WALKING ACROSS EXMOOR NATIONAL PARK ON THE SOUTH WEST COAST PATH
This tour, originally designed as an add on for London-Land's End cyclists who also enjoy walking, is now available for everyone! Ultimate lovers of the great outdoors can walk four days across Exmoor National Park on the stunning South West Coast Path. It is not for the light-hearted though. Strenuous walking will absorb most of your holiday time. To get in the right frame of mind for all great exploration, the tour starts off with a journey by steam on the West Somerset Railway. Bed & Breakfast stays will provide five good nights of rest, esssential on this adventurous package.
Those cycling our London-Land's End Cycle Route (or those doing the other famous End to End from north to south) can enjoy the unique service of having their bicycles and pannier bags being collected in Taunton at the start of the tour, after which we look after their goods for four days before returning these back at the end of the four-day walk in Woolacombe. Woolacombe to Barnstaple is about two hours at easy pace by bike and route directions are provided for those who'd like to resume London-Land's End from there.
For those traveling to South West England by train, car or plane, Exeter or Taunton is the start and end point of this arrangement. Instead of the bicycles and pannier bags collections and storages (see above), we'll arrange train tickets for the Exeter-Taunton en Barnstaple - Exeter routes and a transfer between Woolacombe and Barnstaple station. These services combined create an appealing circular on foot and by train!
With help of our London-Land's End Cycle Route Book you can cycle yourself to the first accommodation in Taunton. We'll collect your bicycles and gear between 6 and 8 pm. Note you'll need to bring a walking rucksack with you in your panniers on your cycle journey, as you need to utilise this bag now to pack all belongings required for your four day walk. During the four day walk, you can choose to carry this luggage yourself or to check it in for our additional daily luggage transport service.
If you don't travel by bicycle you'll make your way by own transport or train to Taunton. For those arriving at Exeter Airport, we'll provide train tickets from Exeter to Taunton. The B&B accommodation in Taunton is within walking distance of the railway station.
The next day starts with a short taxi transfer to Bishops Lydeard railway station. From there, you'll embark on a 22 miles steam railway adventure. This journey lasts about an hour and offers great views of the Quantock and Brendon Hills . Have lunch on arrival in bustling Minehead before starting your walk on the South West Coast Path . Soon you will be out there on your own, climbing and descending , enjoying peace and quiet and taking in the breathtaking views across the Bristol Channel. The walk to the village of Porlock should take you about 4 hours. You'll stay overnight in this charming village in a stunning valley of natural beauty.
The next morning we recommend to stock up on outdoors food and drinks , as you will be on your own for the rest of the day from the moment you walk into Exmoor National Park. The South West Coast Path takes you over England's highest cliffs, rising to 430 meters above sea level. Foreland Point is the most prominent landmark on today’s walk which will take you 7 to 8 hours to complete. Take the cliff railway from Lynmouth up to Lynton to spend the night there.
The next day another 7 to 8 hour walk is awaiting you. This section is the most remote part of the Exmoor section of the South West Coast Path, although there will be a fair amount of walkers at the beautiful Valley of Rocks just beyond Lynton. Beyond here the remote and strenuous Great Hangman Canyon awaits you, so ensure to buy enough food and drinks to be able to make it to Combe Martin, your next overnight destination.
The last day of walking provides the easy optional use of local buses, if you want to skip some miles of this leg. It is a 3 hour walk to the Victorian seaside resort of Ilfracombe and halfway you pass Watermouth Castle. Ilfracombe has a scenic harbour and is famous for its Verity Statue and the special Tunnels Beaches. The last part of the walk (Ilfracombe-Woolacombe) should take about 4 hours, taking you by Morte Point. The Woolacombe Sands are literally just around the corner of this dramatic cliff, marking the end of your four day walk.
One overnight stay in Woolacombe is included in the arrangement, but you have the option to extend this to two nights. This gives you plenty of time to take in the stunning beach and to relax or to have an Atlantic surfing session with the local surf school. Bicycles and pannier bags of London-Land's End cyclists will be returned between 6 and 8 pm on the night of arrival in Woolacombe.
For those travelling by bicycle, the package will end after check out at the Woolacombe accommodation. Directions on how to cycle to Barnstaple are included, so London-Land's End cyclists can resume their independent journey from there.
For those travelling to Exeter (to fly from its airport) or those heading back to Taunton we provide a last exciting day. It starts with a transfer from Woolacombe to Barnstaple railway station, followed by a railway journey on the famous scenic Tarka Line to Exeter, from where you can change for a train back to Taunton. The Woolacombe-Taunton journey will take you just under three hours, but you also have the opportunity to extend this day by getting off the train in Exeter. This great Devon city with its beautiful cathedral, scenic old docks area and its many shops is worth to have a browse around on foot!
You have to be very fit to embark on this journey and you have to enjoy walking in isolated places. The South West Coast Path is exposed, with sometimes strenuous conditions. Most of the days you have to walk 7 to 8 hours and you'll pass high cliffs and very deep drops, not good if you have a fear of heights. Although you'll encounter other people on this popular walk, you have to take your own safety seriously. You have your own responsibility to bring adequate provisions and clothes for any weather conditions, even on a sunny day!
