The Seawood Hotel

Lynton, Exmoor National Park, Devon

Tel : 01598 752 272
Exmoor View

Exmoor National Park

Exmoor was designated a National Park in 1954, the Exmoor National Park is primarily an upland area with a dispersed population of about 10,000 people living mainly in small villages and hamlets. The largest settlements are Porlock, Dulverton, Lynton, and Lynmouth. Lynton and Lynmouth are combined into one parish and are connected by the Lynton and Lynmouth cliff railway.

Exmoor was once a Royal forest and hunting ground, which was sold off in 1818. Several areas within the Exmoor National Park have been declared Sites of Special Scientific Interest due to their flora and fauna. This title earns the site some legal protection from development, damage and neglect. In 1993 an Environmentally Sensitive Area was established within Exmoor.

Recently, Exmoor has also been afforded "Dark Sky Status". There is no light pollution meaning that the night sky can be observed in all of its splendour with constellations, planets or galaxies

The Coastline

Exmoor has 34 miles of coastline, including the highest sea cliffs in England, which reach a height of 314 metres (1,030 ft) at Culbone Hill.

Exmoor's woodlands sometimes reach the shoreline, especially between Porlock and The Foreland, where they form the single longest stretch of coastal woodland in England and Wales.The Exmoor Coastal Heaths have been recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the diversity of plant species present.

The scenery of rocky headlands, ravines, waterfalls and towering cliffs gained the Exmoor coast recognition as a Heritage Coast in 1991. With its huge waterfalls and caves, this dramatic coastline has become an adventure playground for both climbers and explorers. The South West Coast Path, at 630 miles the longest National Trail in England and Wales, starts at Minehead and runs along all of Exmoor's coast where it continues around Cornwall, back to Devon before ending at Poole in Dorset.

There are small harbours at Lynmouth, Porlock Weir and Combe Martin. Once crucial to coastal trade, the harbours are now primarily used for pleasure. The Valley of the Rocks beyond Lynton is a deep dry valley that runs parallel to the nearby sea and is capped on the seaward side by large rocks.

The Coastline at the Valley of the Rocks

The coastline from the Valley of the Rocks

The Coastline at Minehead

The coastline at Minehead

The Valley of Rocks coast

Ragged Jack at the Valley of the Rocks

Flora

Uncultivated heath and moorland cover about a quarter of Exmoor landscape. Some moors are covered by a variety of grasses and sedges, while others are dominated by heather. There are also cultivated areas including the Brendon Hills, which lie in the east of the National Park. There are also 3,000 hectares (7,413 acres) of forestry commission woodland, comprising a mixture of broad-leaved (oak, ash and hazel) and conifer trees. Horner Woodlands and Tarr Steps woodlands are prime examples.

Dark Sky Status

Exmoor National Park has been awarded the first international dark sky reserve in Europe, this is only the second such place in the world. It is possible to go on a safari to learn and observe our night sky

The flora of Exmoor

The view from Dunkery Beacon

Dark Sky

Fauna

Sheep have grazed on the moors for more than 3,000 years, shaping much of the Exmoor landscape by feeding on moorland grasses and heather. North Devon cattle are also farmed in the area.

Exmoor ponies can be seen roaming freely on the moors. They are a landrace rather than a breed of pony, and may be the closest breed to Wild horses remaining in Europe. The ponies are rounded up once a year to be marked and checked over, they are also one of the oldest breeds in the world. In 1818 Sir Richard Acland, the last warden of Exmoor, took thirty ponies and established the Acland Herd, now known as the Anchor Herd, whose direct descendants still roam the moor.In the second World War the moor became a training ground, and the breed was nearly killed off, with only 50 ponies surviving the war.The ponies are classified as endangered by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, with only 390 breeding females left in the UK. In 2006 a Rural Enterprise Grant, administered locally by the South West Rural Development Service, was obtained to create a new Exmoor Pony Centre at Ashwick, at a disused farm with 17 acres of land with a further 140 acres of moorland.

Red deer have a stronghold on the moor and can be seen on quiet hillsides in remote areas, particularly in the early morning. The moorland habitat is also home to hundreds of species of birds and insects. Birds seen on the moor include Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, Eurasian Curlew, European Stonechat, Dipper, Dartford Warbler and Ring Ouzel.

Exmoor Cattle

Cattle on Exmoor

Exmoor Pony

The Exmoor Pony

Exmoor Sheep

The Exmoor Sheep

Buzzard

Buzzard

Goats

Exmoor Goats

Places of Interest

The attractions of Exmoor include 208 monuments, 16 conservation areas, and other open access land. Exmoor receives approximately 1.4 million visitor days per year.Many come to walk on the moors or along waymarked paths such as the Coleridge Way. Attractions on the coast include the Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway, which connects Lynton to neighbouring Lynmouth, where the East and West Lyn River meet. Woody Bay, a few miles west of Lynton, is home to the Lynton & Barnstaple Railway, a narrow gauge railway which used to connect the twin towns of Lynton and Lynmouth to Barnstaple, just over 19 miles away. Nowadays it runs for about mile and a half. Further along the coast, Porlock is a quiet coastal town with an adjacent salt marsh nature reserve and a harbour at nearby Porlock Weir. Watchet is a historic harbour town with a marina and is home to a carnival, which is held annually in July.

Inland, many of the attractions are centred around small towns and villages or linked to the river valleys, such as the ancient clapper bridge at Tarr Steps and the Snowdrop Valley near Wheddon Cross, which is carpeted in snowdrops in February and, later, displays bluebells. Withypool is also in the Barle Valley. The Two Moors Way passes through the village. As well as Dunster Castle, Dunster's other attractions include a priory, dovecote, yarn market,inn, packhorse bridge, mill and a stop on the West Somerset Railway. Exford, lies on the River Exe.

has been the setting for several novels including the 19th century Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor by R. D. Blackmore, and Margaret Drabble's 1998 novel The Witch of Exmoor. The park was featured on the television programme Seven Natural Wonders twice, as one of the wonders of the West Country.

Luccome

Luccome

Selworthy

Selworthy

Church Steps, Minehead

Church Steps, Minehead

Tarr Steps

Tarr Steps

Robbers Bridge

Robbers Bridge

The Seawood Hotel, North Walk, Lynton, Devon, EX35 6HJ, Email Seawood@btconnect.com

Website by Kerinda Green

Valley of Rocks courtesy of Shutterstock.com, Mike Charles, Exmoor sheep, goats, Exmoor Heather courtesy of Stutterstock.com, David Young Buzzard courtesy of Stutterstock.com, Papkin Dark sky courtesy of Stutterstock.com, Neung Stocker Photography flora courtesy of Stutterstock.com, Julian Elliott Other photos, thanks to Martin Stubbings