ignore the path away to your left at the top, staying with the Two Moors Way/Tarka Trail towards Lynmouth.

The next path off to your left, and the next offshoot, to your left a short way beyond, is the Samaritans Way South West. The fact that there are three other long-distance walking paths besides the South West Coast Path along this route is a good indication that it is a special place to walk – one that is particularly appreciated by those people on the Two Moors Way, whose 102-mile journey from Ivybridge, on Dartmoor, comes to an end in Lynmouth.

  1. Ignore the path to the left, however, staying with your original path as it falls gently down through Lyn Cleave and into Lynmouth, past the hydroelectric power station in the gorge.
  2. Reaching the main road through Lynmouth, turn left and return to the seafront.

Public transport

You can reach Lynmouth by bus from many nearby towns and villages including, Minehead, Barnstaple, and Combe Martin. For timetable information, zoom in on the interactive map and click on the bus stops, visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33.

Parking

Lynmouth sea front car park. Post code for sat navs - EX35 6EN

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