Enjoy the newly extended Coleridge Way, named after the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It covers 51 miles of great walking from Nether Stowey in Somerset, over the Quantock Hills and Exmoor National Park to Lynmouth in North Devon. Discover the rich landscape which inspired Coleridge to pen some of his most prolific works. Wander through a tapestry of undulating heathland and moorland, through woodlands and picturesque villages, over farmland and deeply wooded valleys whilst enjoying expansive views over to the North Somerset Coast and Wales. The Coleridge Way can be comfortably completed in between 4 to 6 days, or even 3 days for those pressed for time (see our itineraries). Although the route below is described from East to West, the route guides are written in both directions so the choice is yours - Nether Stowey to Lynmouth or Lynmouth to Nether Stowey!
The Coleridge Way starts from the little cottage in Lime Street where the poet once lived and takes you through the conservation area of the village. On the outskirt of the village sits the remains of an 11th century Motte & Bailey castle with tremendous view of the village and surrounding area, reaching as far as the Welsh coast. Legend has it that a giant lived in a cavern below the mount. The Path climbs steadily through woodlands before dropping down to Holford.
In Coleridge's time, Holford had a thriving silk industry. The poet Wordsworth, a close friend of Coleridge at the time, stayed here. Today, it is a pretty village with thatched cottages and the remains of a Huguenot silk factory. From Holford the Path generally undulates to Bicknoller, with a few short sharp descents and climbs in and out of small combes. It skirts the northern edge of the Quantock Hills over heathlands and undulating farmland, and through deep-wooded combes.
The village was re-located to its current location in the 18th and 19th century by its landlords to improve their outlook and privacy. The church, the old school buildings and the village hall are now all that remain of the buildings in the village's original location.
Bicknoller is a lovely village with some beautiful thatched houses. The gem though must be Halsway Manor, with the main building dating from the 12th century. Explore the churchyard of St George with its 1,000 year old yew, under which are the old village stocks. Above the village lies an iron-age settlement, the Trendle Ring. From the village, it is generally level walking across fields to Monksilver, at one stage crossing over the West Somerset Steam Railway.
Monksilver is another pretty little village, where little has changed through the years. The Path enters Exmoor National Park and the Brendon hills here, much of the first mile of which is through woodlands. The Path opens temporarily to wonderful views across the Bristol Channel to Wales before descending into more woodlands to eventually emerge above the Roadwater Valley onto the village of Roadwater (18.7 miles). The Path starts with a long climb from Roadwater. It passes firstly through Langridge Woods, then farmland, which offers tremendous views across to the Quantocks and Bristol Channel, before descending to Luxborough.
Luxborough is a beautiful little village, comprising of the hamlets of Churchtown, Kingsbridge and Pooltown; the River Washford adds to the picturesque setting. The Path climbs again after Luxborough through more farmland; looking back, there are again more tremendous views to be enjoyed, along the route. After Lype Hill, the highest point on the route, it gently descends to Wheddon Cross.
Wheddon Cross is a good stopping point with food, accommodation and a range of amenities on offer. For a few weeks in the Winter, when Snowdrops are in full bloom, visitors flood here to admire the "carpet of white". The descent continues after Wheddon Cross through woodlands to the river valley, before a steep climb onto the open moorland of Dunkery - not to be attempted when visibility is poor! - to enjoy some far-reaching views. Scattered around the woods of Webbers Post are some tremendous wooden sculptures, some of which are being slowly eaten away.
The delightful village of Porlock was the original end of Coleridge Way, before the route was extended in 2014. It boasts a mile long shingle ridge, an inland salt marsh, the remains of a submerged forest and quaint, thatched cottages. In the Visitors Centre are some of the bones of an auroch that were uncovered by the sea a few years ago in the remains of the prehistoric forest off Porlock Weir. From Porlock, the route climbs through Worthy Woods above Porlock Weir to reach the Worthy Toll Road at Yearnor Mill Bridge. The route passes Ash Farm where supposedly, the flow of Coleridge's composition of 'Kubla Khan' was famously interrupted by 'The Person from Porlock'. For a while, the route offers tremendous views out to the sea before descending into the Doone Valley to reach the hamlet of Oare.
