Lynmouth – County Gate via SW Coast Path
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This route ends at County Gate so those travelling by car should park there and catch the bus to Lynmouth. County Gate is so-called because it lies on the county boundary between Somerset and Devon. There is a car park, toilets and a small seasonal visitor centre / cafe / giftshop. Catch the westbound service No 300 from the bus stop at the car park entrance and alight when the bus stops in the car park in Lynmouth. Check the timetable in advance as it appears this service is rather sparse outside the main holiday season. Those based in Lynmouth or Lynton may wish to walk to County Gate and then catch the bus back.
Lynmouth was described by the famous painter Thomas Gainsborough as 'the most delightful place for a landscape painter this country can boast'. Lynmouth has its own hydro-electric scheme and a water-powered funicular cliff railway which links it to Lynton on the top of the cliff. This was financed by Sir George Newnes, the publisher of the Sherlock Holmes stories. After exploring the various diversions in Lynmouth (including the Memorial Hall which houses an exhibition about the devastating flood of 1952 and is built on the site of the former lifeboat station, one of the many buildings destroyed by that flood) the walk proper starts with an ascent back to the coast road before branching off there along the coast path. The South West Coast Path is a route of over 600 miles between Poole and Minehead and is marked by acorns on the fingerposts.
Our route meanders along the coast giving good sea views but allowing no access to any beaches after leaving Lynmouth. It passes close by Contisbury Church, which was open when I visited – you may wish to make a minor diversion here. The route continues through Glenthorne Estate. This land was acquired by a Rev. Halliday in 1829 and he went on to design and oversee the building of Glenthorne House. Our route (and the SW Coast Path) passes along a short section of the drive which at three miles long and with a descent of over 300 metres, is one of the longest private drives in the country. Here there is a wayside shrine called Sisters Fountain. It is thought this name originated from the four sisters who were Rev. Halliday's nieces. From here the route ascends via 'The Combe' and returns to County Gate car park over Cosgate Hill.
Those wanting a shorter or less strenuous walk (7.7km and 350m height gain) could alight from the bus at Contisbury. Walk the short distance back to the entrance of The Blue Ball Inn, cross the road and follow the sign to Contisbury Church. Enter the churchyard and follow the path round the left-hand side of the church and through the gate onto the coastal heathland. You will see Waymark 4 to your right.
The walk is on well-defined tracks throughout and has no stiles.
England - South West England - Devon - Exmoor
Ancient Monument, Birds, Cafe, Church, Flowers, Food Shop, Gift Shop, Great Views, Play Area, Pub, Public Transport, Restaurant, Sea, Tea Shop, Toilets, Woodland
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