Thursday, 13 July 2017

Hunter's Inn to Lynton (South West Coast Path 100)

The Hunter's Inn

We set out from the Hunter's Inn and re-traced the last part of yesterday's walk before resuming the Coast Path at the bottom of the Heddon Valley. Soon we came to the stone bridge over the River Heddon and began the long climb up the other side of the valley.

As we approached Heddon Mouth, there was a great view down to it.

At the top we passed inland of Highveer Point and had our forst view of the next section of coast, bounded by Foreland Point in the distance. Lynmouth and Lynton lie in the bay before it.

As we advanced, we noticed this interesting holed rock.

Now we were forced inland and were delighted to come on this waterfall.

The next section was through woods, but eventually a nice view across Woody Bay presented itself.

We joined a tarmac track inland through the small settlement of Woody Bay and left it at this rather wonderful sign, now heading towards New Zealand!

Soon there was a choice between a road option and a track option. Naturally, we took the latter and headed down towards the coast again. It was surprising how overgrown the field path was. After a while we began to glimpse this watch tower on the hill over Crock Point and eventually managed a half-decent pic of it.

We descended into the hamlet of Lee and enjoyed refreshments at the delightful cafe in its lovely garden. The route continued up the hill and past Lee Abbey, a Christian community, not an actual abbey.

The site was originally owned by the Cistercians at Forde Abbey and seems to have been rebuilt or extended in Victorian times. In the 1920s it became a hotel, at which time the main extensions were built. During the Second World War it became a boys' school, and in 1945 was acquired by the Christian Fellowship.

Just as you leave the Abbey grounds you enter the extraordinary Valley of Rocks. There is a curving rocky slope on the landward side, parallel to the sea and two very dramatic rocks on the seaward side. The OS map names them as Castle Rock and Rugged Jack, which seems pretty reaonable.

The far side of Castle Rock has some vaguely human or animal shapes: the one on the right suggested a Teenage Ninja Turtle to me.

Rugged Jack was truly impressive - note the small figures on the left hand side.

Now we followed the tarmac path which leads to Lynton for about a mile. It clearly offered a delightful excursion from the town. There was some evidence of goats on the path and just towards the end we discovered one of the culprits.

We were staying in a hotel right on the path so the walk ended soon afterwards.

Conditions: Warm and sunny.
Distance: 7.3 miles.
Map: Explorer OL 9 (Exmoor).
Grading:  Strenuous.
Rating: four stars. Started and finished really well, but the section around Woody Bay was less enjoyable.

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