It is worth a diversion here to the church where Richard Doddridge had supposedly used as the inspiration for the wedding scene in Lorna Doone. From Oare, the route follows first Oare Water and then the bank of the East Lyn River to the bridge at Brendon, which is a good place for an overnight stop. The route continues to follow the river into the woods to reach Watersmeet, where the East Lyn River meets Hoar Oak Water. This is one of the largest areas of ancient oak woodland in south west England, offering a rich diversity of flora and fauna, including a variety of whitebeams that is unique to the area and the euphorbia hybema, or Irish splurge, which is found in only one other site in mainland Britain. If you are lucky you may see a number of breeding birds, including ravens, dippers, herons, woodpeckers, redstarts, pied flycatchers, ravens and various birds of prey. There are trout and salmon in the river, and sometimes an otter can be seen on the bank. Look out for deer, too. The route continues from here along the spectacular gorge through the woodland to descend to Lynmouth, and the end of the trail.
Lynmouth is now officially the end of the Coleridge Way but you can extend your excursion by following the zig-zag path up to Lynton (or take the cliff railway, an easier and more enjoyable option, which offers fantastic views of the bay and surrounding cliffs!). From there, continue on the South West Coast Path along North Walk and onto the woodland around Hollerday Hill to the shelter at Poet's Corner in the Valley of the Rocks. In our opinion this three mile round trip from Lynmouth is a worthy end to your Coleridge Way Walking Holiday.
The nearest train stations to Nether Stowey are:
The nearest train station to Lynmouth is Barnstaple (21 miles or 40 minute car journey, traffic permitting).
The National Rail Map provides a map of the rail network for you to plan your journey.
To get to and from the route from the train station, you can use a taxi, which we will be happy to organise for you, or travel by bus.
The nearest National Express long distance coach stops are listed below.
From Nether Stowey: Bridgewater (8 miles), Williton (9.5 miles), Taunton (11.2 miles)
From Lynmouth: Ilfracombe (12 miles), Minehead (15 miles), Barnstaple (20 miles)
National Express has a route network with over 1,000 UK destinations. The best value tickets will be secured with advance booking.
Nether Stowey - Daily bus services to and from Bridgwater, approximately every 2 hours, taking just over 30 minutes, traffic permitting. No service on Sundays and public holidays.
Lynmouth - Several bus services to and from Barnstaple each day, Monday to Saturday, taking just over an hour, traffic permitting. No service on Sundays and public holidays. Note that the bus generally departs from Lynton, which is the sister village to Lynmouth and sits at the top of the valley, above Lynmouth. A funicular service connects the two villages.
Nether Stowey is easily accessible being just off the A39 around 15km west of Bridgwater and less than 20km from junctions 23 and 24 of the M5 motorway.
We may be able to arrange car parking at your accommodation in Nether Stowey for the duration of your walking holiday. This will be subject to availability and may incur a small extra charge. Alternatively there is a public car park in the village that is currently free of charge and there is also free street side parking available.
It is possible to return to Nether Stowey from Lynton or Porlock by the accessible transport service Moor Rover, who will require you to pre-book your journey. We will also be happy to get quotes and book a return journey by taxi for you if you prefer.
We are not offering Coleridge Way walking holidays in 2020.
Basic navigational and map reading skills are recommended.
The route is waymarked with a quill, with the exception of the stretch over Dunkery Moor, where it is important to take extra care, particularly in bad weather or poor visibility.
It is possible to walk the Coleridge Way all year round, but accommodation options may be limited between November and February.
We specialise in providing walking holidays in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Pembrokeshire and Somerset. We are enthusiastic about outdoor pursuits and have experienced climbing, canoeing, skiing, caving and potholing and windsurfing as well as walking throughout the UK, France, Spain, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand.
We use our experience to provide self-guided, pack-free walking holidays, tailored to the requirements and abilities of our clients.