walking on exmoor
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You may find this information helpful when researching the area prior to your visit
exmoor is moorland at its most benign. A few miles off, across an intervening vale, the Quantocks are a separate range of low hills, some forty square miles in extent, gently rounded and covered in bracken. Both are worthy of exploration while walking on exmoor. Together they comprise the cream of North Devon’s walking country.
During bad weather and with bad map-reading, it is possible to get lost on exmoor, but the remaining areas of wide, open more are now relatively small. Roads are frequent and one can park a car within 200 yards of the highest point, Dunkery Beacon. Paths are plentiful. There is thorough signposting by the exmoor National Park and a number of ‘permissive’ paths exist, opened by the owners as a special concession, to supplement rights of way.
The first walk to explore when walking on exmoor is easy, only three and a half miles, and gives an impression of exmoor’s past appearance – modern farming methods make only a muffled intrusion. Once discovered, the tranquillity of Three Combes Food is long remembered. The five and a half kilometre walk crosses moorland, includes one climb, and usually mud, and is best appreciated in at least fair visibility for walking on exmoor.
Driving from the A39 at the top of Porlock Hill, take the Exford road. Drive for two and a half miles, or four kilometres to Lucott Cross, where you turn right and continue for three quarters of a mile to the cattle grid. Park by the roadside east of the cattle grid.
The walking on exmoor experience begins going through the gate in the direction signposted for Doone Valley and continue straight on for five hundred yards to the gate opening on to farm track. Turn right onto track through the next gate to follow boundary bank on right. As trees appear half left about a quarter of a mile away, veer off towards them across open moorland, passing through gap in crumbling boundary bank and arriving at trees, part of the ‘stell’ at the foot of the Three Combes. Continue walking on exmoor by crossing the footbridge immediately below trees to the right, then cross another bridge another fifty yards further on, and another thirty yards to the left, which crosses Chalk Water. Climb the track, re-passing the stell down to left, and in a hundred and fifty yards fork right, walking on exmoor, climbing steeply. As the path levels out, a small barrow and some standing stones are reached. Veer left walking on exmoor towards an old boundary bank, avoiding boggy ground to the left and heading for trees surrounding Larkbarrow ruins. Walk through ruins to farm track. Turn left, to follow the track to the gate at the beginning of the walk, and retrace steps across the moor, walking on exmoor heading for right end of trees on skyline. The route is through the former exmoor Forest or royal hunting ground, sold in 1818 to the Knight family, who planted most of the mature trees seen today while walking on exmoor forest. The remains of the unfinished 19th century railway from Simonsbath to Porlock can be seen. The stell that you see while walking on exmoor forest path is a round, stone-faced earthen bank surmounted by beeches, and was built as a shelter for sheep. Red deer abound in this part of exmoor so while walking on exmoor be sure to keep an eye out! Larkbarrow farm is now a pile of stones because it was in the centre of a gunnery range in the 1939-45 war. The area was finally cleared of unexploded missiles only in 1981.