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Lynmouth and Watersmeet

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Lynmouth and Watersmeet
Author: Amentura, Published: 17 Oct 2017 Walk Rating:star1 Lynmouth and Watersmeet Walking Guide star1 Lynmouth and Watersmeet Walking Guide star1 Lynmouth and Watersmeet Walking Guide star1 Lynmouth and Watersmeet Walking Guide star1 Lynmouth and Watersmeet Walking Guide
Devon, Exmoor
Walk Type: Coastal
Lynmouth and Watersmeet
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot Lynmouth and Watersmeet Walking Guide boot Lynmouth and Watersmeet Walking Guide boot Lynmouth and Watersmeet Walking Guide boot Lynmouth and Watersmeet Walking Guide
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0009_light_rain_showers Lynmouth and Watersmeet Walking Guide Today's weather
18 °C, Patchy rain nearby, Wind: 5 mph NW
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0002_sunny_intervals Lynmouth and Watersmeet Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals Lynmouth and Watersmeet Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals Lynmouth and Watersmeet Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals Lynmouth and Watersmeet Walking Guide 0002_sunny_intervals Lynmouth and Watersmeet Walking Guide

A circular walk of approximately five miles, starting and finishing in the North Devon town of Lynmouth. The first half of the walk is along the picturesque East Lyn river gorge. The East Lyn river itself, is a fast flowing waterway tumbling across a rock strewn river bed. There are many rapids and waterfalls to enjoy. The river and the gorge are a haven for wildlife; herons can be seen standing fishing in some of the slower moving sections and deeper pools. The second half of the walk takes you over some beautiful coastline with breath-taking views across this part of North Devon and out across the Severn estuary. On a clear day, the coast of southern Wales can be clearly seen. The beautiful and rugged North Devon coastline can be especially appreciated from Beacon Tor before descending back down the coastal path and returning into Lynmouth. Most of the area covered by the walk is part of 2,000 acres of North Devon coast managed by the National Trust. The National Trust centre at Watersmeet is where the East Lyn river joins with Hoar Oak Water. Here you can enjoy the beauty of the two rivers whilst enjoying a refreshment break.

The walk includes several climbs and descents throughout, including some quite steep sections. The riverside path on the outward leg climbs high above the river in places, with steep drops down the banks to your side so take particular care with children and dogs. Some parts are uneven and slippery underfoot and the highest parts of the walk are quite exposed. You will need to negotiate several gates, flights of steps and bridges, but there are no stiles on route. Allow 2.5 hours.

Lynmouth can be found on the North Devon coast on the main A39 road. It sits at the estuary of the East Lyn river. There is another town, Lynton, situated on the hillside above Lynmouth. The two towns are connected via a cliff footpath and also by a funicular cliff railway opened in 1890, a testament to Victorian engineering that it still runs today. The system is interesting in that it is powered entirely by the weight of water. There is ample car parking in both towns, parking in Lynton will give the opportunity to walk down the cliff path (with great views of Lynmouth) and return via the cliff railway, of course the alternative is to use the cliff railway in both directions. The nearest car park to the starting point for the walk itself, is the other side of the A39 road bridge that crosses the East Lyn river in Lynmouth itself. The car park is accessed from Watersmeet Road. Approximate post code is EX35 6ES.

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Walk Sections

Start to Fisheries
Start to Fisheries

Start point: 51.2301 lat, -3.8286 long
End point: 51.2283 lat, -3.822 long

From whichever car park you decide to use, make your way through Lynmouth to the A39 (Countisbury Hill) road bridge across the East Lyn river. The walk starts on the far side of the bridge, where Tors Road joins with the A39. From this start point, walk along Tors Road which runs alongside the East Lyn river. You will pass a tea room and a row of attractive cottages, many of which seem to be holiday homes available for rental. Tors Road ends in a cul-de-sac where a signpost indicates Watersmeet (1.25 miles) and marks the start of the National Trust managed land. You are now at Waypoint 1.

