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Lee Abbey and Exmoor Coast

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Lee Abbey and Exmoor Coast
Author: Amentura, Published: 17 Oct 2017 Walk Rating:star0 Lee Abbey and Exmoor Coast Walking Guide star0 Lee Abbey and Exmoor Coast Walking Guide star0 Lee Abbey and Exmoor Coast Walking Guide star0 Lee Abbey and Exmoor Coast Walking Guide star0 Lee Abbey and Exmoor Coast Walking Guide
Devon, Exmoor
Walk Type: Coastal
Lee Abbey and Exmoor Coast
Length: 3 miles,  Difficulty: boot Lee Abbey and Exmoor Coast Walking Guide boot Lee Abbey and Exmoor Coast Walking Guide boot Lee Abbey and Exmoor Coast Walking Guide boot Lee Abbey and Exmoor Coast Walking Guide
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8 °C, Patchy rain nearby, Wind: 19 mph W
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The 3 mile walk is a circular route starting by the side of the Meldrums Tea Gardens near Lynton in Devon. The public car park is pay and display and is intended for people visiting the nearby Valley of Rocks. The valley is an interesting geological feature unique to this area of coast and is worth a visit even though it is not covered on this walk. The walk itself starts with an easy stretch following a tarmac road and then onto fairly flat footpaths winding through this part of the North Devon coast. There are many small attractive coves and bays with shingle beaches if you have plenty of time to take the detour down to them. You will pass Lee Abbey, a Christian community founded in 1946. The building itself is Grade II listed and the community offers a retreat, family holidays, conferences etc. Beyond the Abbey, the walk doubles back in an ever increasing uphill climb, eventually reaching the top of the hills that you will have been following on your left all the way from the car park.

The route includes several gradients throughout, including some steep sections and the hilltop paths are exposed. The climb from the Abbey in the valley up the hillside is quite strenuous, it is steep and comprised of a mixture of farm track, grass and rocky heath, but extensive views of the surrounding coast can be had from the top and most of the climb up. The first stretch follows an access road without pavements, so take care of traffic here. You will need to negotiate several gates and steps but there are no stiles. This part of the Lynton coast is roamed freely by mountain goats. Allow 2 hours.

Take the road called Longmead heading west out of Lynton and continue over the cattle grid to find the tea rooms and car park on your right. The post code of Meldrums Tea Gardens is EX35 6JL (although this is not exact). We have enjoyed the food and coffee on numerous occasions, but be aware the tea gardens are normally closed from the end of October until April.

Walk Sections

Start to Roadside Gate
Start to Roadside Gate

Start point: 51.2326 lat, -3.8514 long
End point: 51.2296 lat, -3.8608 long

NOTE: Remember, this area of coast is roamed freely by goats so take care with dogs. With your back to the car park and tea rooms, turn right down the road. You will see a large escarpment of rock in front of you, part of the Valley of Rocks. By all means take a detour up the escarpment, there is a clear footpath to the top, you will be rewarded with wonderful views along the coast line. Back on the road you will see a turning circle where vehicles can avoid going further on the toll road. Walk past this turning circle to reach a footpath sign, follow the route labelled coastal path with the acorn badge. This footpath meets once more with the road shortly after, you will see the footpath continuing to your right keeping slightly downhill from the road but following a similar route. Keep to this footpath until you turn sharp left and go up a short but steep incline to a gate at the road once more. This is Waypoint 1.

Roadside Gate to Lee Abbey
Roadside Gate to Lee Abbey

Start point: 51.2296 lat, -3.8608 long
End point: 51.2269 lat, -3.8657 long

Pass through this gate and turn right onto the road. There is a building here and a gate indicating the way ahead to be a toll road. Carry on down the road with fields of livestock to either side. Although this is a no-through road, be mindful of traffic, certainly whenever we have walked this route there have always been a number of vehicles traveling along the road to and from the Abbey. You will pass the Beacon Activity Centre. Carry on until you reach the main buildings of Lee Abbey. The road widens here into a triangular shape outside the Abbey entrance, on your left you will see a wooden gate leading to a farm track. This is Waypoint 2.

Lee Abbey to Wooden Gate
Lee Abbey to Wooden Gate

Start point: 51.2269 lat, -3.8657 long
End point: 51.2271 lat, -3.8613 long

Go through the gate and walk up the farm track. Be on the lookout for a footpath on your left. You will be getting close when you come across woodland on your left, at this point there will still be fields on your right. The footpath is recognisable as a steep incline going up the bank and into the woodland, it has stone slabs set into the earth forming steps. You will have gone too far if you enter woodland with trees to both sides of the farm track. Take this footpath and walk up the steep incline through the woodland until you come across another farm track cutting across your path. Turn left onto this farm track and continue up the hill. Towards the top, the track exits the woodland and the farm track takes a sharp right turn almost doubling back on itself. The way is signposted as a bridleway going to Six Acre Cross, but we will take the footpath signposted as going to Lynton via South Cliff indicated by the yellow arrow. The footpath leads up the hill to a wooden gate and Waypoint 3.

Wooden Gate to Hill Top
Wooden Gate to Hill Top

Start point: 51.2271 lat, -3.8613 long
End point: 51.2278 lat, -3.8544 long

Go through the gate. There is an interesting inscription on the other side of the gate, it reads ‘You will call your walls salvation, and your gates praise’. Continue up the path that quickly becomes very steep and winds its way up the hillside to the top where the path levels off at Waypoint 4. There is no denying this is a tough climb, the worst on the route. But you will be rewarded with amazing views of the coast and of the valley and Abbey below.

Hill Top to Woodland
Hill Top to Woodland

Start point: 51.2278 lat, -3.8544 long
End point: 51.228 lat, -3.845 long

Beyond Waypoint 4 the path eventually starts to go downhill. There are a number of benches to sit and rest and take in the view across the Valley of Rocks. If you are lucky, mountain goats may be seen nimbly jumping and cavorting around the rocky outcrops. Continue your descent down this path. The car park and Mother Meldrums Tea Gardens can be clearly seen below you. Eventually you will come to a wooden gate. Pass through the gate and enter woodland, keep to the footpath and arrive at a junction. Right is signposted to Lynton, left is signposted to Valley of Rocks. Take the left turn to continue the walk.

Woodland to End
Woodland to End

Start point: 51.228 lat, -3.845 long
End point: 51.2319 lat, -3.8465 long

Continue through the woodland, passing a cemetery below on your right. The woodland ends at a wooden gate. Go through the gate into an open area. You will see the road you travelled down to get to the car park on your right across an open field. Beyond the road you will see a small brick building; this is a shelter where the footpath meets the road. From here it is a short walk back along the road to the Mother Meldrums Tea Gardens and the car park beyond.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2017 by iFootpath and the author Amentura 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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