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Reader Treats Just For You!

Exmoor explore

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.

Valley of Rocks, Lynmouth, photo courtesy of Exmoor National Park Authority

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.

Coleridge Way below Old Burrow, photo courtesy of Exmoor National Park Authority, Ruth Luckhurst

Dunkery Beacon, Exmoor’s highest spot, at sunrise is other worldly.

Dunkery Beacon, courtesy of Exmoor National Park Authority, Nigel Stone

There are a fair few trees in them thar hills.

Chisel Combe, courtesy of Exmoor National Park Authority, Brian Pearce

Cross each bridge when you come to it. This is Robber’s Bridge near Doone Valley (setting for Lorna Doone).

Robbers Bridge, Doone Valley, photo courtesy of Exmoor National Park Authority

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.

Porlock Bay, photo courtesy of Exmoor National Park Authority

The Victorian seaside town of Minehead is more trad seaside, with its sand, promenade and a steam railway.

Minehead Harbour, photo courtesy of Exmoor National Park Authority

VISIT A THROBBING METROPOLIS

Here’s Allerford in the rush hour.

Packhorse bridge in Allerford, photo courtesy of the Exmoor National Park Authority.

MEET THE LOCALS

There are more of these magnificent wild red stag deers living on Exmoor than anywhere else in England.

Red Stag deer, photo courtesy of Exmoor National Park Authority,  Nigel Stone

Sturdy Exmoor ponies – the oldest native breed in England and currently endangered – live wild on the moor. Cue cute pic:

Exmoor ponies, photo courtesy of Exmoor National Park Authority, Nigel Stone

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.

Star trails at Dunkery Beacon, photo courtesy of Exmoor National Park Authority, Adrian Cubitt

EDIBLE EXMOOR

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.

The Swan, Bampton

Pretty pubs and cafes a plenty, including one of the Estrella Damm’s Top 50 Gastropubs The Swan and its own Michelin starred restaurant, the Masons Arms.

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?

The Old Sweet Shop, Exmoor Character Cottages

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.

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