Wonderful walking, luscious landscapes – hills, valleys, moors, woods – beaches of every kind, a plethora of plants and wildlife, ancient monuments and the fruits of the land all there for the taking
Do you always drive through Exmoor with your foot down, on your way to Cornwall? Me too. But you really should pull in and see what the 260 square miles – two thirds of it in Somerset and one third of it in north Devon – has to offer…
A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
Over 1,000km of footpaths and bridleways around Exmoor should keep you going. The South West Coast Path, the UK’s longest pathway, at around 613 miles, starts near Minehead. Walk the whole route if you’ve got a spare 40 days but you can do the Exmoor section in just two to three.
Follow in the footsteps of Romantic post Samuel Taylor Coleridge (but without the laudanum) and William Wordsworth on The Coleridge Way, stopping off Coleridge’s cottage in Nether Stowey where he wrote Kubla Khan and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
Dunkery Beacon, Exmoor’s highest spot, at sunrise is other worldly.
There are a fair few trees in them thar hills.
Cross each bridge when you come to it. This is Robber’s Bridge near Doone Valley (setting for Lorna Doone).
PICK A BEACH, ANY BEACH
Rocky beaches, pebbly beaches, sandy beaches, beaches with rock pools and fossils – Dorset’s not the only place with a Jurassic coast.
The Victorian seaside town of Minehead is more trad seaside, with its sand, promenade and a steam railway.
VISIT A THROBBING METROPOLIS
Here’s Allerford in the rush hour.
MEET THE LOCALS
There are more of these magnificent wild red stag deers living on Exmoor than anywhere else in England.
Sturdy Exmoor ponies – the oldest native breed in England and currently endangered – live wild on the moor. Cue cute pic:
GO STAR SPOTTING
Europe’s first International Dark Skies Reserve, Exmoor is one of the very best places in the UK for stargazing all year around but especially during the crisp, clear nights of Spring. The more remote you are, the darker the skies and the more stars you’ll see but Bossington Hill near Minehead, Dunkery Beacon and Webber’s Post all come highly recommended.
Exmoor’s a real foodie region, with a plethora of local food and drink producers. As well as venison, game and Red Ruby beef, try the Exmoor Blue cheese, fresh fish, Pacific oysters – even Exmoor caviar. It’s not bad on booze either, with The Exmoor Brewery, one of the UK’s first microbreweries, ciders and locally distilled artisan Wicked Wolf and Northmoor gins.
STAY A WHILE
And finally, what could be better than a glass of red by the fireside in a cosy chocolate box cottage or converted barn?
A cosy chocolate box cottage with an outdoor hot tub?
BIG MUDDY DISCOUNT
We’ve wangled a big Muddy discount on stays at four luxury Exmoor cottages with woodburners, squashy sofas, Wi-Fi/Netflix – and hot tubs – as one of our famous Reader Treats. Get your mitts on your Muddy discount code here.
For more info on exploring Exmoor, see Visit Exmoor.