News & updates

Dulverton area walking book

Walking Dulverton and area is now out!

The book describes 14 main walks, with 30 routes in all, covering the area between Bampton, the Ansteys, Exford, Winsford and Wimbleball Lake, centred on Dulverton.  Most walks are between 5 and 14 miles, and there is a town trail and a short walk to Marsh Bridge and Court Down. 

The book is available from the National Park Information Centre, Exmoor Society and the Tantivy in Dulverton, the Village Shop and Post Office in Withypool, the Exmoor Stores in Exford, or directly from this site (see the book page). If you want to order it from a bookshop the ISBN is 978-0-9555441-2-5.

Book updates are here:  Bookupdatesbookupdates.pdf

 

Front cover smaller

Fyne Court closure

Fyne Court will be closed 5-23 September for tree work, affecting walks 49 and 50.  The walks are still viable but you will need to park elsewhere and walk around the outside of Fyne Court. 

Read more here:  https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ash-dieback-somerset

Exmoor and Quantocks miscellanea (2)

http://offthebeatentrackinsomerset.blogspot.com/ has some interesting posts on Exmoor and the Quantocks.   These are the relevant ones since November 2020 (see my earlier post for more):

Lynmouth to Porlock overland lifeboat launch - walks 6, 7 & 9

Culbone Stone - off walk 8

Floral cascade at Stogumber church - walk 34

Minehead's Metal Heads - walks 12A, 32 & 33

Ralegh's Cross - the actual cross, not the pub - walk 36

Tank training on North Hill - walks 12 & 12A

St Peter's on the Quay, Minehead - walks 12 & 32

Aschcombe Gardens, Simonsbath - walks 18, 20

Wellington Park - walk AW4

New cafes for walks 34 and 35

Two new cafés in the eastern area:

The community shop at Roadwater has been refurbished and now includes a tea room, with indoor and outdoor seating:  https://www.roadwatercommunityshop.co.uk/our-cafe-hub  We missed it on the re-recce of walk 35 (it was Roadwater fete day) but went back the following weekend when we added the extension to Leighland Chapel - and it's excellent.  It closes at 3 (earlier on Sundays), so unless you start early don't leave it until the end of the walk.

Stogumber also has a new café, the Rocking Horse at Brewers Water Farm:  https://www.jandjcatering.co.uk/therockinghorse/, a little beyond the station from the village - so an alternative to the station café for walk 34.  We haven't tried it yet.

Quantocks walks for families

The Quantocks AONB has published a book of shorter walks on the hills, aimed at families with children.  The only other walking book for the Quantocks that I'm aware of is the 'Boot Up' one, so this is a welcome addition.  The details are here:  https://www.quantockhills.com/product-page/seriously-not-boring-quantock-country-walks-book

New walks Winsford and Wimbleball

I have added two more walks to the site:

Walk26awalk26a.pdf  An alternative circuit from Winsford, circling Winsford Hill anticlockwise.

Walk39bwalk39b.pdf  A figure-of-eight on the eastern side of Wimbleball Lake, starting from Bessom Bridge and including the old church (St James's Tower) at Upton Farm.

I'm concentrating on updating existing walks so these will be the last new walks for a while.

P1010200 st james s upton

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St James's Tower, Upton

DOGS - or rather dog owners

A bit of a rant here, unfortunately.  I love dogs, but I do have problems with the actions of some dog owners. 

Dogs and sheep.  On two occasions recently I have witnessed dogs chasing sheep.  Fortunately neither led to any immediate visible harm to the livestock, but that doesn't mean that they didn't suffer from being chased around a field.  In one instance there was a clear notice on the gate that the dog owners had just come through to KEEP DOGS ON A LEAD.  Unfortunately there seem to be too many dog owners who either don't care or think that their dogs won't chase livestock.  Here's a link to an RSPCA page about sheep worrying.

Dog waste bags.  I'm fed up with seeing dog waste bags hung in hedgerows or left at the side of paths.  This might get the dog mess out of the way of people's feet, but it is adding litter to the countryside, it is unsightly, and ultimately it doesn't solve the problem - the bag will break down and expose the offending matter, which is still capable of causing diseases such as neosporosis or toxicariasis, or infection with worms.  Part of the responsibility of being a dog owner is picking up and removing dog mess, which means taking it home if there are no suitable bins.  Here are some suggestions for disposal. 

