Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Drive of So Many Delights

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Drive of So Many Delights

Article excerpt

The latest route in our latest series of Great Drives, in association with the AA, combines dramatic coastline and stone villages in Devon and Somerset with the lonely expanses of Exmoor.

It is quite a long tour, totalling 133 miles, but a varied and memorable one, combining dramatic coastline and stone villages in Devon and Somerset with the lonely expanses of Exmoor.

The starting point is the coastal town of Lynton, from which you take the B3234 dropping steeply into Lynmouth (1), where the cliff railway provides a twin railcar link with Lynton.

Leave on the A39 towards Barnstaple, turn left onto the B3223 signposted Simonsbat, then immediately left again up a narrow steep road through Rockford and Brendon to Malmsmead (2).

Here the East Lyn is a rocky stream and a walk up the valley of the tributary, Badgworthy Water, reveals some of the best of Exmoor and the legendary Lorna Doone country.

Take the unclassified road, then join the A39 to Porlock (3) and admire the thatched cottages fringing the tiny harbour of Porlock Weir.

Just off the main road are Bossington, where the Exmoor Falconry and Animal Farm is a must for family outings, and the delightful village of Selworthy. Return to the A39 and turn left towards Minehead, then right to secluded Luccombe (4). From nearby Wootton Courtenay, turn north to rejoin the A39 and continue to Minehead (5) where the harbour and large expanse of sand made the town a tourist magnet and attracted a Butlins holiday camp.

A little further on Dunster Castle looks out over the quaint town with its 16th-century yarn market. Next follow the A39, then the B3191 towards Blue Anchor and Watchet (6).

The poet Samuel Coleridge found the main character for his epic The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in this historic seaport. Three miles south near Washford is Cleeve Abbey, founded by Cistercian monks in 1198. …

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