One of those Exmoor outings that has the lot.
Distance: 24km (15 miles)
Slippery singletrack, rocky horror shows, huge sea views and some delightful wooded combes; this is one of those Exmoor outings that has the lot.
It starts brutally, with a blacktop climb that will torture even the fittest legs and lungs. But after that, the ups and the downs are shorter and easier graded, and the fun factor is switched up to the max.
Favourite sections include the super-stony dash down to Rockford early on, and then another to Lyn Bridge at halfway. But there’s plenty of other good stuff to keep you on your toes too.
Start in the centre of Lynmouth (OS181/SS724494) as the lowest point. This will be easiest reached via the A39 from Bridgewater.
Best time to go
Most of the trails are clear and firm and will ‘go’ at any time. It’s an incredibly popular walking/tourist area, so decorum is definitely called for, especially at peak holiday times.
Memory Map V5 OS Landranger (1:50,000)
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The Rockford Inn is great, but a bit early. Or there’s Mother Meldrums Tea Garden in the Valley of the Rocks.
There are pubs, cafes and chippies all within a few minutes of the car park.
Plenty of B&Bs and hotels locally and in Lynton.
Great B&B in the Rockford Inn, 01598 741214, therockfordinn.co.uk
Bunkhouse in the Pinkery Centre, Simonsbath, 01643 831437.
Youth Hostel at Exford, 01643 831229, yha.org.uk
Lynton & Lynmouth TIC, 01598 752225.
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START (OS181/SS724494) Lynmouth
Turn R onto the road, cross the bridge and climb steeply up Countisbury Hill. Pass the pub and church, then, just before a cattle grid and almost opposite a car park on the L, turn R, onto a BW. Descend steeply then drop in and out of two streams before climbing to a junction. Turn L (BW signs) and keep high at the buildings to follow a track to Wilsham. Keep SA onto a track.
(SS756484) Wilsham. Distance so far: 4.5km
Follow this to a gate on the R. Go through and follow a track around the top of the field and into the wood. Continue to a sharp L bend and drop steeply (singletrack on the R) all the way down to the river. Turn L (footpath so walk) to cross the bridge. Turn R onto the road and climb to a BW on the R. Take this and fork immediately L to follow BW signs past Watersmeet and up to the road.
(SS740478) Hillsford Bridge. Distance so far: 8.8km
Turn R over the bridge, then L (Bridge Ball, Cheriton), then fork R over a cattle grid, into Combe Park. Look for a BW sign diverting you R, and climb then drop to the road. Turn R and go around the R to the A39. Go SA to a X-roads at a hamlet, and keep SA onto a track that the drops steeply to Lyn Bridge. Cross and go up to the road, where you turn L.
(SS719485) Lynbridge. Distance so far: 12.5km
Climb steadily to the A39 again, where you turn R. Continue climbing to a sharp L bend and turn R onto a narrow lane. Follow this up past Dean Farm and around to a junction where you turn L. Continue past the campsite and at the next junction turn R. Follow this for 1.5km to a track on the R.
(SS687475) Track on Caffyns Heanton Down. Distance so far: 17.2km
Take this and descend to a yard, where you turn sharp R. Cross the bridge and fork R to follow the BW all the way down to the road. Turn R to drop then climb past Lee Abbey. Now keep SA through the Valley of the Rocks into Lynton. Stay on the main road out of the town and drop down the very steep hill to the bottom, where you turn L to return to Lynmouth.