Coastal buses return - Watchet to Ilfracombe

The First Bus 'Exmoor Coaster' daily service between Minehead and Lynmouth (with extension to Watchet) is into its second year and now runs all year round.  The details are at https://www.firstbus.co.uk/adventures-bus/services/exmoor-coaster

For summer 2022 there's also an 'Exmoor Sunseeker' service between Lynmouth and Ilfracombe, timed to meet up with the Coaster.  It's currently running daily in June, July and August, and on Sundays in September and October.  Details here:  https://www.firstbus.co.uk/adventures-bus/exmoor-sunseeker

Both of these routes - particularly the 'Coaster' - are useful for linear walks. 

New walk Woody Bay

I have added a new walk from Lee Bay (Lynton) to Woody Bay, Walk4awalk4a.pdf.  The first part heads out through Caffyns Heanton Wood, along the Bonhill valley and over fields before descending to Woody Bay, where it picks up walk 4 to return to Lee Bay.  It can be started from either Lee Bay or the parking area above Woody Bay.  Hardy walkers may want to start it from Lynton or Lynmouth, combining it with walk 5, or from Hunter's Inn, with the circular alternative walk 4. 

The Lynton area walks were starting to cross over in a less than logical way, so I have done some rationalisation to help with linking walks together.  All the circular routes in the area are now clockwise, i.e. they head east along the coast and west inland.  The circuits are fairly short (5-7 miles) but they are hilly and easily make the 'blue' category - so combining two together will  involve around 1000 metres of ascent.  If anyone does the marathon circuit of all four walks between Hunter's Inn and Watersmeet in one go, please let me know - it's nearly 19 miles with 1850m of climbs!

  • Walk 4 stays the same - Parracombe to Lynton - including the alternative circuit from Hunter's Inn to Woody Bay.  This can easily be linked with walk 4A.
  • Walk 4A links with walks 4 and 5. 
  • Walk 5 is now clockwise, with slightly amended instructions for the short walk around Hollerday Hill.  It links with walks 4A and 5A.
  • Walk 5A no longer has the clockwise version of walk 5 as an extension - it simply links to walk 5. 
  • Walk 5B stays the same (and is anticlockwise, which allows the outward part to be used as an alternative return for 5A).

GPX files for 4 alternative, 4A and clockwise 5 are now on the GPX page.

Here are the routes in a diagram:

 

Lynton walks

 

 

Herepath, Tea rooms closing and opening

The tea rooms at Hinam Farm near Dulverton and Pulhams Mill near Wimbleball Lake have both closed.  I have updated the relevant walks to remove reference to them. 

Some better news, Egans at Boeveys in Simonsbath has finally opened.  From my one visit [update - now several visits] so far I can recommend it.  It doesn't have a huge amount of room for large groups (there's some outdoor seating at the back), but the coffee and cake were excellent.  They also do light lunches.

I have also reorganised the information on the Herepath so that it is all on one pdf file and taken down the separate Herepath page.  The Herepath notes can be found here Herepathherepath.pdf, or via the Quantocks or Central Exmoor-North pages.

Exmoor Society guided walks

The Exmoor Society is starting its guided walks programme in April. 

The programme is here:  https://www.exmoorsociety.com/walks-programme 

I'm leading two of the walks:

More guided walks are advertised in the Exmoor Visitor magazine and on the Exmoor NP events calendar here  https://www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/enjoying/events  - but don't tick 'walks' as you won't find anything, just select the type of area you are interested in e.g. woodland, coast or moorland.

New Croydecycle maps for the Brendon Hills

I'm a fan of Croydecycle maps for their detail, clarity, accuracy, helpful information, useful size, and resistance to rain and mud.  Three new ones cover the inland Brendon Hills area:

  • 14 Roadwater, including Ralegh's Cross, Nettlecombe and Carhampton (relevant to walks 35 and 36)
  • 15 Timberscombe and Luxborough, spanning from Kennisham to Dunster and Wootton Courtenay (30, 31 and 37)
  • 16 Wimbleball and nearby Exe, across to Dulverton and Winsford (most of 29, 39, 39A, part of 41A).

