Walk - Valley of Rocks Woodland Walk

6.3 miles (10.2 km)

Valley of Rocks Car Park - EX35 6JH Valley of Rocks Car Park

Challenging - Paths, tracks and a quiet road, with some steep ascent and descent, and some exposure

Spectacular rocks, woodland walks, tree-clad headlands with a secluded bay and a Victorian folly, and heathland high above the Valley of Rocks, with wonderful views over a dramatic landscape. In spring the woods are bright with wildflowers and birds call from gorse bushes blazing with blossom, while in autumn the colourful woodland is alive with small birds and mammals feasting on the nuts and seeds, and the fungi.

Checked by SWCPA Volunteers David and Jane Rattue - November 2019

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.

Exmoor Coast Holidays

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

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.

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

Bath Hotel

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

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

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

Heddon Orchard Bothy

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

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. Start the walk at the little car park on the left (just past the cattle grid and next to the toilets!)as you enter the Valley of Rocks. Pick up the lower tarmac path on the other side of the road (not the one leading away uphill), and follow it to the cliffs high above the sea.
  2. Turn left onto the Coast Path, and wind with it around all the spectacular rock formations, until you come to the very appropriately-named Castle Rock. Take a detour here for breathtaking views – or save your energy for later, when your climb up South Cleave will give you another chance to savour this amazing landscape.

Other rock formations here include Ragged Jack, the White Lady, and the Devil's Cheesewring, where a group of druids was caught by the devil dancing on a Sunday, and they were all turned to stone (see the Lynton and the Valley of Rocks Walk). According to RD Blackmore in his novel Lorna Doone, beneath the Cheesewring was Mother Meldrum's Kitchen, a witch's cave, although no such cave exists today.

  1. Reaching the road below Castle Rock, turn right, around the roundabout, and stay with the road past Lee Abbey, and beyond it, to the cove at Lee Bay. Ignoring the path down to the cove, as well as the one up into the woods, stay with the road as it turns abruptly right and starts to climb.
  2. Pick up the footpath to your right shortly afterwards, which will take you off the road and through the trees for a little way. When the path splits, a little way beyond, take the right-hand turn, to follow the coast out around Crock Point, curving back via Crock Pits to return to the road in Croscombe Wood.

Looking back at the hillside beyond the little cove, you will see Duty Point Tower, a Victorian folly said to have been used by Customs men to watch out for smugglers. It is apparently the Lonely Tower which features in Samuel Palmer's painting of the same name, Palmer having visited the area in 1835, when Lynmouth's popularity as a tourist resort was beginning to take hold.

  1. Turn left onto the road, and follow it back a little way through Croscombe Wood until you come to a bridleway on the right, heading into Bonhill Wood.
  2. Turn right onto the bridleway and follow it into Bonhill Wood. This climbs up through the wood, to bring you to a track which heads south-west, along the banks of the tumbling stream, some way below. Turn right onto this track and stay on it until you come to Bonhill Bridge, about half a mile away.
  3. Shortly after crossing Bonhill Bridge leave the bridleway on a track to the left. Cross a stile and, immediately after a derelict building, climb steeply up rocks to the right and then continue on a footpath to cross a footbridge and up steps. Head back downstream again, on the footpath which leads gently downhill through Caffyns Heanton Wood.
  4. When the path forks, take the upper path, curving around into the combe. Keep on the main track eventually crossing the stream by means of a little bridge and then turn left heading slightly downhill again.
  5. Your path joins the bridleway through Six Acre Wood as the bridleway doubles back on itself. Take the upper fork, to the right, and pull gently uphill with it as it travels through the woods above Lee Abbey.
  6. When the bridleway doubles back on itself again, just as you are coming out of the woods, leave it, and take the path leading straight ahead, onto the open hillside. Zigzag up the hillside to the heathland high above the Valley of Rocks, and follow the path along the top of the hill.

In the valley below are various remnants of prehistoric habitation, including the stone walls of a Celtic type field system, circular relics that may have been settlements or stock pounds, and fragments of hut circles (see the South Cleave - Valley of Rocks Walk).

In the valley, too, you can often see some of the feral goats which have also inhabited the area, on and off, since prehistoric times. Over the centuries they have been killed off by the cold, or else culled or moved elsewhere in response to their nuisance value to local farmers and gardeners, but the current herd of Cheviots was introduced from Northumberland in 1976.

  1. The path starts to descend above the car park where the walk started, turning sharply left and then dropping down to meet another track above the cemetery. Turn left onto this new track and follow it down to the road at the start of the walk.

Public transport

There are no buses to Valley of the Rocks, but why not take the cliff railway up the hill to Lynton and take the Coast Path to the right, around the cliffs, to start the walk at point 2.

There are however regular buses to both Lynmouth and Lynton. For timetable info zoom in on the interactive map and click on the bus stops, visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33.


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