Our Exmoor self-guided walking holiday explores some of the highlights that Exmoor offers. Starting from the delightful village of Porlock, this 29 mile (47.0 km) combines stretches of the Macmillan Way West, the Two Moors Way, the Exe Valley Way and the Coleridge Way to create a superb Exmoor circuit. The route explores Exmoor, offering superb views across the Bristol Channel towards Wales and with luck you will see red deer and the famous wild Exmoor ponies that roam the National Park; it takes a unique breed to be able to survive on this barren and lonely land. Pretty, chocolate box villages along the route offer a welcome rest and refreshment to the tired walker.
Porlock is a traditional Exmoor Village with a long history of settlements existing on or near the site of the existing village, with stone-age remains only a short distance away. The poets Wordsworth and Coleridge found Porlock very much to their liking and indeed Coleridge was interrupted by "a man from Porlock" whilst writing "Kubla Khan"; the consequence of which was that he lost his inspiration and never completed it. You may be inspired by the poets to explore the Coleridge Way, which passes through Porlock on its way from Nether Stowey to Lynmouth. Our route starts from Porlock Church and heads south to leave the village some climbing up through woodland before passing close to Halscombe House, before descending to cross the stream running through Hawkcombe Woods. Climbing up out of the woods the route soon reaches the edge of the moor at the head of Blackford Combe. The route crosses Lucott Moor and joins with the Macmillan Way West near Alderman's Barrow, which it follows in a westerly direction to eventully reach Great Ashcombe. Here we leave the Macmillan Way West to descend through Ashcombe Bottom to reach the overnight stop at Simonsbath.
Simonsbath is one of the remotest villages in the Exmoor National Park. The houses are scattered over a wide area, rather than around the church, as is often the case with villages. Today's route heads south following the Two Moors Way alongside the River Barle, passing the remains of Wheal Eliza and skirting the ancient Cow Castle Settlement. You may catch sight of Landacre Bridge in the valley to the right before the route crosses Landacre Lane and follows Kitridge Lane as it descends to Withypool.
Withypool is one of the prettiest villages along the route. It is unspoilt by modern development with its colourful cottages and riverside setting. A six arch stone bridge spans the River Barle. A tea shop, adjacent a quaint Olden World petrol pumps, provides welcome refreshment for hungry walkers. Leaving Withypool, the route now follows the Exe Valley Way over Room Hill to join the River Exe at North Court before heading into Exford for your overnight stay.
Exford is a delightful little village; like Withypool, completely unspoilt. Famous for its hunting, shooting, fishing and riding, it a polpular tourist destination, as evidenced by the pubs and tea shops! The route for the final day climbs north from Exford along Combe Lane and joins the Macmillan Way West close to Porlock Post. The route turns east here to cross the moor to reach Dunkery Beacon, the highest point on Exmoor at 519m. Leaving the beacon behind, The route descends across the moor to join a road which descend steeply to Webbers Post. Here the route joins the Coleridge Way. Look out for the wooden sculptures scattered around the woods of Webbers Post, some of which are being slowly eaten away. The route joins a country lane at Horner and then crosses the packhorse bridge to skirt around the base of Crawter Hill before descending through Higher Doverhay and return to Porlock at the end of three days excellent walking.
The nearest railway stations to the route are listed below.
Bridgwater Porlock 31.0 miles/50.0 km
Barnstaple: Porlock 32.0 miles/52.0 km
The National Rail Map provides a map of the rail network for you to plan your journey.
The nearest National Express long distance coach stops are listed below.
Minehead: Porlock 5.0 miles/8.0 km
Barnstaple: Porlock 32.0 miles/52.0 km
National Express has a route network with over 1,000 UK destinations. The best value tickets will be secured with advance booking.
There is a limited bus network along the route due to the remoteness of some of the areas, but the Moor Rover offers a pre-booked service across Exmoor National Park.
Porlock is also accessible by car, being just on the A39 around 50 km west of Bridgwater.
We may be able to arrange car parking at your first nights accommodation for the duration of your walking holiday. This will be subject to availability and may incur a small extra charge.
We are not offering Exmoor walking holidays in 2020.
Part of the route is waymarked, although good navigational and map reading skills will be required over the moorland stretches
March to October.
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.