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 L2: Lynmouth-Watersmeet-
Ash Bridge-Rockford-Brendon

Bold letters in brackets, for example (A), refer to check points on the shorter walks mentioned at the end.

Notes: This is a pleasant walk along the picturesque wooded valley of the East Lyn.

Distance: 7½ miles. (Shorter versions 3 miles, 4 miles and 6¼ miles)

Time: 4 hours. (Shorter walks 1½, 2 and 3¼ 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 Countisbury 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. If starting from Tors Road, walk along the road to the end and join the 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 (A).

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 reach Ash Bridge, a pleasant timber structure (B). Cross the bridge and turn left. The path initially stays near the water but gradually begins to climb higher up remaining parallel to the river. There are a number of narrow sections and small gorges to be seen along this stretch. The path continues to climb gently, meeting a bridleway coming in from the right. Shortly after this, you go through two gates to cross the corner of a field and out onto the minor road beyond.

Turn left down the steep hill and follow the road into Rockford, where refreshments can be obtained (C). Continue along this wooded minor road which runs at the side of the river for about a mile into the village of Brendon where there is again a public house. The river along this stretch is quite narrow and fast-running especially after rain. Continue through the straggling village to the road junction.

Turn left over the river bridge and continue round to the left. After 100 yards, watch for a track forking off to the left and follow it. It leads past a paddock and stable buildings before leaving the houses behind, following the line of the river. At one point, a small house whose only road access is over a footbridge is passed. Continue along the path through the woods until you come into Rockford again. When you reach a footbridge opposite the houses, continue straight on (D).

The path skirts a group of houses near the ford. At the fork for Wilsham and Countisbury, stay with the left branch which follows the river valley. The path climbs away up the side of the hill for a while before dropping down to reach Ash Bridge again (E). Cross the bridge for a second time and turn right. The path quickly climbs up the side of the hill, passing Crook Pool at a much higher level. It becomes a woodland path before joining the other end of the bridleway you passed on the outward walk then drops down to some old limekilns before arriving back at Watersmeet.

Turn right and cross the bridge, then turn left (F). After skirting the tea gardens, take the right hand track which climbs steeply for a few yards before then gradually descending to the east end of Chislecombe Bridge. Continue straight on past the bridge and stay with the path as it follows the line of the East Lyn valley. It climbs for a short way, then drops to a picnic area by the river. Leaving this area, it climbs away again to run high on the valley side giving splendid views of the river and Myrtlberry House below you. Various tracks leading towards Countisbury head off to the right; in each case continue straight ahead. You pass a path turning off left down to Lyn Rock bridge and the track begins to descend towards the river, ultimately arriving at the fork where you turned to go down to Black Pool bridge on the way out. Retrace your steps along the riverside into Lynmouth.

Short version 1: When you cross the bridges and reach Watersmeet House at (A), turn left and pick up the notes from point (F).

Short version 2: On arriving at Ash Bridge (B), cross and turn right which is point (E) on your notes.

Short version 3: At Rockford, point (C) on the walk, look for a footbridge crossing the river near the public house. Cross over and turn left. This is point (D) on the main notes.

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Information © Geoff Bannister 2004-2008