The valley below Oare is widely known as Doone Valley, based on its association as the setting for R D Balckmore’s novel Lorna Doone. It is a wild and scenic area, well worth exploration.
Born in Oxfordshire, Blackmore was from a Parracombe family and he later returned to the area with his wife to research the novel, writing it in 1867/8. The real-life Doune brothers – a band of brigands who terrorised travellers on this remote part of Exmoor – arrived here in the seventeenth century after being driven out of Scotland by Ensor Doune's brother, the 'Bonny' Earl of Moray.
Blackmore's grandfather was Rector of Oare church, which in the novel is used as the setting for the marriage between Loran Doone and John Ridd, the hero of the story.