Exploring Exmoor and North Devon

Out and About around North Molton and Exmoor

North Molton is a medium sized village on the edge of Exmoor, steeped in history and folklore and was a major centre for mining and wool in the centuries past. Today, the village still retains a large agricultural base and has retained much of its traditional character. The village is a well known start point for visiting Exmoor due to its excellent access to the North Devon link road. The locals are welcoming and the Poltimore Inn is seen as the main focal point for the village community.

Exmoor pony and foal
typical Exmoor valley
Exmoor fauna

If you are looking for a walking base, the Poltimore Inn is the perfect location. In fact, the pub has its own guide with six different walks that start and finish at the pub. They range in distance from 6km to 15km and all are by roads and well signposted footpaths. Walk alongside the river and streams, over the moorland and along country lanes, it is always peaceful here, even in the summer.

There are many walks nearby that are accessed by car, Simonsbath, Withypool and Winsford all provide a great base to explore the moor. Exmoor is a fascinating space, there isn’t always a need for a structured walk here because the moorland is open and criss-crossed with paths made by the livestock and ponies that roam free. There are plenty of locations where you can literally park your car, get out and just walk.

Simonsbath is a beautiful place to stop as a base for a walk, alongside the river Barle. Tarr Steps is also one of the more popular tourist locations, it doesn’t really get busy though even in the height of the summer and there is also a beautiful walk alongside the river. The walk from Lynmouth to Watersmeet is well worth a drive, quiet and set in ‘little Switzerland’ with some great places to eat in Lynmouth.

North coast of Exmoor
Exmoor pony and sheep grazing
Valley of the rocks on Exmoor

Exford is also a beautiful village to visit, it has a gorgeous village green and is a focal point for fishing and equine activities on the moor. Wimbleball Lake is well worth the visit, not only for the walking but there are also a range of activities at the lake from including canoeing, paddle boarding and even wheelyboat hire.  If you want a really stunning walk, try the South West Coastal path, accessed from various locations on the north coast, really well worth the visit.

Nearby, South Molton is a few miles away and is a great farming town to visit. It has a market on Thursday and Saturdays. Unlike many other retail locations, South Molton is thriving, offering a mixture of high quality food shops from traditional foods to more exotic. The town has developed in recent years but the centre has remained very much the same in terms of its character and feeling.

Barnstaple is about 15 miles along the link road and it is the commercial centre for the area. This is also the gateway to the beautiful beaches of North Devon that are a haven for holiday makers. Saunton, Croyde, Putsborough, Woolacombe and Westward Ho! are the main beaches, all accessed via Barnstaple. They are very popular and busy during the summer months and for good reason. The water quality is very good, the beaches have great reputations for surfing and are ideal for families.

winter in Exmoor
ponies grazing on Exmoor
views of the moorland