There are so many lovely short walks in Exmoor it is a real problem to choose a favourite. But the coast and the South West Coast Path are always top of my list. The coastal scenery along Exmoor’s high cliffs is always dramatic and inspiring. This walk is also a real favourite on the walking festival. It has a big advantage of having a place for refreshment halfway, effectively making it two, 2.5 mile walks. If you suffer from vertigo badly you might want to give this walk a miss, although there is plenty of heather to the sea side of you, although on a steep slope.
The walk starts at Woody Bay. Woody Bay is off the A39 between Blackmoor Gate and Lynton. The turning to Woody Bay is near the Lynton to Barnstaple Railway station near Parracombe. Follow this road to reach the sea ahead and turn right towards Slattenslade and Lynton. Shortly follow the road to the left and then around a hairpin bend. Park in the long roadside car park here.
There is a National Trust information board by this car park which gives you a feel of the area. Walk downhill to take the first small road going hard back to the left. Follow this down to reach the South West Coast Path at a hairpin bend in the road. Continuing ahead on the path towards Hunter’s Inn, the path climbs through woodland to reach a tall waterfall. The path is actually halfway up the fall, so it continues down to the coast below you. The path now goes out to the coast to various points giving wonderful coastal scenery and a rock arch. You can see to the Valley of Rocks to your right and Watermouth Cove and Ilfracombe’s Torrs Walk in the distance to your left.
The path hugs the coast to reach the Heddon Valley at Highveer Point. It now loses height gently as it descends into the valley. You get a good view of Heddon’s Mouth and the limekiln. If you are lucky there are sometimes seals in the water which are easier to see from this elevation. The path then reaches the path going along the valley bottom. If you turn right here it will take you alongside the river to the beach that you were overlooking earlier. Otherwise turning left will take you to Hunter’s Inn for refreshments. There is also a National Trust shop here and toilets.
Having had a break, return but instead of going down to the river, continue ahead up the track which gently gains height to be above the coast path you previously walked along. This was an old coaching road, Hunter’s Inn originally being a coaching stop. On getting back to the coast, this track levels off and a delightful, relaxing walk along this track takes you back to Woody Bay car park.
You can get my booklet on short walks in Exmoor from my website which includes this walk.
Bryan Cath, Walking Festival Co-ordinator