Introduction to the walks

Over 70 main walks are described, most between 6 and 12 miles, spanning the coast from Mortehoe to Lilstock, the Exmoor National Park, the Quantock Hills, and some of the country in between and to the south.  Many walks have shorter alternatives, or they can be linked together.  Including the alternative and shorter walks there are well over 200 routes to choose from, ranging from strolls around villages to hard hikes across open moorland. 

Walks are graded from yellow (easiest) through green and blue to black (most strenuous).  If you are not an experienced hiker, start with one or two of the yellow or green walks and see how you get on.  Many harder walks also have easier alternatives, and these are listed in the downloadable catalogue.  A red exclamation mark indicates where a head for heights may be needed.  None of these are extreme, and some walks have alternative routes that avoid narrow paths above drops, so don’t automatically rule them out if you suffer from vertigo or have a fear of heights.  (A blue exclamation mark indicates a tidal stretch or a stream that can be difficult to cross after heavy rain, and an orange-brown one an area of open moorland that may be difficult to negotiate when the ground is waterlogged or after strong growth).  Check the public right of way maps for Exmoor or Somerset (see 'useful links') for an update on any path closures or problems.  

Please note that the times given for walks are continuous walking times, with an allowance for going uphill.  These are based on a speed of 3mph.  A good rule of thumb is to allow half as much again to complete the walk - or more if you want to spend time looking around.  When I have updated each walk I have also included an estimated total time to allow, but how accurate this is depends on your walking speed and how much you pause or explore on the route. 

Many of the routes are circular; where they are not, there are usually public transport connections between start and finish, at least on weekdays and often also Saturdays.  A few alternative walks rely on taxis or organising your own connecting transport, as do two of the main walks – 20 from Simonsbath to Lynmouth, and 22A between Exford and Simonsbath.  Either way, I suggest taking transport from the finish to the start at the beginning of the walk.  That way around, you avoid a race to catch the bus, or a long wait after arriving too early. 

Do make sure you prepare properly for walks and are aware of dangers - these can include cars, cattle, snakes, ticks, the landscape itself, and the weather.  Read the walk safety sheet, and follow a country code.

The links under each of the eight walk sections (and on the interactive map below) take you to a PDF document containing the route description, including a map and details of any alternative or shorter walks.  Many walks also have a GPX file located on the GPX page.

21 into lank combe

O0002273 near croydon hill

Imgp8251 ilfracombe to bull pointInto Lank Combe; Croydon Hill; coast path at Ilfracombe.  © Stan Lester.