Walk - Martinhoe Roman Fortlet

5.3 miles (8.6 km)

Hunter's Inn - EX31 4PY Hunter's Inn

Challenging - Woodland paths and grassy tracks, some steep ascent and descent, stony paths high above the sea. A 'Tramper' all terrain mobility scooter can be hired (book in advance) from the National Trust at Heddon Valley, and this can be used to do the section of this walk along the old carraigeway that has wonderful views along the coast and across to Wales. For more details see the Countryside mobility website.

A wonderful walk along a green Roman carriageway high above the sea, winding through rocky scree-clad hillsides covered in old oak woodland, boasting one of England's highest coastal waterfalls in a key geological site. Although it's a long walk for little legs, older children will love the adventurous nature of the walk, the views out across the Bristol Channel to the Welsh coast, and the stories of the Romans who once camped here.

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.

Martinhoe Cleave Cottages

Three lovely cottages within Exmoor National Park close to the SW Coast Path and the dramatic moorland and coastal scenery of north Devon

Heddon Valley Campsite

Tucked away in two meadows bordering the river surrounded by Oaks, quiet and isolated yet within easy walking distance of the National Trust visitor centre & Hunters Inn

Exmoor Coast Holidays

Campsite on working Cider Farm, Shop, off Licence, Restaurant and Bar

Heddon Orchard Bothy

Heddon Bothy is a simple, basic four person hideaway. Bring your cooking and sleeping equipment. This is indoor camping for adventurers.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

Bath Hotel

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

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

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

Berry Lawn Linhay Bothy

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

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.

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.

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

North Coast Café

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

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.

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.

Exmoor National Park Visitor Centre, Lynmouth

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

Interactive Elevation

Route Description

  1. From the road outside the Hunter's Inn, take the path to the right-hand (eastern) side of the inn and walk a short way uphill until it forks. Take the left-hand fork and follow it downhill and alongside the river for about three quarters of a mile, until you come to a path to your right, leading uphill through the woods.
  2. Take this path, and follow it as it climbs steeply out of the woods and pulls up the bare hillside beyond. At the headland it turns abruptly to the right and continues eastwards along the coast, around the outcrops at Great Burland Rocks and into the combe at Hollow Brook.

The waterfall at Hollow Brook flows over a distance of some 400 metres in a series of cascades, including two nearly vertical drops of 50 metres, dropping some 200 metres into the sea. It is thought to be the westcountry's highest coastal waterfall, and one of the highest in Britain. Although coastal waterfalls are common in Exmoor and North Devon, however, there are very few elsewhere in Europe, other than in Norway. 

Hollow Brook is also a place of some geological importance. It is on the boundary between the Lynton Beds and the Hangman Sandstone Group, marking the southern shoreline of the Old Red Sandstone continent which lay to the north some 360-400 million years ago. This makes it a key site for demonstrating the transition, during the Lower/Middle Devonian period, from a shallow water marine environment to a littoral (beach) one. 

  1. The path carries on around the cliffs and starts to climb between the outcrops and into the ancient oak woods. Stay with it as it curves around and starts to drop gently into West Woody Bay Wood.
  2. Leave the Coast Path above Martinhoe Manor and take the right-hand fork onto the track which climbs slowly back up towards the lane above.
  3. When you come to the path pulling steeply uphill to your right, towards Martinhoe, turn onto it and make your way up through the heathland and onto the path running along the top.
  4. Turn right onto this path and follow it as it doubles back the way you came, but at the top of the cliffs, back around the curve of Hollow Brook, through some woodland and then once more out onto the green Roman carriageway which winds dramatically around the headlands.

Note the remains of the stone wall along the seaward side of the path, presumably from the Romans' time here, and the occasional hollow in the hillside to your left where the stone was quarried to build it.

  1. High above Great Burland Rocks and a little way beyond, you will come to a tiny path to your left, winding up the grassy hillside above you to the Roman fortlet at The Beacon.

There is little evidence of any substantial Roman presence in South West England. Although roads were an essential part of their occupation, the only one identified as possibly being Roman leads from Barnstaple into mid-Devon. There have been small finds of items like coins on Exmoor, however, and traces of Roman mining and smelting of iron ore, as well as a fort at Dulverton, on the south-eastern edge of the moor.

Nonetheless, the Silure tribe across the Bristol Channel, in South Wales, were enough of a threat for the Romans to need a lookout station on this coast, somewhere with a good vantage point out across the water. 

They built it first at Old Burrow near County Gate (see the Old Burrow Roman Walk). Between 65 and 80 soldiers were stationed there in AD 50; but although they were well-fed, with an elaborate field oven built into the ramparts, accommodation was merely in tents, and the site was soon found to be too exposed; so a second was built here a few years later. 

Lesson learnt, they built two L-shaped timber barrack blocks here, each containing eight cubicles, with one having another three added later. There were a number of clay and timber field ovens, and a second building, which was rectangular and had two rooms, one of had a forge and is thought to have been a smithy or an armoury. Altogether, the site was big enough to house a century (80 men, oddly enough, not a hundred!). 

Clearly this site, too, was rather exposed; because despite the timber buildings, one winter some of the unfortunate Italian soldiers stationed here froze to death.

  1. Returning to the carriage track, stay with it as it winds around the headland, high above the sea, turning twice to your left and dropping gently downhill to the combe at Hill Brook. From here it dog-legs to your right and curls around into the woods, descending all the while, finally fetching up again outside Hunter's Inn.

Public transport

TW Coaches routes 309 and 310 travel several times a day on the A39 between Barnstaple and Lynmouth, but the nearest bus stop is at Woody Bay Station, some distance from this walk. For timetable information, zoom in on the interactive map and click on the bus stops, visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33.


Hunter's Inn


Walk Finder


Postcode, placename or click the icon to use current location

Click/hold and drag the map to set the centre point of your search location under the red crosshair

from this location


Length (miles)



Find somewhere to Eat & Drink, Sleep or Do


Postcode, placename or click the icon to use current location

Click/hold and drag the map to set the centre point of your search location under the red crosshair

from this location

Interactive Map


Latest news