Autumn on Exmoor

Exmoor is so easy to fall in love with and in the soft light of Autumn the muted colours of the moors are just as beautiful, maybe more so, as in Spring, Summer or Winter. Whatever the weather you will enjoy scenery that will take your breath away. I recently enjoyed 4 glorious days centred around Porlock, rich in history and nature, but also a pretty working village.

Glen Lodge B&BWe stayed in a newly constructed loft apartment at the wonderful Glen Lodge. This luxury B&B has two self-catering apartments, recently renovated from an old stable block, full of character and charm and tastefully decorated. We were welcomed by our hosts, Meryl and David, and given the option of breakfast up at the lodge each morning. We gratefully accepted and it was a wise decision as we enjoyed a fabulous spread that set us up for the day. I had a peek at the guest rooms at the lodge and each one of them is thoughtfully decorated with most having wonderful views from enormous Victorian sash windows. The addition of a hot tub, in the extensive and very beautiful gardens, was a real winner!

The Apple Loft self catering apartment - Glen LodgeYou can walk directly from the Lodge into Hawkcombe Woods, or along the river and up onto the moor. The main village of Porlock, just half a mile down a pretty lane, is where you will find pubs, coffee shops and tea rooms offering plenty of choice for your evening meal. We enjoyed a wonderful salad and pizza at The Mandala. Book early as they only have 6 tables, but they also offer a take away service. The pizzas are freshly cooked using homemade dough with a huge choice of toppings. Salads are delicious and innovative using local produce where possible and resulting in a wonderful combination of flavours.

Walking is the number one activity for most visitors to Exmoor and a relatively easy hike is across the Porlock Marshes to the ancient harbour of Porlock Weir. The route takes in part of the South West Coast Path and is well marked with views in every direction; across the Bristol Channel to Wales, Culbone Hill to the West and Bossington Hill to the East. Porlock Weir has a small harbour with a smattering of shops, a popular pub, The Bottom Ship Inn, and a cluster of very photogenic 17th century cottages.

Beautiful display at Miles Coffee RoasteryFor longer hikes the famous Coleridge Way stretches for 51 miles through gorgeous countryside from the Quantock Hills to Exmoor and is well marked. 

When you have had enough of walking an interesting morning can be spent learning about coffee production at Miles Coffee Roasters in the centre of Porlock. It is easy to find as you just follow the rich aroma of roasting coffee beans that drifts across the street. Here you can watch the process from bean to bag followed by the chance to sample some flavours and buy a selection of their award winning products. See details of tour times and dates.

Discover Safaris of ExmoorBack to the great outdoors and during our short stay we enjoyed a morning on Exmoor with Richard Growden from Discovery Safaris. This was a real adventure as Richard drove us around in his customised Land Rover Defender, on and off road with plenty of thrills along the way as we careered up and down hills and over the moors. Richard is a wealth of knowledge on both the history and wildlife of Exmoor and kept us spellbound with stories and anecdotes whilst taking us to hidden places we would never have found on our own. A highlight being, spotting red deer silhouetted against the skyline, a small herd with a formidable stag in charge. 

Porlock BeachA short drive along the picturesque coastal road you will find the twin towns of Lynton and Lynmouth. Conveniently linked by the historic Cliff railway that carries passengers up an almost vertical cliff face, powered by water, and affording amazing views along the way. We travelled up from Lynmouth to Lynton and stopped for a delicious cream tea at the Cliff Top Café, before spending an enjoyable afternoon exploring the arts and crafts shops of Lynton. Finally, a stroll along the cliff path to the famous Valley of the Rocks, working our way back to Lynton and finally via a steep hill down into Lynmouth.

Arriving back into Lynmouth you will find the excellent Visitor Centre where frequent local exhibitions are held and where you can pick up a selection of information about the area. Top tip – before you wave goodbye to Lynmouth pick up a warm pasty and sit on the harbour wall to eat it – what could be nicer?

Exmoor ponyOur few days on Exmoor in early November where a real treat and it is good to remember, when in the UK, that there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes!

For a wealth of information about Exmoor go to www.visit-exmoor.co.uk

If you don’t want to go it alone, why not join our recommended partner HF Holidays, the leading walking and activity holiday provider, voted number one in Which?  Enjoy a 3 night Guided Walking holiday to Exmoor. Prices start from £285 per person and include full board en-suite accommodation, a programme of guided walks with all transport to and from the walks and experienced mountain leaders. To book call or request to a brochure call 0345 470 7558 or visit www.hfholidays.co.uk 

Silver Travel Advisor recommends HF Holidays

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Sally Dowling

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