County Gate - East Lyn Valley - Wilsham - Kipscombe Hill - County Gate

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The route starts with a scenic and gradual descent into the upper East Lyn Valley where it joins the Coleridge Way. (This long-distance trail, denoted by quills on the footpath signs, meanders for 51 miles between Nether Stowey in the Quantocks and Lynmouth, loosely linking places which are connected to Coleridge and his poetry). On some older maps this may be called 'The Samaritans Way SW'.

The next section follows the valley, passing the settlements of Leeford, Brendon (of 'Lorna Doone' fame), Alderford and Rockford before leaving the valley and the Coleridge Way by ascending the right-and valley side and heading cross-country to Barna Barrow on the A39. The experts have concluded that there is no archaeological significance in the name – it is simply a barrow-shaped hill!
From here the route begins to return to County Gate. Initially this is over access land where a small herd of Exmoor ponies can often be seen. Then the route crosses several large pastures as it passes round the seaward side of the summit of Kipscombe Hill. Some, if not all, of these pastures are populated by the local breed of sheep, the Exmoor Horn (so-called because both sexes have horns). I thought these sheep were wonderful! When they stop eating to look at you as you pass by their faces are so expressive. My friend said they have faces like teddy bears! I took numerous photos just of sheep! A shortish section beside the main road follows and then a return to the car park over Cosgate Hill.

Note for dog-owners: there is one stile and numerous sheep on this walk! Besides the obvious sheep on Kipscombe Hill there are requests for dogs to be put on leads at Contisbury Mill (Waymark 4) and on approaching Wilsham Farm (Waymark 6). In addition a section of the route is alongside the A39.

England - South West England - Devon - Exmoor


Birds, Flowers, Great Views, Pub, River, Sea, Toilets, Wildlife
28/07/2020 - Joyce Pentland

Excellent varied walk, good clear instructions. There was enough up & down hill to be challenging without being too taxing. We veered to the left, following an obvious track at the end of waymark 1, but had to return a few steps. Keep slightly right on grassy patch & soon you'll see steps down to tarmac'd Rd. Several benches on the route for a picnic & there's was an ice cream van at the Barna Barrow Cark Park (bonus) We saw several exmoor ponies throughout the walk all looked well cared for & healthy. Parking at the County Gate car park is still free.

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Distance away
13.7 Miles