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Valley of Rocks and Lynton

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Valley of Rocks and Lynton
Author: Claire, Published: 17 May 2017 Walk Rating:star1 Valley of Rocks and Lynton Walking Guide star1 Valley of Rocks and Lynton Walking Guide star1 Valley of Rocks and Lynton Walking Guide star1 Valley of Rocks and Lynton Walking Guide star1 Valley of Rocks and Lynton Walking Guide
Devon, Exmoor
Walk Type: Coastal
Valley of Rocks and Lynton
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot Valley of Rocks and Lynton Walking Guide boot Valley of Rocks and Lynton Walking Guide
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A 3 mile circular coastal walk near the cliff-top town of Lynton in Exmoor, Devon. The route leads you through the spectacular Valley of Rocks with its impressive geology and feral goats, following a stretch of the coastal path along the impressive high cliffs. Heading into the town of Lynton, the route crosses the cliff railway before exploring the town and then returning to the valley.

The route follows tarmac paths for almost the entire length (with just a short stretch over short grass), so it is ideal if you want to avoid the mud. There are several climbs and descents throughout. There are no stiles or kissing gates, but you will need to negotiate several single gates. The stretch of coastal path has a very steep, sharp drop down the cliffs on one side, this is probably not a good walk for those that suffer from vertigo and do take care with dogs. The paths are all at least one metre wide, so in theory it would be possible to take a pushchair round, but there are no wide passing places along the coastal path so it would not be suitable for wheelchairs. For half the route, you will be sharing the paths with the local feral goats, although these are very used to walkers and their dogs. Allow 1.5 hours (plus extra time to explore the town).

Lynton is located on the north Devon coast. The walk starts from the Valley of Rocks pay and display car park, managed by North Devon District Council, about one mile west of Lynton. From Lynton, follow the road heading west (Longmead) as it leads you out of the town. Cross the cattle grid, ignore the first car park on the left (this is the National Park picnic site) and continue to reach the public car park on the right-hand side (alongside the tea rooms). The fee is £1 per hour, up to a maximum of £5 which covers the whole day (correct May 2017). Nearest post code EX35 6JL.

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Walk Sections

Start to Stone Bench
Start to Stone Bench

Start point: 51.2324 lat, -3.8516 long
End point: 51.234 lat, -3.848 long

Even from the car park, it is easy to see why this dry valley is known as the Valley of Rocks, set with its backdrop of spectacular rocky outcrops. Remember, having crossed the cattle grid on the way out of Lynton, you are now in an area with free-roaming livestock – in this case goats – so take care with dogs. Exit the car park onto the access road and turn right along this, taking care of any traffic. You will be heading towards the most iconic of the rock outcrops that give the valley its name.

Just before you reach this rock outcrop (and just before a small roundabout in the road), turn right onto a short grass path. Follow this as it swings right to reach three benches and the start of a tarmac path. Join this tarmac path and take time to pause and enjoy the beautiful rocky and green cliffs. Seeing this landscape first hand, you will now appreciate why it is the perfect habitat for goats (and why other grazing livestock would struggle to cope!).

Follow the tarmac coastal path ahead, with the sea and steep cliff drops down to your left (so take particular care with children and dogs). Simply follow this tarmac path winding and undulating ahead, enjoying the far-reaching sea views and the dramatic coastal terrain. Eventually you will come to a fingerpost, marking a sharp-right fork in the path, with a stone bench set into the cliff.

Stone Bench to Cliff Railway
Stone Bench to Cliff Railway

Start point: 51.234 lat, -3.848 long
End point: 51.2314 lat, -3.8349 long

Do NOT take the sharp right turn, instead continue ahead on the coastal tarmac path. Further along, you will pass a large arched stone shelter and bench on your right, ideal for sheltering from the winds. Eventually you will reach a pedestrian gate ahead. Pass through this and keep directly ahead on the tarmac path leading you into a cliff-side woodland. Ignore the path forking left (signed to Lynmouth), instead stay on the main level tarmac path, part of the South West Coast Path and signed to Lynton.

Pass another arched shelter on your right and the path leads you through an old stone gateway, passing a single property on the cliffside on your left (Hoe Mews), with an ornate spire. Soon afterwards, the path widens to become a tarmac access lane, passing another ornate spire down to your left. Simply stay ahead, passing several guesthouses. Just after passing the arched entrance for Hewitts Country House on your left, the lane narrows to lead you over the town’s cliff railway.

Cliff Railway to Town Hall
Cliff Railway to Town Hall

Start point: 51.2314 lat, -3.8349 long
End point: 51.2302 lat, -3.8363 long

It is worth pausing here to watch the cliff railway in action. Opened in 1890, this water-powered funicular railway was built to connect the seaside harbour of Lynmouth with the cliff-top town of Lynton. Before this, packhorses and donkeys were used to transport the harbour deliveries (such as food and coal) up to the town. The railway was funded by Sir George Newnes – more about him later…

Soon after crossing the railway, you will reach a junction of lanes. Join the pavement to follow the lane at about 1 o’clock, leading you steeply uphill (signed to Lynton). At the top of the lane you will come to a T-junction with the road in the centre of Lynton, with the aptly named Valley of Rocks Hotel on your right. Turn right to follow the road, taking care of traffic on the few stretches without pavements. If you wish to explore the town itself, there are lots of independent shops and cafes to keep you occupied.

On your right, you will pass the entrance for the Cliff Railway, in case you wish to take a turn on this. Next on the right you will pass the War Memorial and Town Hall (which now houses the tourist information centre). On the left-hand edge of the facade is a bust of Sir George Newnes. Those who have been keeping track will remember him as the guy that funded the railway. As a wealthy local resident, publisher and journalist, he also funded this town hall. The town hall has public toilets, should you need these.

Town Hall to Cattle Grid
Town Hall to Cattle Grid

Start point: 51.2302 lat, -3.8363 long
End point: 51.2318 lat, -3.8465 long

Keep straight ahead along the main road (signed to Valley of Rocks via Road). Stay with this road, leading you away from the town centre and passing between pretty cottages and guesthouses. Pass the town cemetery on your right, looking out for the old tree stump that has been carved into the shape of an Exmoor pony.

Beyond the houses, join the left-hand pavement to continue along the road, passing Holman Park on your left. Continue until you reach the cattle grid and pass alongside this using the gate.

Cattle Grid to End
Cattle Grid to End

Start point: 51.2318 lat, -3.8465 long
End point: 51.2326 lat, -3.8517 long

Immediately after the cattle grid you have two choices. Should you wish to finish the walk now, simply keep ahead along the road for about 400 metres to reach the car park on your right. Otherwise, it is worth taking a small detour to enjoy one last set of sea and rock views.

For this detour, fork right to join the tarmac path signed to Lynton and Lynmouth via North Walk. From this path, you have a particularly beautiful view of the most iconic rock formation within the Valley of Rocks. In the foreground, you will see the fenced cricket ground, the fence being necessary to prevent a goat pitch invasion. If you are lucky, in the summer months you may see a cricket match taking place.

Walk just as far as you wish to enjoy these extra views. We would suggest going as far as the two benches on your left. These give you views both inland and out to sea. When you have finished, turn around and retrace your steps back to the road. Turn right along the road for 400 metres to reach the car park where the walk began.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2017 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.


The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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