Aspects of Exmoor

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We would suggest that these notes are read in conjunction with
the Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure 9 Exmoor 1:25000 map.

Walk L1: Lynmouth-Watersmeet-Ash Bridge-Countisbury

Notes: This is one of the webmaster's favourite walks, combining a wooded river valley with open moorland and fine coastal scenery. One for a fine day and don't forget your camera!

Distance: 5 miles.

Time: 2-2¼ hours.

Start point: Lynmouth (GR SS495723). There are various car parks around the town and there are parking spaces at the top end of Tors Road which is on the left hand side just before the river bridge when coming down Coutnisbury Hill from the Porlock direction.

Directions: From the A39 bridge at the top of the main street, walk through the car park on the landward side of the road, keeping to the left and cross the footbridge over the river; turn right along Tors Road to the end when the tarmac road becomes a track.

Continue along the left bank of the East Lyn. The track initially runs just above the river and then enters into a wooded area passing a closed section of path. At the top of a short climb, take the right fork which drops down to a substantial wooden bridge (Black Pool Bridge) crossing to the south side of the river. Follow the riverside path passing Lyn Rock Bridge and the site of the old mineral water works (wrecked in the 1952 floods). This section of the river is fast flowing with narrow rocky sections. After Myrtleberry House, lying between you and the river there is a wide, quieter stretch of river and then you come to Chiselcombe Bridge, a high stone bridge, built after the floods to replace a wooden one swept away a little further upstream.

Remain on the right hand side of the river and cross further up, using the two wooden bridges which span Hoaroak Water and the East Lyn respectively and lead past the National Trust shop and tearoom at Watersmeet House.

Go past the house and remain on the left bank of the East Lyn. The path varies in its height to begin with but then comes down near the water and follows the river along a calm section, past Crook Pool to just before Ash Bridge, a pleasant timber structure, where a path turns off to the left, signposted Countisbury. This path climbs fairly steeply through woods and then, where the main path swings sharply to the left to climb some wooden steps, go through a small wooden gate on the right.

The next 350 yards follows a narrow path which is sometimes rather overgrown in the summer but ultimately emerges onto a wider track. Turn left and follow this track as it begins to climb out of the valley and round the side of Holden Head. The climb is fairly steep but the scenery begins to open up with fine views of the river valleys and of Wilsham Farm on the hill behind you. after half a mile, you reach a gate opening onto the A39 road. Take care. There is fast moving traffic on this road.

Turn right and after 50 yards, cross over and go into Barna Barrow car park. At the far end, follow the path round to the left as it skirts the fields on your left. At the end of these field, the track reaches a T-junction with the track coming off Butter Hill at a spot where there is a fine view of Lynmouth Bay. Turn left and follow the track round to the right in front of the church. This path carries the acorn waymarks of the Coast Path.

Follow the path as it begins to descend Countisbury Hill into Lynmouth running just below the main A39. Near the bottom of the hill, the path runs alongside the road for a short distance before turning off to zig-zag down to the end of the beach. Turn left and pick up the tarmac path behind the beach past the miniature golf and the swings. At the end bear right round the hotel to cross the footbridge back onto the main street and your starting point.

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Information © Geoff Bannister 2004-2008