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Thread: Best day hikes - Exmoor National Park

  1. #1
    Mini Goon
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    Best day hikes - Exmoor National Park

    Hey guys,

    We are headed to Cornwall/Somerset for a few days next week and are hoping to spend a couple nights in Exmoor. Any tips/suggestions for day hikes? We really want to take it some of the 'dramatic cliffs and coastlines' we've heard so much about but are having trouble finding any that aren't just out and back's online.

    We'll also be down near Lizard point in cornwall for a few days, and coming up via Bude to Exmoor, so any suggestions for hikes down there well received also!

    As always, hugely grateful! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Mini Goon
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    P.s I do have access to OS Maps online but the ones on there are HUGE!

  3. #3
    Initiate Toot's Avatar
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    So is it day walks you're looking for on a circular route and taking in cliffs (start and end at same place on same day), or start one place and finish at another that day with an overnight stay at the finishing point before going on from there next day? Do you need transport links at day end or next day? Not sure if you'll have your car y'see, or you'll be relying on foot/public transport.

    Not familiar with the Lizard, but if you were to think of the coast anywhere from say Padstow to Hartland that's my back yard living in Bude and I can think of several circulars to do from a parked car with return to it from places between those two most distant points, or several point-A-to-point-B sections if your transport was foot/public only and you were "through-hiking". Trebarwith, Tintagel, Boscastle, Crackington Haven, Millook all stand out South of Bude and Sandymouth, Duckpool, Morwenstow, Spekes Mill, Hartland Quay to the North. North Cornwall coast is as good as coast gets in my book and SWCP covers it all - but be advised Bude to Hartland is reckoned most strenuous part of it.

    Exmoor coast is known in sections from circular day walks so I could come up with a few of those too, but if it's dramatic cliffs and coastlines you want then North Cornwall is the place and all the places I specifically mention are outstanding - worth looking at on a map and knowing your own speed/aims/transport needs I reckon.

    There's a place called Dartmoor down this way reachable by a detour between the Lizard and Exmoor too - plenty of options there including wild-camping permitted on vast parts of it but no seaside bits I'm afraid, so navigation other than keep-the-sea-on-your-left comes into play

  4. #4
    Mini Goon
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    Hi Toot,

    Well we'll have a car and will be staying in Exmoor (probably) at a campsite.

    Would be great if you could recommend any in Bude. I think either out and back's that aren't too long or circulars are the best options for us. We can go to 11+miles per walk/day but honestly I think it would be better time wise to keep them to around 6-10miles. Dartmoor looked a bit flat for our tastes this time around. Would be great to see some dramatic coast lines for sure. We will probably only have time to do one or two big walks while we're there, but might be better doing a few smaller ones instead.

    Looking forward to hearing about any you can suggest Thanks in advance.

  5. #5
    Mini Goon
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    If you could let us know a few circular walks in the North Cornwall areas you mentioned and maybe a couple of really worth doing ones in Exmoor that would be ace. We don't HAVE to go to Exmoor but it looks like somewhere we'd really like to go if we can so will probably head up that way. Would be great to do some great walks in the dramatic areas though too like you mentioned

  6. #6
    Initiate Toot's Avatar
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    Public transport on the North Cornwall coast to Bude is pretty good for such a sparsely populated area and starts usefully early in the day - there is a Saturday, Sunday and even Bank Holiday service which is astonishing in the Land That Time Forgot! North of Bude to Westward Ho!, public transport to suit coast walkers is practically non-existent by comparison. See the First Kernow 95 and 96 bus service times, with Tintagel Visitor Centre, Boscastle, Crackington Haven, Widemouth Bay (Beach House) and Bude (the Strand) stops being of most likely interest for your purposes. https://www.visitbude.info/bus-timet...bus-timetable/ The public transport makes a coastal walk from A-B in North Cornwall an attractive possibility without need for a car.

    Campsite in Bude? I'd recommend Upper Lynstone Caravan & Camping site - overlooking the town, on-site facilities, within a few hundred metres of the coast path with easy access by foot, short access by road or foot to the town. Upper Lynstone is head-and-shoulders above others in convenience for your purposes. Trip Advisor reports are very good, and I'm not surprised. If you're looking for hotel or B&B let me know and I'll PM you, but be advised it's a popular area so on-the-hoof availability may be limited.

    Note is made of your walking distance preferences. I'd say that five miles on this coastline can take the time and effort of ten miles elsewhere! The high cliffs and wooded valleys in North Cornwall and North Devon mean a lot of up-and-down and it's steep in many places. The reward is outstanding views - assuming there's no weather like that which has cast hundreds of vessels ashore on this coast ("From Pentire Point to Hartland Light is a watery grave by day or night" - old mariners rhyme).

    There are many coastal walk choices to ponder - do them all would be the best advice! SWCP website will give you an idea of the many options available with Bude as the search centre; http://www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/search/?q=Bude. The website www.iwalkcornwall.co.uk is a lesser known resource than SWCP related ones, but very good for the North Cornwall area you'll be in. I find navigation more straightforward along the North Cornwall coast than on coastal Exmoor, partly due to less paths inland and also a lack of woodland in comparison - the route along the cliffs in North Cornwall will certainly be seen stretching before you.

    Tintagel to Boscastle 5.5 miles, Boscastle to Crackington Haven 6.7 miles are reasonably easy to suggest and fit your vista and distance wishes - putting those routes into a search engine should bring up lots of detail, they have spectacular far-reaching views, cliffs including the highest in Cornwall, and other attractive features. navigation is simple. Exploration of Tintagel or of Boscastle could eat up hours of a day - with a walk-focused mind it would be possible to do Tintagel to Crackington in one go, but you'd know you had! Crackington Haven to Bude 8.5 miles would also be a "fair lerrup" as they say in these parts, but with none of the tourist traps of the previous places. Your legs would again know you had been for a walk, but in this latter instance at least there are gentle parts between Widemouth Bay and Bude and you could cut those off by using the bus. In all cases my preference is for South to North travel. There are several five-mile or so circular walks around Bude which include coastline, all well signed and ROW indicated on maps. Go in any direction along cliffs for as far as you like - any link to the Bude Canal will give an easy route back to the town.

    As for Exmoor coast it tends to be an all-or-nothing job, ie; you'll either have to accept you must put a fair effort in to get from A-B, or you're likely to have a shorter and less strenuous circular stroll of which there are plenty. I say this due to topography and less walker-convenient public transport than in the area of Cornwall I mentioned. A LOT of up-and-down work is likely anywhere near the Exmoor coast, A-B distances are likely to be near or exceed your preferred maximum, and public transport to take you back to start point and parked car is sparse. On the other hand there are several circular routes of say five miles or so which can involve a bit of coast and you don't need public transport.

    Most rewarding walk I've had there was Minehead to Ship Inn at Porlock Weir, about 15 miles - great visually but with a lot of well-remembered gradients, and the supposed public transport (10 service) didn't arrive and that caused considerable difficulty. The views remain impressive, as do the inclines. Porlock to Lynmouth is less at 11 miles though still hilly, thus Lynmouth to Minehead may be more attractive. Public transport 309, 310 and seasonal "heritage" 300 services may be of interest. Valley of Rocks at Lynton, including the woodland walk is 6.3 miles, circular and memorable for its views (see SWCP website), but again at the cost of up-and-down travel. Lynton/Lynmouth isn't a bad spot to be based. Porlock to Dunster at 9 miles is also memorable - I found Dunster rather interesting in visual and historic terms.

    i mention what immediately springs to mind and I think no-one can fail to be impressed by. I'll add more in a busy day today as memory suggests - do say if there's something specific you want to know.

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