A Weekend in Exmoor, England
Sitting between Somerset and Devon, is Exmoor national park. With steep-sided valleys and russet-hued moorland dotted by solitary trees that have been twisted and contorted by the wind. A red deer, sporting a crown of antlers, may emerge from the mist; a brooding Raven May flap moodily by. Above all Exmoor feels like a real country escape. The landscape is shaped by thousands of years of farming and inhabited by people who have lived and worked here all their lives. Blessed with a network of footpaths, ancient bridleways and lanes, it’s easy to explore and combines wilderness with indulgent treats.
Teetering on the north coast of Exmoor, seemingly poised to tumble into the sea, is a jagged boulders and peaks known as Valley of Rocks. Walk along the Victorian path that straddles their seaward faces or, or for a adventurous undertaking, you can crawl up the rocks that rise abruptly above the lush green landscape. Look out for the feral goats that nimbly pick their way along the steepest slopes.
Step back in time onboard the Cliff Railway, that connects the twin towns of Lynton and Lynmouth. This working heritage railway dates back to 1888, and is one of just three fully water-powered railways left in the world. Two cars with water-operated brakes wheeze and groan their way up and down a dizzying cliff facet.
Explore the Dunkery Beacon, which sits at 1,705ft above sea level and the highest point on Exmoor. On a clear day, it feels as though you can see all of South West England from its broad summit.
You can stay at the Dunkery Beacon Country House. It sits in a valley to the north of Dunkery Beacon, this small hotel has an intriguing history as a Cold War bolthole for British spies. A glass of wine here is a perfect end to a romp on the moors.