More details are here:  http://www.croydecycle.co.uk/mapsandguides.htm#walkingmaps

New walk north of Taunton

Another new walk, courtesy of Philippa - we walked this at the weekend, very close to where I used to live to the north of Taunton.  It's a gently undulating route with a few short hills, between the far southern end of the Quantocks and the flatter country of the Taunton Vale, starting at Kingston St Mary.  The picture is the old windmill in Burlinch Plantation, soon after West Monkton.

Walk50awalk50a.pdf

GPX file now added.

P1030818 burlinch old windmill

New walks Minehead and Horner

I've added two new walks in the Minehead area, both enjoyable routes that are not too long or strenuous: 

12A heads out from Minehead to North Hill and around Bratton Ball, returning via Woodcombe and the parks walk.  It's just over 6 miles and has 430 metres of climb, mainly on the first half.  Walk12awalk12a.pdf

14A starts from Horner, heads uphioll through woods to Webber's Post, then along the side of Dunkery Hill on the Dunster Path.  The return route visits the Woodcock Gardens nature reserve and the pretty village of Luccombe.  Luccombe has been an omission from the walks catalogue, now put right on this walk.  6½ miles with 370 metres of climb.  Walk14awalk14a.pdf

GPX files added 5.12.20.

Updated walks North Devon coast

I have recently updated some of the walks on the North Devon coast to reduce duplication, as well as moving the starting-points to Combe Martin and Hunter's Inn.  The updated walks are:

 

Old walk New walk Status
0 Ilfracombe & Lee Bay via Slade Valley (linear alternative Mortehoe to Ilfracombe)

0A Mortehoe & Lee Bay (linear alternative Mortehoe to Ilfracombe)

0 Ilfracombe & Lee Bay via Slade Valley

Completed Sept 2020
1A Berrynarbor, Sterridge & Hele 1 Berrynarbor, Hele & Watermouth (inc Sterridge) Completed Oct 2020
1 Berrynarbor, Watermouth & Combe Martin

2 Combe Martin, Hangman Hills & Berrynarbor

2A Around Combe Martin

Completed Oct 2020
2 Holdstone Down & Hangman Hills Split between 2 & 3 --
3 Trentishoe & Heddon Valley 3 Hunter's Inn, Holdstone Down & Heddon's Mouth (includes Trentishoe Down) Completed Aug 2020

 

The old walks have now been removed from the site.  GPX files now updated.

Exmoor and Quantocks miscellanea

http://offthebeatentrackinsomerset.blogspot.com/ has some interesting posts on Exmoor and the Quantocks - particularly the May to September 2020 pages.  Most of these are on or near exmoorwalker.uk routes:

  • Ashcombe Gardens - walk 18, and just off 22
  • Lynch Chapel near Bossington - walk 10 & just off 11
  • Anchors of Watchet - walk 33, and 44A alternative
  • Thomas Poole - walk 45
  • The Maclaren Memorial - walk 13A
  • Simonsbath Tower - just off walk 22
  • St Andrews Church - walk 44A
  • Norma Huxtable - walk 41B
  • The Walford murder - walk 45
  • Ball Cottages - just off walk 49
  • Lilstock - walk 44A 

Lorna Doone Farm, Malmsmead

The National Trust has recently acquired the Lorna Doone and Cloud Farm sites, featured in Walk13walk13.pdf, including the shop and tea room.  The Trust is calling this Lorna Doone Valley.  Check the entry at https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lorna-doone-valley for the latest information about facilities etc.

Croydecycle map Exford

Another new Croydecycle map has just come out, 53 Exford. It sits between the Dulverton and Horner/Dunkery ones and covers the area between Simonsbath, Exford, Withypool and Winsford.  I will update the walk descriptions in the area to include reference to the map.

Exford map

New Exmoor book

Nigel Stone's book 'Exploring Exmoor from Square One' is now out, published by Halsgrove.  Nigel was until recently the head of the National Park Authority as well as being an accomplished photographer, and one task that he set himself was to take a photograph in every kilometre grid square on Exmoor.  The book is more sensibly based on 2x2km squares (there would be around 700 entries otherwise), with excellent photography accompanied by short narratives about each place.  It works well as both a coffee-table book and a reference guide.  I worked my way through each of the 170 squares over a few coffee and tea breaks, and now refer back to relevant sections as a source of reference (there is a useful atlas-type key in the front).  It's available from several outlets in Dulverton, and direct from the publisher.

Exploring exmoor

Dulverton

A short article on Dulverton:     It's not just shops and cafés, it is the start of many excellent walks!