Above the Valley of Rocks.

Start. Valley of Rocks car park.

Route. Valley of Rocks car park - Lynton and Lynmouth Cricket Club - Lynton Cemetery - South Cleave - Six Acre Wood - Lee Abbey - Castle Rock - Yellow Stone - The Warren - Lynton and Lynmouth Cricket Club - Valley of Rocks car park.

Notes. Oh to be in Devon in the summer time, the rain was falling, the wind was howling and the roads were fast morphing into rivers, the weather forecast promised a short respite mid afternoon, with this vital piece of information at hand we decided to visit Lynton and Lynmouth, christened by our Victorian forefathers “England’s Little Switzerland.” Two towns linked by a water powered cliff railway, built in 1890 to transport people and goods from the dock at Lynmouth to Lynton, 500ft along a 862ft railway (steep). When the weather improved we'd visit the Valley of Rocks, don the walking boots and explore this unique place. Geologists surmise this dry valley was cut by the West Lyn River at the end of the last ice age, what they know for sure is the valley marks the southern edge of glaciation in Britain.

With names like Castle Rock, Rugged Jack and Chimney Rock who can resist a wander through the Valley of Rocks, 90% of visitors that’s who, yours truly, my wife Sue and the other 10% take a walk above the valley, we alone got to enjoy stunning views over serrated ridges of weather scarred rock, we alone saw storms sweeping in over the Devonshire coast and magical plays of light dancing across the Atlantic Ocean, it's a short walk why not join us you won't be disappointed.

We parked on the main car park under the slopes of Rugged Jack, a short walk back up the road followed passing Mother Meldrum's Tea Room, named after a witch that once lived in the valley. At the far end of the cricket pitch a finger-post on our right invited us to Lynton, we followed this path behind the public toilets then picnic area before entering woodland. An easy climb between moss covered dry stone walls followed, after passing the cemetery a path emerged from our right, this we followed escaping the woods onto the airy heights above the valley. With wonderful views to the secluded bays of Lee and Woody we continued west a green path under foot, eventually to be guided down hill and deposited into Six Acre Wood.

A couple of hundred yards of easy walking followed, when a narrow path crossed the forest track we turned right, we descended a few steps allowing access to a path leading to a fenced track running between cow pastures, this in turn led to Lee Abbey, built around 1850 this Gothic pile is owned and run by the Lee Abbey Christian Community, even if you shun religion you can't help but admire this beautiful building in a wonderful tranquil setting. A short walk up the road the car waited patiently, first Sue found the need to ascend Castle Rock, it was certainly worth the effort, then she insisted on walking the stretch of coastal path that leads behind Rugged Jack and Middle Gate, it may be tarmac but the views are magical and the drops precipitous, when a path emerged from the right signed Lynton and Hollerday Hill we followed it, climbing steeply before descending past the cricket field to re-trace our steps back to the car.

view route map.


Mentioned in the text above, off our route today but worth a quick visit, the Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway.

Heading through the Valley of Rocks, listen to this "covered with huge stones the very bones and skeletons of the earth, rock reeling upon rock, stone piled upon stone, a huge terrific mass". Robert Southey, English poet of the Romantic school, one of the so-called "Lake Poets" and Poet Laureate, I guess with credentials like that we can forgive him for the slight exaggeration, it is a classy piece of writing though.

Sue ascends through ancient woodland.

Our route ahead.

A clearing in the trees gifts us with views over Hollerday Hill and The Warren.

Lynton seen from the same clearing.

Clear of the trees with views over the Valley of Rocks, from left to right, Ragged Jack, Middle Gate and Chimney Rock, across the path rising to the right Hollerday Hill.

Stunning views down the coast with Castle Rock dominating the scene.

Viewing Woody Bay backed by Wringapeak and The Cow and Calf with Highveer Point in the distance.

Looking to Castle Rock.

Seen from the edge of Six Acre Wood, Lee Bay and Crock Point.

Dating back to 1850 although some parts of the building look much older than that, Lee Abbey.

Viewing Lee Bay as a belt of rain sweeps in off the sea.

The Devil's Chimney and Mother Meldrum's Cave, Mother Meldrum featured in RD Blackmoor's Lorna Doone, it is believed she is based on Aggie Norman a witch who lived in the valley in the 19th century.

Views out to sea from near the summit of Castle Rock.

Sue soaks up views from Castle Rock.

Ragged Jack, Hollerday Hill and the Valley of Rocks all seen from Castle Rock, the grey ribbon on the left is the stretch of coastal path we're about to follow.

Breath-taking views down the coast from the precipitous slopes of Middle Gate.

On safer ground looking over the valley, in the trees to the left Mother Meldrum's Tea Room, go on you've earned one.

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