Exploring Exmoor, North Devon and Somerset, UK (18-57)

Day 13  May 8, 2018  Lynton, Lynmouth, Dunster, and Porlock

Image 12-9-18 at 8.54 PM

We began this day walking from our lodging down the steep poetry- and flower-lined path to Lynmouth.

DSC04255DSC04258DSC04261DSC04262

DSC04260

Almost to the beach at the bottom of the cliff.

There we visited the Exmoor National Park Visitors Center and made plans to visit Dunster and Porlock, to the east of us. Lynmouth is the intersection of four trail systems in Exmoor, marked by this sculpture of a walker, and the trail signs.

dsc04266.jpgDSC04265DSC04264DSC04267

Lynton & Lynmouth Cliff Railroad

As we walked down the path to Lynmouth, we had crossed the tracks of the Cliff Railroad several times.

DSC04259

The Cliff Railroad is a Victorian era funicular with two counterbalanced cars connected by cables and pulleys that simultaneously rise or fall as water is released from the water tank of the lower car.  The cars each have 700 gallon water tanks. The tank is refilled from a stream at the top of the cliff, and released to the stream at the bottom of the cliff. The power is completely passive – just gravity imbalance created by the weight differential between the two cars. The railway has been in continuous operation since 1890.

DSC04257DSC04055DSC04256

We returned to Lynton via the Railroad, a much easier way to climb this 500 foot cliff than going back up the path.

DSC04268

Dunster

We walked through the medieval town of Dunster. Dunster Castle, on the hill overlooking the town, dates back to at least 1086, shortly after the Norman conquest in 1066.

dsc04334.jpg

DSC04284

Dunster Castle

We walked around some of the castle grounds.

DSC04285

DSC04286

Stables

DSC04294

Gardens

DSC04297

The Yarn Market, where trade in cloth was conducted, is about 400 years old.

DSC04270

DSC04271

Dunster Castle and the Dunster Yarn Market.

DSC04274DSC04277

The Water Mill is about 200 years old. We looked at the machinery, but the mill wasn’t in operation today.

DSC04311

DSC04304

The water wheel

DSC04316

DSC04302

One of the flour mills.

DSC04303

DSC04310

Castle gardens near the mill

DSC04317

More Gunnera manicata, the giant Brazilian rhubarb, growing along the mill stream.

The 15th century Gallox Bridge crosses the River Avill.

DSC04332DSC04323DSC04327

DSC04321

Thatched roofs.

DSC04320

Porlock Marsh

We drove back west to Porlock, where the National Park Guide had recommended a wildlife walk across the marsh.

DSC04336

DSC04337

The path to the marsh.

DSC04338

DSC04342

Boardwalks across the marsh

DSC04343

Looking back toward town.

DSC04346

View out to the Bristol Channel from the top of the berm.

DSC04347

View to the east from the top of the shingled berm.

We did not see any wildlife, perhaps because the tide was out, just the shingled beach and the wide views, but it was good to stretch our legs.

My quilter’s eye noticed geometric patterns in the architecture in Porlock.

DSC04353DSC04354

We stopped at an overlook for the wide view of Porlock. From here, we headed back to Lynton for the dinner.

DSC04358

Our Victorian Lodgings in Lynton:

My husband had selected this lodging, so I hadn’t realized before arriving that we would be staying in a converted Victorian manor house, built by a London mogul for his wife in 1870. The home was built on a ledge blasted from the cliff.

DSC04050DSC04084DSC04096DSC04097DSC04251

DSC04043

A large ammonite embedded near the entryway.

The decor is Victorian, and most of the rooms are situated around a large communal open staircase and balcony, invoking the setting of an Agatha Christie novel.

DSC04046

Our living room.

DSC04047

Central stairway

DSC04048

There were few other guests during this off season visit, but I would guess the patio tea service would be popular with walkers going to the Valley of Rocks from the Cliff Railway in the summer.

DSC04051

Our balcony and stairs leading down to the patio where tea is served with an amazing view.

DSC04361Our self-catering apartment had updated plumbing and kitchen, with a private, very tiny balcony and spiral staircase, and a tremendous view across the bay to Countisbury Hill and Lynmouth Bay. We enjoyed the location and historical ambiance.

Valley of Rocks and Woodlands Walk, Lynton, Devon, UK (18-55)

Day 12, May 7, 2018

Today we walked a loop trail along the Southwest Coast Path through the Valley of Rocks, then circled back on the hills above the town of Lynton.

Screen Shot 2018-10-04 at 1.11.18 PM

Valley of Rocks: The sun position was better today as we retraced our steps into the Valley of Rocks. We climbed up one of the promontories

DSC04099dsc04104.jpgDSC04105DSC04106

DSC04108

Looking back to the east.

DSC04109

Castle Rock and westward view.

DSC04111

Steep cliffs here.

DSC04112

Quartzite and Slate of the Devonian Lynton Formation

DSC04116

Gorse

DSC04124DSC04133

Beyond the rocks, the path continues on the road past Lee Abbey.

DSC04154

Lee Abbey

DSC04143

Gardens

DSC04144

Sheep

DSC04148

Fog wafting by

DSC04152

Old door

DSC04153

View down to Lee Bay

DSC04158

More sheep

DSC04160

View back to the Abbey

DSC04163

A house along the road

DSC04165

DSC04166

Lee Bay again

DSC04169

Horses riding up the road near Lee Abbey.

Our trail descended to circle around Crock Point, with the fog settling in on us.

DSC04170

Steep steps down the primrose path.

DSC04171

Foggy meadow on Crock Point,

DSC04172

and foggy views beyond the hedgerows.

DSC04174

Plenty of flowers,

DSC04176

And then the fog lifted.

Next our trail wound through Croscombe and Bonhill Woods where we crossed The Lee on Bonhill Bridge.

DSC04183

Our path was lined with bluebells in Croscombe Wood.

DSC04184

Bluebells and Campion

DSC04187

A twisted tree, ferns and bluebells – so very green in here!

DSC04189

Another steep staircase in Bonhill Woods down to the stream.

DSC04190

Bonhill Bridge across The Lee.

DSC04193

The Lee

As we entered the Six Acre Wood we could see back to the Valley of Rocks.

DSC04216DSC04196

DSC04200

A small check dam along the way seemed like water sprite habitat.

Our trial emerged onto the slopes of South Cleave, from which we could look down upon the Valley of Rocks and our earlier path.

DSC04222

Trail up South Cleave.

DSC04218

Looking down on Lee Abbey.

DSC04221

Looking down on Lee Bay.

DSC04223

Valley of Rocks below.

DSC04238

Another view west from South Cleave.

Our path led us down hill and through Lynton before circling back to our lodgings.

DSC04243DSC04244DSC04245

DSC04246

Downtown Lynton.

DSC04247

View over the rooftops to Lynmouth Bay.

DSC04248

Sign showing the paths and the Cliff Railway down to Lynmouth – on tomorrow’s agenda.

 

Image 12-4-18 at 6.17 PM

Southwest Coast Path Website Map for our Walk. We walked about 7.5 miles, 700 feet elevation.

Evening view of Countisbury Hill and Lynmouth Bay from our little balcony:

DSC04253