Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Exmoor walks with a railway theme

We recommend two excellent little books of walks from stations along the West Somerset Railway (see details below). Most of the walks are not particularly long, so are ideal for us when we have an afternoon off! Here are some we’ve done recently.

Moorland path, Woodcombe, North Hill
The South West Coastal Path begins at Minehead (marked by a sculpture of a giant pair of hands holding an equally gigantic map) and there are several other good walks from the town too. This is an easy one of about 5 miles which you can start from the railway station or the centre of town; it goes through The Parks area, up past the ancient farmstead at Bratton Court, via woods and moorland to Woodcombe and back down the hill from Higher Town to the town centre.

On the beach near Blue Anchor
Blue Anchor, Carhampton and Dunster
We combined two walks from the books, to make one of approximately 6 miles. Starting from the station end of Blue Anchor Bay, we walked parallel to the railway line for a short way before branching off through the fields to Carhampton. Then up to the top of the village and via the Deer Park to Dunster. Through Dunster, down the hill to Dunster Station and the beach; follow the seafront path all the way back to Blue Anchor.

Near Chapel Cleeve

Washford, Old Cleeve and Kentsford

This one is a little over 4 miles. Starting from Washford station, you follow the route of the old Monk’s Path for part of the walk; there is also an old sunken lane, some road and track walking and a woodland path. Take some time to look around the church at Old Cleeve, which is utterly charming. Eventually you’ll end up on the trackbed of the Old Mineral Line, from where you can walk back to Washford or, if you prefer, on to Watchet.

These walks are all taken from:
Country Walks from West Somerset Railway Stations
Some more Country Walks from West Somerset Railway Stations
By Audrey & Ron Short; updated by Malcolm & Natalie Short
Pub. West Somerset Railway Association
Available from the Buffer Stop shop at Minehead station
We have a copy here of both books here at Exmoor House; guests are welcome to borrow them during their stay with us.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Summer on Exmoor and why we would take a holiday here

Here in the heart of Exmoor National Park we don’t really have what you might think of the as the normal ‘tourist season’. So there are no traffic jams on the roads and it’s unusual to see crowds of people. Exmoor is a lovely, relaxing destination for all seasons and could absorb many more visitors without seeming crowded at all. I keep banging the drum about this, and for good reason: quite a few people have told us that they’ve avoided visiting in July and August because they thought that everywhere would be too busy and all the Exmoor accommodation would be fully booked. It ain’t necessarily so, folks!

Would we holiday here, if we weren’t already lucky enough to live in this beautiful area? Well yes, we would. Here are just a few reasons why:

The pace of life is relaxed – Exmoor is a real escape from everyday stress.

There is a remarkable range of excellent accommodation (including Exmoor House Wheddon Cross) and great places to eat (including, again, Exmoor House Wheddon Cross!).

Exmoor is astoundingly lovely, with an incredible variety of scenery: from wild coastline, to rolling farmland, to pretty villages, to pleasingly bleak moorland.

There is plenty to do: visit National Trust and English Heritage properties, enjoy some fantastic walking, cycling and mountain biking (you can hire an electric bike from if you want to make the ride a bit easier), fishing, golf, horse riding, some great attractions (although, hooray, no theme parks – who needs them when we’re surrounded by such real-life beauty?)… and a range of festivals and other events take place during the year. For more ideas, visit 

OK, so we know the English weather is never entirely predictable – but that’s just part of the fun. You can see some of my suggestions for things to do on a rainy day at

If you need another reason to visit Exmoor, here’s a great incentive: the Exmoor Guineas promotion. Find some excellent special offers at - including some from - er – Exmoor House Wheddon Cross.

If you’ve never been to Exmoor, now is an excellent time to visit. If you have, then you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Take a look at our facebook page for photos of things to see and do on Exmoor, some of our favourite walks, and more: