Walk - Glenthorne

5.7 miles (9.2 km)

County Gate - EX35 6NQ County Gate

Challenging - Footpaths, tracks, plenty of ascent and descent, some of it steep.

Romans, railways, rhododendrons, Romantic poets, Women's Suffrage, Sherlock Holmes, boar's heads and Latin inscriptions... All this, and stunning coastal scenery, too, with the chance of spotting peregrines and kestrels hovering above the cliffs.

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.

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.

Orchard House Hotel

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

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

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)

Bath Hotel

The Bath Hotel is a family run hotel overlooking the harbour in the picturesque village of Lynmouth, where Exmoor meets the sea.

Sinai House

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

St Vincent Guest House

Beautiful grade II Georgian B&B in the heart of Lynton, minutes from the coastal path. Packed lunch by arrangement & all diets catered for.

The Crown Hotel

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.

South View Guest House

Adjacent to the SW Coast Path, South View House is ideally located close to pubs, restaurants and shops. Packed lunches and afternoon cream teas provided on request.

North Walk House

Right on the SW Coast Path. Adults only, no dogs. Lounge, bar, terrace with amazing coastal views, free wi-fi and some parking

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.

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.

North Coast Café

Discover the North Coast Cafe in Lynton for bagels and sandwiches, hot savouries, homemade treats and exceptional coffee.

The North Cliff Hotel

Right on the SW Coast Path. Families & groups welcome,dog friendly,free wi-fi,drying room,bike storage,lounge,bar,terrace with amazing sea views, parking,2xEV chargers
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 National Park Visitor Centre, Lynmouth

Discover walking routes and information on places to visit in the Exmoor area

Lynton & Lynmouth Tourist Information Centre

Information on where to stay, local food and drink, festivals and events and things to do in these picturesque twin villages on the edge of Exmoor.

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. From the County Gate car park, cross the road and follow the footpath signs for the Sugarloaf, and descend down the eastern side to join the Coast Path.

This is one of the finest viewpoints on the Exmoor Coast, giving far-reaching views across the Bristol Channel to the coast of Wales.

  1. Turn left, keeping to the Coast Path, until you cross a small stream.
  2. Turn right, following the sign for the Pinetum and Beach. Take time to admire some of the fine tree specimens, old trout pool and icehouse – all part of the old Glenthorne estate. Continue down to reach the beach. This is a superb spot for lunch.

The country house at Glenthorne was built in 1829-1830 by the Reverend Walter Halliday. It was built in the Tudor Gothic style, with a conservatory and a three-stage service tower, with a carved boar's head above the door and a now-illegible Latin inscription.

Walter Halliday was the younger son of a naval surgeon and banker from a long-established Scottish family, Simon Halliday, who amassed a great fortune during the Napoleonic Wars. As befitted younger sons of the time, whose elder brothers were expected to inherit both wealth and its incumbent responsibilities, Walter had taken holy orders when his sibling died; but nonetheless, he took seriously the terms of his inheritance, requiring him to set up a country estate in the family's name, and set about finding the perfect place to do so.

As a great admirer of the Romantic movement, his thoughts followed Coleridge, Wordsworth and Shelley down to this part of the South West coast (see the Porlock Woodland Walk), as did his fortune shortly afterwards, establishing the estate here at Glenthorne.

Walter was childless when he died in 1872, however, and a quirk of inheritance law meant that although Glenthorne passed to his nephew, William Halliday Cosway, the rest of the wealth returned to Scotland, although it remained available to him as a sum which could be invested in capital projects.

Changing his name to William Halliday to match his inheritance (he was Walter's sister's son), he duly set about investing this money in the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway. This was in partnership with Sir George Newnes, editor of Strand magazine and, in this role, the original publisher of Sherlock Holmes (see the Hollerday Hill Walk).

  1. Retrace your steps for 200 metres and follow the signs for ‘Ben’s Path’. Please take note of all ‘Private’ signs as Glenthorne house is not open to the public.

Ben was William Halliday's son, who inherited the estate when William died in 1898 (on the same day that the first train arrived in Lynton on the new railway), and he too set about capital improvement at Glenthorne. Although tidal, the sea is deep at Glenthorne, and Ben's idea was to make it possible for ships to bring in coal from South Wales to fuel a power station which would provide an income for local workers.

The ensuing battle between Halliday and Newnes became the stuff of local legend, involving tragedy and romance (see the Hollerday Hill Walk). However, in 1910, Ben Halliday's career moved abruptly into politics, when, with the support of the Luttrell family of Dunster (see the Greenaleigh Farm Walk), he became Liberal MP for Bridgewater. He was one of Lloyd-George's coalition government's key workers for reform, and a leading light of the Women's Suffrage movement, which gave women the vote for the first time in British history.

  1. This will bring you back to the Coast Path at Coscombe. Follow the Coast Path towards Lynmouth, past Sister’s Fountain and along the Glenthorne drive for a short way. A section of heavy rhododendron follows for about 1 mile until you reach Wingate Combe.

This part of the coastline is especially beautiful in spring and early summer, when the gorse flames yellow on the hillside above Wingate Combe as you curve around towards it, and the banks of rhododendron to your right are a delicate lilac against a turquoise sea (if you are lucky with the weather!). There are stone benches and arbours along the way, as well as glimpses of the tree-clad headland beyond, at Desolation Point. Look out, too, for peregrine falcons hovering above the cliffs, and maybe kestrels as well.

Wingate Combe is one of the many combes which seam this part of the coastline. These are gullies carved in the rockface by the streams which carry rainwater down into the from the high ground above (see the Culbone Wood and Six Combes Walk). The moisture encourages plants and trees to grow, and combes are usually lined with ferns and bracken; and much of the Coast Path between Porlock and Trentishoe features ancient sessile oak woods which have spread out from the combes, as does the stretch between Bideford and Clovelly.

The streams tumbling down through the combes often leap some distance down the hillside in bubbling, frothing waterfalls, and there is one towards the bottom of Wingate Combe. Further along the coast, at Martinhoe, Hollow Brook features one of the highest coastal waterfalls in Britain (see the Martinhoe Roman Fortlet Walk).

  1. Turn off the Coast Path and follow the path up Wingate Combe, eventually exiting through a dense pine plantation. 
  2. Follow the sign across the field to Old Burrow – a Roman lookout point. From here turn south, picking up the footpath back to County Gate.

Old Burrow was built around 50 AD, as a lookout point for the Roman army, to enable them to keep an eye on the unruly Silure tribe across the channel, in South Wales (see the Old Burrow Roman Walk). It accommodated some 65-80 soldiers, who are thought to have lived here in tents. No wonder, perhaps, that the site was found to be too exposed for comfort: a matter which they remedied by building a replacement fortlet at Martinhoe, just down the coast (see the Martinhoe Roman Fortlet Walk).

  1. Cross the A39 and walk over the hill to return to your starting point.

Public transport

There are a few buses each day between Lynmouth and Minehead via Porlock, that stop 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.


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