Fisheries to Arnolds Linhay
Fisheries to Arnolds Linhay

Start point: 51.2283 lat, -3.822 long
End point: 51.2247 lat, -3.8155 long

Continue along the footpath directly in front of you. This footpath enters the woodland that runs alongside the river, you will be walking along a steep sided river gorge. The entire footpath is comprised of gravel and bed rock, making for relatively dry going even after rain, although the route could become slippery in places underfoot. Do be mindful that this footpath does rise quite high above the river in sections and the valley sides are very steep in places. There are some areas that have seen some erosion, take heed of any warning signs that may be put up. The river is fast moving and very rock strewn making it very attractive to view, be careful if you decide to make your way to the river bank, there are some obvious places where this is a little easier than making your way down the steeper sections. Waypoint 2, Arnolds Linhay, is situated after walking up a slight rise to a signpost where another footpath joins from the hillside above the gorge.

Arnolds Linhay to Lynrock Fountain
Arnolds Linhay to Lynrock Fountain

Start point: 51.2247 lat, -3.8155 long
End point: 51.2238 lat, -3.8071 long

From Waypoint 2, Arnolds Linhay, continue to follow the footpath as it winds alongside the river. Eventually you will cross the river over a wooden bridge to the opposite side. The remainder of the walk up the gorge will be on this bank of the river. We will not cross back across until we reach Watersmeet. Look out for a plaque on the rock wall that describes Lynrock Fountain, an interesting little story into local history and marking Waypoint 3.

Lynrock Fountain to Watersmeet
Lynrock Fountain to Watersmeet

Start point: 51.2238 lat, -3.8071 long
End point: 51.223 lat, -3.7991 long

Continue along the riverside footpath. There is one section which passes through private land (Myrtleberry) where there is a road and a driveway. The National Trust have put up signposts clearly indicating where this section lies, so be mindful that vehicles may pass along the driveway and remember the land beyond the fence is a private garden and house. Beyond Myrtleberry, you will come across an old stone bridge crossing the river, do not go across, instead continue along the footpath keeping the river to your left. Carry on until the National Trust centre at Watersmeet is visible. The building is accessed down a short but steep downhill incline and then by crossing a wooden bridge. Look to your right to view an attractive section of waterfalls, a great point for a photo. You can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, or even lunch at the National Trust centre. There is also a shop here and a public convenience.

Watersmeet to The Top
Watersmeet to The Top

Start point: 51.223 lat, -3.7991 long
End point: 51.2252 lat, -3.7962 long

After your break, head around to the rear of the centre past the public conveniences to where the footpath can be clearly seen at a signpost. Take the left path up the hill, signposted to Rockford. This is the start of a lengthy and very steep incline which will take you to the top of the valley gorge. The footpath is very narrow in places, it winds back and forth across the hillside and you will be walking on hard bedrock for the most part, so the going remains reasonably firm even after rain. Take time to view the woodlands you will be passing through, they are quite unusual (at least it seems to me) in that they are made up mainly of oak trees that all seem to be of the same age. Lichen covers much of their bark and the woodland has a slightly magical feel about it, again at least to me. You will come across a second signpost, take the path that is signposted Countisbury to the left. There is a point where the footpath splits, take the sharp left branch which is the obvious path, not the right branch which looks slightly overgrown and disused. Eventually you will arrive at the top of the hillside at Waypoint 5. There seems to have been some kind of earth works here as there is a pile of spoil at the top. A convenient place to sit after the climb up from Watersmeet!

The Top to Valley Head
The Top to Valley Head

Start point: 51.2252 lat, -3.7962 long
End point: 51.2311 lat, -3.8 long

Continue along the footpath that has now become a grassy way (which can be slippery when wet) and make your way through an area of bracken. Go up the incline ahead of you, and you will reach a dry stone wall. You will see a wooden bench and a signpost here. Take the path to the left, signposted Countisbury. Shortly you will climb a short flight of steps and pass through a wooden gate. Continue up the incline, eventually coming out into open ground. Take a rest here and enjoy the wonderful views across the countryside. As you go further along the path, look down and to your left to see the tables and chairs in the tea garden at Watersmeet and realise just how high you have climbed! Carry on along this footpath, it will take you steadily around to the right and drop downwards. At the valley head you will find a signpost to Lynmouth (2 miles), this is the path you want to take. Round the top of the valley head you will see another signpost indicating the way to Lynmouth. You are now at Waypoint 6, Valley Head.

