What A Walk!
Spooky Valleys, Dancing streams
Views to Remember Forever!
Dancing Streams on Exmoor
The West Lyn River
flowing down to Lynmouth
Ingleside - Lynbridge - Summerhouse Hill - Myrtleberry Cleave - Watersmeet - Rockford - Wilsham - Countisbury - Watersmeet - Lynmouth - Ingleside
What a walk! .... Spooky valleys, dancing streams, views to remember forever, noisy wildlife, superb cream teas...what else can you ask for?
Now I did this walk early May, (I am not a born walker, I'm basically a "Mondeo Man" & love driving,) but I was stunned by the pleasure this walk gave me. I am a convert.
The Walk: From Ingleside you walk through Lynton and opposite the Valley Of Rocks Hotel you head down Queen Street, past the Crown Hotel (good pub food) and up the steep Sinai Hill. About 100 yards on you will find a signpost on the left to Lynbridge. Take this level path and you walk past Sinai House, peeking down to Lynmouth and the gorge below, the path then becomes pedestrian only and carries on for about half a mile or so until it dips down to Lynbridge itself. Here, you cross the road, go past the Cottage Inn and cross the river by the bridge by the Inn. Sunny Lyn campsite is on your right.
Peeking down into Lynmouth
This is really where the walk begins.
Turn left after crossing the bridge over the West Lyn looking at the suspended car park next to the pub, and follow the signs to Watersmeet. The path climbs and you get good views of Lynbridge with its houses and hotels scattered randomly on the opposite side of the river. The path then zig zags a bit and eventually you get out into the open and there it is, one of the most vibrant views in the Southwest. You see the village of Lynton across the valley, down below Lynmouth and the harbour, across the sea to Wales, to the right is Countisbury and looking along the valley the path to Watersmeet.
Sit or stand on the bench, take pictures, but please just enjoy the moment. It does not happen very often and if you have not seen this view then capture it. This is why the poets years ago came here ... for inspiration.
Now you walk along the top of Watersmeet Valley. Do not take a left hand fork which takes you down to Lynmouth. Lynton and Lynmouth fade from view, and aspects are changing. You get the opportunity to look down along the whole of the Watersmeet Valley, seeing the toy cars weaving below, disappearing into green, the valley side opposite where you spot other walkers - wondering if they are looking at you.
Watersmeet Valley with
Lynmouth in the distance
Opposite you also see Wind Hill, and bird songs chime in your ears. Down you go, down Oxen Tor, over a brook, then back up following the valley top. Signpost down to Watersmeet - take it? The refreshments enticed me down although there was the signpost to Hillsford Bridge which tempted me. Down past Myrtleberry Cleave, the old Iron Age settlement, past a field of bluebells, down some steps and eventually to the A39. Cross the road, take the footpath through the National Trust employees' car park and down into Watersmeet House National Trust. Here take a break, stand on the bridges watching the waterfalls, have a rest, and enjoy the atmosphere.
Watersmeet House National Trust
On leaving Watersmeet Tea Rooms cross the bridge, and turn left, following the signpost to Rockford. Walking along the river, passing a cave and a bit further on where you will find an old stone building, which was once an important industry, a lime kiln (I wonder if Exmoor National Park would give planning permission for this now!).
Carry on, through Barton Wood, then cross the river by the wooden bridge, again following the signage to Rockford. Beautiful waterside walking. Eventually you will come out at Rockford village. Explore this picturesque village, maybe have a drink in the Rockford Inn but on leaving take the signpost to Wilsham. This gradient is long and unrelenting, but take a break, sit down and recharge the batteries! The woodland scenery is captivating.
Once you come out of the wooded canopies at the top of the hill you come upon green fields and open views again. On entering a field which says "cross at your own risk". I wondered what may be the problem .... charging bulls, rampant adders, or scary locals ..... but half way through the field appearing over a crest were a herd of 15 deer! They stared at me, I stared at them: I moved forward towards them, they moved away from me. I took a reasonable photo, (they didn't have a camera) but what a sight to come across.
"Here's looking at yu', kid!"
Past Wilsham Farm, down a gully, cross the small stream, and up the other side, over Holden Head, and continue over the crest of the hill. Looking opposite you can see Myrtleberry Iron Age Settlement and the path which was taken down to Watersmeet earlier in the day. A "grand view" as they say, looking over Watersmeet, Summerhouse, Countisbury and back towards Rockford and Brendon.
A little further on we come to the cattle grid on the A39, with the signpost "Countisbury Hill, Gradient 1 in 4 at bottom." Walk along the A39 towards Countisbury village which you see on the right. Visit the fascinating church, but be careful along the road as there is no footpath. After a couple of hundred yards there is a gate on the left off the main road which reads "Watersmeet via Trilly Ridge". This path takes you across some open fields, dropping all the time; then through the weird spooky woods of Exmoor, then the path zig zags down after going across the ridge. The path then descends further into the Watersmeet Valley and a short distance on is Watersmeet Tea Rooms again.
Woodland Walking on the zig zag path
from Countisbury down to Watersmeet
From here you can either take the Woodland or the river Walk to Lynmouth. To take the Woodland Walk stick to the right hand side of the river, to take the Riverside Walk cross the bridge and take the left hand side. Both are lovely. After two miles, along some of the prettiest walking in the country, you will come to the outskirts of Lynmouth, with steep gorges either side opening out to the harbour and sea in front of you. Go through Lynmouth and head towards the Cliff Railway.
Now, a decision has to be made. Be a true walker and walk up the zigzag path to Lynton (next to the railway), or take the lift...! It is up to you. However, once in Lynton, follow your nose along Lee Road to the Town Hall and take the last bracing steps to Ingleside.
You may also like to see some of the views from Ingleside or have a look at some of the wonderful scenery in this part of North Devon in our Photo Galleries: