About the Exmoor coast and country area of North Devon
The western and central coast of Exmoor is the highest coastline in Great Britain. Many of the hills are over 1,000 feet high. The National Trust own and maintain 20 miles of this glorious coastline and in several cases miles inland up wooded valleys. This is some of England's finest walking country. Wooded combes with rushing rivers, maelstroms and waterfalls, wild flowers in abundance, red deer and Exmoor ponies, bloomin' heather and gorse, unpolluted airs and fronding lichens. Whatever the weather, whichever the season, this is a wondrous world of natural beauty - a joy even in the snows of winter. Gentle drives along unfenced moorland roads, occasionally stopping for a stroll, picturesque villages with cricket greens and cream teas, country hotels offering stabling for horses, countrymen's pubs sporting hunting trophies beside blazing log fires. This is old England at its best.
A walk from Woody Bay (free carpark) via the lower coast path westwards to Hunters Inn, for a ploughman's lunch and half a cider, then back on the higher path, once a road for horse-drawn coaches - you may see a horse trough or two - past the old roman signal station is an enjoyable and relatively easy introduction to the splendours of this part of the world. The walk totals four and a half miles, and should take about an hour and a quarter each way. Don't do it in a strong or gusting north-westerly wind.
The Hunters Inn
Heddon Valley (NT), one of the great romantic inns of Exmoor, risen like a phoenix from the ashes of indifference, once again offering excellent dishes at a broad range of prices. Potent cider - watch out! This part of Exmoor's magnificent coastline is glorious walking country - use Hunters Inn as a lunch stop or make a circular walk ending with an evening at the Hunters'.
The Royal Oak
Withypool, Exmoor. One of the great "countryman's" pubs of Exmoor. Roaring fires in winter - walls bedecked with hunting trophies. Very popular for Sunday lunches. Limited carpark.