Walk - Lynton and Lynmouth Hike

10.0 miles (16.1 km)

Countisbury Church - EX35 6NE Countisbury Church

Challenging - Paths, tracks and quiet roads, with a lot of ascent and descent, some of it steep, and some exposure

A challenging route exploring everything that Lynmouth has to offer, including breathtaking coastal views, inspirational rock formations, Iron Age hillforts and Danish invaders, and riverside walks between thickly-wooded hillsides teeming with wildlife.

Checked by SWCPA Volunteer Joanne Fawcett - May 2018

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 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

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.

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.

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.

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

Exmoor Coast Holidays

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

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.

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

Heddon Orchard Bothy

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

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. Picking up the Coast Path just a short way to the north of the church at Countisbury, turn with it as it runs downhill towards Lynmouth between the sea and the road, ignoring the small paths to either side along the way, until you reach the seafront.

On the left-hand side as you head down Countisbury Hill, note the little wooden marker pointing out the remains of the giant ramparts of the Iron Age hillfort climbing impressively up over Wind Hill, across the road. It is also said to be the location for a major battle in AD 878, when a Saxon army led by Odda defeated a party of Viking invaders led by Hubba the Dane (see the Wester Wood Walk). 

Also nearby are the remains of a much later conflict: the platform of a gun emplacement, and an associated shed, thought to be an ammunition store.

  1. From the seafront at Lynmouth, make your way along the Coast Path to the cliff railway.

The water-powered railway, opened in 1890 at a cost of £8000, was part of an extensive scheme to open Lynmouth and Lynton up to the many commercial possibilities being enjoyed by the neighbouring resorts of Minehead and Ilfracombe by virtue of their position on the busy Bristol Channel. The scheme included a pier, and a narrow gauge railway link to Barnstaple, and was masterminded by a local businessman in cahoots with a London lawyer, and financed by two wealthy incomers whose families became entrenched in a bitter feud (see the Glenthorne, Hollerday Hill and South Cleave Walks).

  1. At this point ignoring the Coast Path as it meanders uphill over the railway, instead carry on along the harbour road around the coast as far as you can go, and stay with the path as it doubles back on itself. It will keep zigzagging up through the woods, until finally you come back to the Coast Path.
  2. On the Coast Path, turn right and follow it high above the sea for a little over a mile, ignoring the path leading away uphill and inland, to your left, a little beyond the halfway point. Shortly after the disused quarry the path curves to your left, around a craggy hillside with breathtaking rock formations looming above you, and then drops down beneath Castle Rocks, to fetch up at the roundabout beyond. Take a detour up Castle Rock for some spectacular coastal views.

The rock formations enjoy names like the White Lady, Ragged Jack, and the Devil's Cheesewring. The latter is said to be a group of druids, turned to stone by the devil when he found them dancing naked on a Sunday; and beneath it, according to RD Blackmore in his novel Lorna Doone was Mother Meldrum's Kitchen, a cave which nonetheless doesn't exist outside the pages of the book (see the Lorna Doone Walk).

  1. Following the path down to the roundabout, turn right (southwestwards) onto the road, and follow it down to Lee Abbey.

Although it is now run as a Christian conference centre, Lee Abbey has never been used by a monastic community, but was built in by Charles Bailey, who purchased estate, recorded in the Domesday Book as Ley Manor, in 1841 and built himself a new manor house designed to look like an abbey.

  1. Pick up the bridleway to the left which climbs gently into the woods, to the junction of paths a little way beyond.
  2. Turn sharply left, doubling back on yourself uphill. Ignore the tiny path away to your right, and carry on until the bridleway doubles back on itself again.
  3. Don't turn with the bridleway this time, but leave it, to take the small path continuing ahead of you, up onto the heathland high above the Valley of Rocks. Zigzag with it as it climbs, and follow it along the ridge and down the other side, finally reaching the road at the far end of the path, ignoring the path that branches off to the car park on your left as you descend.

Down in the valley are various remnants of prehistoric settlements, including Celtic field systems and possibly Bronze Age hut circles (see the South Cleave Walk).

  1. Turn left onto the road, and follow it around a sharp left-hand bend moments later, and then fork right with it as it heads eastwards towards Lynbridge.
  2. Pick up the footpath on your left and follow it around the curve of the road.
  3. Turn right onto the lane beyond and travel southwards down it to where it joins the B3234 at Lynbridge.
  4. Cross the road, and the bridge beyond, and turn left onto the footpath which runs alongside the river. Stay with this path as it climbs high above the river, ignoring the small path running downhill to Glen Lyn Gorge on your left, and the one heading south, to your right, once you've reached the top, as well as the one branching off to the left at the same place.
  5. When your path hits the Two Moors Way/Tarka Trail path, turn right onto it, ignoring the track heading down towards West Lyn when you reach the top. Your path plunges abruptly through a wooded cleave, climbing steeply again through Myrtleberry Cleave. Once more ignoring the small paths to right and then left, stay with the Two Moors Way/Tarka Trail as it curves around the side of the hill, into woodland, and drops gently to the A39 below.

Above Myrtleberry Cleave is another Iron Age hillfort, a waymarker pointing to its well-preserved circular ramparts.

  1. Turn left onto the road and go south with it a few yards to the junction at Woodford Bridge. Leave the A39 here as it doubles back on itself, and cross the road beyond, and the bridge, to pick up the path running alongside the river on the eastern side of the A39. Stay with this path as it turns sharply eastwards about three quarters of a mile later.
  2. Cross the river to Watersmeet House, and follow the new river a short way eastwards to pick up the path heading uphill through the woods on your left. Follow the footpath up through the fields, to emerge on the road at Countisbury.
  3. Cross the road and pick up the path to the church to return to the start of the walk.

Public transport

TW Coaches routes 309 and 310 travel several times a day between Barnstaple and Lynmouth, stopping in the Coach Park in Tors Road. 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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