Walking on Exmoor
With over 600 miles of rights-of-way, walkers on Exmoor are spoilt for choice. Walk across wild open moorland, stroll along hidden valleys, hike high hills, forage in ancient forests or meander alongside burbling streams and rushing rivers. Perhaps explore Lorna Doone country or the Coleridge Way or enjoy the spectacular coastal vistas along the South West Coast Path.
Come any time of year: Visit Moor than Once
Exmoor is beautiful in all seasons and weathers - a land of light and mystery! Since it's a living and varied landscape, each season has a different ambience and spectrum of views and colours. Exmoor National Park maintains its 600 or so miles of rights-of-way in excellent order, with coloured squares or arrows for waymarking. Paths are never crowded; there is plenty of space for peace and quiet, and freedom from noise, pollution, crowds and traffic.
By exploring on foot you really enter into Exmoor and experience a different world - reminiscent of bygone eras, switch off, relax and have time to notice its wildlife and flowers, and each other.
Short and Day Walks on Exmoor: Escape the Everyday, any day
You don't have to be an ardent walker to enjoy Exmoor, and you certainly don't have to walk far to enjoy some of the best views the area has to offer. There are lots of well-signposted trails and literally hundreds of routes to choose from. Whether you're looking for a village stroll, a coastal walk or to wander the moors Exmoor has something for you.
OUR FAVOURITE SHORT WALKS TO GET YOU STARTED
The Tall Trees Trail at Nutcombe Bottom is great for all abilities and is wheelchair and pushchair accessible too. With interactive interpretation along the way it is a great introduction for younger walkers and gives you an opportunity to discover England's tallest tree!
The popular beauty spot of Tarr Steps sports a great 2-mile waymarked circular walk along the River Barle, through a National Nature Reserve with some of the finest riverside woodlands you will ever find.
Dunkery Beacon may be the highest point in all of Somerset and Exmoor but it is easily accessible and can be walked by most abilities with ease.
The Valley of Rocks is easily accessible allowing you to get up close and personal to the drama of one of Exmoor's most popular spots.
Wistlandpound Reservoir offers an easy disabled-access 2-mile route around the picturesque lake.
Long Distance Walking on Exmoor
If you really want to escape the routine of everyday life little will beat a multi-day walk. A sense of challenge, the experience of a journey and some of the most varied and stunning scenery around are the perfect ingredients. You can, of course, plan your own route through Exmoor but there are a number of waymarked promoted routes that cross the area giving you an experience to last a lifetime.
TOP 5 LONG DISTANCE TRAILS ON EXMOOR
SOUTH WEST COAST PATH
It's the country's longest path and it starts by traversing the rugged coastline of Exmoor! The total length is 630 miles from Minehead to Poole Harbour via Lands End. Many people cite the first section across Exmoor as one of the highlights and this can usually be completed in 3 days from Minehead to Combe Martin. Find out more here.
THE COLERIDGE WAY
Walk in the footsteps of the Romantic Poets. At 51 miles this is a great introduction long distance walking and links the Quantock Hills with Exmoor National Park following the paths that the likes of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley and Byron followed while writing some of their most influential works. The route starts at Nether Stowey where Coleridge once lived, passing through the Quantock and Brendon hills before traversing the high moorland of Exmoor. The route then drops down to picturesque Porlock before heading inland via the wild Doone Valley before finishing on the coast at the pretty harbour of Lynmouth. There is an optional short extension to Poets Corner high above in the Valley of Rocks. Get the full detail on the Coleridge way Website.
THE TWO MOORS WAY
Passing through not one but two National Parks the 100 mile Two Moors Way links Dartmoor and Exmoor. Starting at Ivybridge on the southern edge of Dartmoor the trail finishes at Lynmouth on the north coast of Devon, passing through the peaceful and rural countryside of Mid Devon in between. Find out more on the Two Moors Way website.
THE TARKA TRAIL
A figure of eight route - allowing you to tackle this 180-mile route in two stages from the same point! The waymarked trail follows the route taken by Tarka the Otter, written by Henry Williamson passing through numerous towns including Barnstaple, Bideford, Torrington, Okehampton, Lynmouth and Ilfracombe. Plan your walk here.
THE EXE VALLEY WAY
From source to mouth the Exe Valley Way broadly follows the route of the River Exe from the heights of Exmoor to its estuary. At 45 miles long the trail passes through a range of small villages and market towns as well as the city of Exeter. Get full details here.
Staff at National Park and local Visitor Centres will be pleased to help you plan a route and you can find a range of suggested walks online. Alternatively, grab the Ordinance survey OL9 Leisure Map for Exmoor and plan your own routes.
There are numerous walks from easy access trails to more challenging walks available on the National Park Website and you can purchase local books and walking guides at information centres.
NEED HELP IN AN EMERGENCY
However prepared you are for your long distance walk, the unexpected can happen to the best of us. For information on what to do in an emergency go to http://www.exmoor-srt.org.uk/index.php/advice.
WALKERS ARE WELCOME
Exmoor is proud to have 6 towns that have been awarded the Walkers are Welcome accreditation. These are:
Ilfracombe (on the western edge of Exmoor), for South West Coast Path, Tarka Trail
Lynton & Lynmouth, for South West Coast Path, Coleridge Way, Two Moors Way
Porlock, for South West Coast Path, Coleridge Way
Dunster, for West Somerset Coast Path, Coleridge Way
Nether and Over Stowey, for West Somerset Coast Path, Coleridge Way
Wiveliscombe (on the eastern edge of Exmoor) for Brendon Hills and Wivey Way
These towns have all demonstrated that they have information on local walks, accommodation that welcomes walkers and actively ensures footpaths are maintained to a high standard. For more information go to their own websites via the links above or to the Walkers are Welcome website.