County Gate

Exmoor Holiday Winners - Coast magazine

It’s always nice to get good feedback. Kevin and Janette recently wrote to us to say ‘Thank you’ after they won a holiday break in Lynton from ‘Coast’ magazine. Here’s Kevin’s feedback: baby alpaca

We spent 3 nights at ‘Longmead House’ ( where we found the accommodation to be excellent, and the hosts Alan, Caroline and Janie made us feel welcome. We were greeted with a nice pot of tea and a slice of homemade banana cake. The room was clean, cosy and comfortable. After a quick stroll in Lynton/Lynmouth we enjoyed a lovely home- cooked evening meal in the company of some other guests at Longmead House (Alan is an excellent cook/chef).

The next day began with a hearty ‘Full English’ breakfast (all ingredients being sourced locally), before going to the Alta Lyn Alpaca Farm ( where we were met by the owner Anne Coombs. We were able to feed and photograph the alpacas at close range; of course keeping a safe distance from the ones that were spitting at each other! We were then introduced to the veritable art of spinning the alpaca wool. This was good fun, but I think that we would have needed much more than an hour to learn the art, probably a couple of weeks! After our lesson, we met Phil, from The Natural Dye Studio next door, who explained to us the art of natural wool dyeing. This was extremely interesting and we thank Phil for making it sound so easy! We would definitely recommend this experience to visitors to the area, especially families with children. Later that day we had a text from Anne to say that one of the alpacas, Rosie, had given birth to a baby boy! I am hoping that maybe the ‘cria’ could be called Kevin? Now that would be funny!Spinning lessons

After returning to Lynton, we parked the car at Longmead House, and walked the short distance to ‘The Valley of Rocks’ where we spent a pleasurable couple of hours walking the footpath back to Lynmouth. Along the way we saw the goats on the cliff face – how do they do that? There are some great walks to do in the area and we would encourage visitors to do this one. The scenery and the views were fantastic.

The following day, we ventured off to Withypool, where we met Nigel Penfold from North Devon Hawk Walks ( We drove a short distance up onto the moors where we donned our waterproofs and wellies and were then introduced to ‘Cassius’ and ‘Lady Macbeth’, two Harris Hawks. Although the weather was poor (raining on and off), we had a thoroughly enjoyable ‘experience’ with Nigel and the birds. Nigel was an excellent guide, and we were able to fly the birds to hand (wearing protective gloves), feeding them to keep them encouraged. This was an unbelievable experience, something that neither Jan nor I had done before.

Despite the rain showers, we did manage to take some shots of the birds in flight and on the glove - both the birds and the guide were brilliant. Once again, this was something I don’t think that we would ever have booked ourselves, but we really enjoyed the few hours that were out there and would recommend to all to experience. After changing back into our dry clothes we went back to the Tea Rooms at Withypool, where the staff were very friendly, and the tea was piping hot.
Flying hawks
After a visit to ‘Tarr Steps’ and the delightful Exmoor village of Dulverton we returned to Lynton for our final meal of the day at the wonderful ‘Lynton Cottage restaurant’ ( What a view and what a meal! Our thanks go to the owners for giving us the opportunity to savour the wonderful delights!

I can assure you that we will be back!

Kevin & Janette



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