Valley Head to Tor Head
Valley Head to Tor Head

Start point: 51.2311 lat, -3.8 long
End point: 51.2297 lat, -3.8189 long

Continue on the way to Lynmouth, keeping the dry stone wall and A39 road to your right and the valley increasingly dropping away to your left. Pass through a wooden gate. Eventually arrive at a fork in the path. The left path (downhill) is signposted Lynmouth (1.25 miles) - do NOT take this path unless you want to take a shortcut back to the start. Instead, take the right fork (uphill) signposted to Lynmouth via Beacon Tor. Eventually you will come across a second fork in the footpath. Left and downhill would take you to Lynmouth via Sparrows Walk, again do NOT take this path unless you prefer this shorter return to Lynmouth. Take the right-hand path, uphill and signposted Lynmouth via Beacon Tor. You will come to a very steep uphill walk, luckily it is not too long. You will be rewarded at the top by a fantastic view down the East Lyn river valley, up on the hillside the town of Lynton and below the other town of Lynmouth. Pass through the wooden gate. Continue along the footpath around the top of the hill. The East Lyn valley will be on your left and the coast with beautiful views of the rugged coastline on your right. You will come to a wooden post with two yellow arrows. This is Waypoint 7, Tor Head.

Tor Head to Woodland Walk
Tor Head to Woodland Walk

Start point: 51.2297 lat, -3.8189 long
End point: 51.2312 lat, -3.8268 long

At Waypoint 7 facing the ocean, look to your left and you will see a short uphill path leading to what I assume to be Beacon Tor. It is prominent in that it has several large blocks of stone showing at its top, a typical feature of a Tor. By all means take this short detour to view the surrounding countryside and seascape if you wish, but come back to Waypoint 7 and then continue downhill towards the coast. At the junction of footpaths, follow a sign (blue bridleway) to Lynmouth (0.5 mile). Continue down the hill eventually arriving at a road (A39 – Countisbury Hill). Pass through the wooden gate and cross the road to a lay-by. You will see a yellow coastal path signpost in front of you (the way right is signposted to Porlock, left to Lynmouth). Do NOT go through the stone wall to this path, but instead walk down the lay-by to the far end. Here you will see a path following along the side of the road, there is a wooden post with a yellow top and an acorn marker carved into it, this is the path you need to take. Shortly you will come across a large sign for Countisbury Lodge. Beyond this sign you will see a post indicating footpaths. There are two signs to Lynmouth. Do NOT take the one that takes you back to the road, instead take the signposted way that indicates the public footpath to Lynmouth and has the acorn marker (for the Coast Path). Go down the hill into the woodland, there are some steep steps. The path through the woodlands can be a little treacherous, there are a number of rocks and tree roots sticking up that could cause you to trip. Be especially vigilant in autumn when this path is covered in fallen leaves and such hazards may be hidden. You will go around a few bends in the path as it snakes its way downhill. Keep following the coastal path signs with the acorn markers. Arrive at Waypoint 8 (Woodland Walk) where you will take a sharp-right turn in the path.

Woodland Walk to End
Woodland Walk to End

Start point: 51.2312 lat, -3.8268 long
End point: 51.2301 lat, -3.8286 long

Keep following the path downhill. You will come out onto a tarmac road, turn right onto this road, ahead you will see the beach. Keep the high stone wall to your left and turn left at the end of the wall keeping on the road. You will see a signpost in front of you that indicates the Coast Path and Coombe Martin 15 miles. The road you are on follows alongside the beach and eventually a grassy area. The beach itself is gravely with large stones when the tide is out. Eventually you will come into Lynmouth where you will meet with the East Lyn River once again. The river runs in a wide gulley along the edge of Lynmouth town proper before flowing out into the Severn estuary. With the river directly in front of you, look right to see a footbridge across the river which will take you into Lynmouth town centre if you wish to go and see Lynmouth. Alternatively, take the left turn, cross the A39 and you will be back at the start of the walk.

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Check out these resources for your walk

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network Lynmouth and Watersmeet Walking Guide Original GPX source file

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


1 comments for "Lynmouth and Watersmeet"

Got a little lost after the Watersmeet cafe. I walked the entire length of the river until forced to turn left at a pub and a very strenuous climb out of the gorge and up to Countisbury where I joined the original route. I walked over nine miles, absolutely stunning and some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. Top tip, if you want a parking place get there before 10 am or forget it.

ADMIN RESPONSE: Remember to use the iFootpath App's live GPS map to prevent any wrong turns - this will show your live position on the route map.

By Mcbutler on 22 May 2018

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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