Being British, I take every opportunity I can to be outside in the sun – when it eventually appears! Last weekend was the first decent bit of weather the country has had this year, so, of course, I had to make the most of it and headed out for a walk. Devon has so many great places for walking, from the South West Coast Path to Dartmoor National Park and I want to explore more of the county this year. First on my list was Watersmeet, near Lynmouth.
Watersmeet is the meeting place of the East Lyn River and Hoar Oak Water, surrounded by 2000 acres of ancient woodland. The area is managed by the National Trust and a lovely place to visit, with several walking routes options in the area. I decided to go for a circular walk starting from Lynmouth, along the East Lyn River to Watersmeet and back to Lynmouth via the South West Coast Path.
The walk is around 5.5 miles, taking two and a half hours (I extended it by having a few rests) through some of Exmoor’s best scenery. The route I took went through a variety of landscapes, and I probably didn’t properly follow the route recommended by the National Trust. There was a lot of flora and fauna on the way too, from gorse bushes, tadpoles and birds (my bad eyesight and inability to identify birds means I can’t say specifically what birds) and the trees are starting to turn green. Yay, spring!
I wish I had taken more time to explore Lynmouth before setting off, as I have only been to the village briefly before; hopefully next time! There are a couple of routes to take from Lynmouth to Watersmeet, one going along the river and one through the wood, I went for the riverside walk, enjoying the East Lyn River roaring along.
Arriving at Watersmeet, I immediately went to dip my feet in the water to cool down. Very cold water, but the spot was lovely for a bite to eat! Watersmeet House, an old fishing lodge built in 1832, is at the meeting of the two rivers, and apparently offers great cream teas (didn’t stop long enough for one, so maybe next time!). There are two bridges by the house where you can cross the rivers, and look at the waterfalls on the Hoar Oak Water just above the convergence of the rivers.
After a rest and a snack, I continued on, moving away from the river following signs for Countisbury. The path zigzags up through trees; later in the summer, I expect there will be more flowers and birds, but there was a lovely calmness to this section of my walk. The path levelled out at the top, and a lovely couple overtook me (I am not good on steep uphill sections!) chatting about the lovely weather. I headed away from them following Winston’s Path, where there were amazing views of the river’s valley I had just walked through and could see Lynmouth in the distance.
The last stretch of the walk took me along the coast path, and the hazy weather meant the sea blurred with the sky. On clear days, you can see across to Wales, but the views were still incredible. Reading about the route afterwards, I found out this section of the South West Coast Path passes by Windhill Iron Age Fort, built 2,500 years ago! I wish I had known and stayed longer to explore. On the last quarter mile of the walk I couldn’t figure out where the signposts were indicating, so ended up walking on the side of the road. Next time I will keep an eye out and stay on the path. Much safer!
I hope you enjoyed reading about my Watersmeet walk! Do you have any favourite walks near where you live? I’d love to hear about them – leave a comment below! Also, feel free to check out my posts on my highlights of North Devon and coastal walks in the South West.