Overview walking and cycling times (estimated at easy pace):
Day 1: Arrival in Taunton (bicycles and pannier bags to be collected in Taunton OR train journey Exeter - Taunton)
Day 2: Short transfer by taxi, Steam Train journey Taunton-Minehead (travel time one hour) and Minehead-Porlock: 4 hours (walking)
Day 3: Porlock - Lynton: 7-8 hours (walking)
Day 4: Lynton - Combe Martin: 7-8 hours (walking)
Day 5: Combe Martin - Woolacombe: 7 hours (walking), returns of bicycles and pannier bags in B&B Woolacombe for cyclists)
Day 6: Check out B&B Woolacombe, cyclists head for Barnstaple (2 hour ride) OR transfer Woolacombe-Barnstaple and train journey Barnstaple-Exeter (and train journey Exeter - Taunton)
Please ensure all members of your party will be able to keep up with the itinerary. If you are unsure, please
This arrangement starts on any Sunday. Note that "starting" is the day of arrival in Taunton!
We appreciate that London-Land's End cyclists may find it tricky to time their arrival in Taunton, but this can easily be overcome by allowing some spare time in your cycling schedule. If you end up cycling ahead of your schedule, Bath, Bristol and Cheddar offer plenty of entertainment for longer stays. If you find yourself behind schedule, you can always skip a route section by taking your bike on the train!
You'll need to book this arrangement at least three weeks in advance.
Combining this walking package with our Devon Coast to Coast cycling package?
This is very well possible as well! We are flexible and are happy to tailor-made a package based on your personal wishes. We can imagine you may wish to travel to Taunton or Exeter to do our walking package first, followed by our Devon Coast to Coast cycling package, ending with a train journey back to Taunton or Exeter (see map). In that case, we'll provide you with a tailor-made quote. Just
£ 409 per person for booking by five people
£ 429 per person for booking by four people
£ 449 per person for booking by three people
£ 479 per person for booking by two people
£ 689 per person for booking by one person
- 5 nights Bed & Breakfast accommodation
- transfer Taunton accommodation - Bishops Lydeard
- Tickets for steam train service Bishops Lydeard-Minehead
- Routebook and maps
- GPS-tracks routes Minehead-Woolacombe-Barnstaple via email, which you can import to your outdoors navigation device (optional)
- Emergency assistance when required
- Pick up of bicycles and pannier bags in Taunton, four days of storage and return delivery in Woolacombe OR transfer Woolacombe - Barnstaple and train tickets Barnstaple - Exeter and Exeter - Taunton (only valid after 9.30 am, no seat reservations); when flying to/from Exeter, train tickets Exeter - Taunton will be valid on the day of arrival; note that four days of luggage storage is NOT available for non-cyclists!)
Prices are based on people sharing rooms. On a booking for 3 people or more we expect 2 people to share a double bed. On a booking for 4 people or more you'll get 2 rooms.
Not included are:
- Entrance fees for museums and attractions like the Lynmouth-Lynton Cliff Railway
- Lunch / Dinner / Additional Drinks and Snacks
- The journey from your home to Taunton (for cyclists, visitors from Bristol Airport and visitors traveling by car) OR Exeter (visitors from Exeter Airport)
- The journey home from Woolacombe/Barnstaple (for cyclists) OR Exeter/Taunton (all other travellers)
- Daily luggage transport between accommodations
- Bus tickets (when you decide to skip a section of the walking route)
- All extra costs related to emergency assistance
- Travel and Cancellation Insurances
Please note: all extras need to be booked at the same time as the booking of the main package!
Daily luggage transport service:
1 or 2 pieces of luggage: £150
3 pieces of luggage: £180
4 pieces of luggage: £200
5 pieces of luggage: £220
Note: there is a weight limit of 25 kilograms per piece of luggage. You'll be required to present your luggage for transport by 9 am daily. The courier will deliver the bags at the next accommodation by 6 pm at the latest.
- Also when booking daily luggage transport, cyclists are required to repack their bags in Taunton, only providing walking luggage for their four-day walk. You won't have access to the bulk of your luggage (pannier bags, etc) during the four-day walk. These are collected in Taunton and will be returned in Woolacombe!
- Those using the train services from/to Exeter will need to bring all their luggage with them on all non-walking journeys (with exemption of the steam train journey from Taunton to Minehead). Non-cyclists are not eligible for the four-day storage service. Book the daily luggage transport service as required!
Extra night in Woolacombe:
The charge for an second overnight stay in Woolacombe is £50 per person (£50 additional charge for bookings by one person only).
Please note: the extra night in Woolacombe is not available for start dates on 23 April, 21 May, or 20 August 2017.
A surf session with a professional surf school costs approximately £30 per person, to be paid directly to the surf school.
By bicycle: London-Land's End cyclists cycle independently to Taunton and continue to do so from Woolacombe/Barnstaple with our London-Land's End Cycle Route Book. The suggestions below are for those who travel by train, car or plane, possibly in combination with our Devon Coast to Coast cycling package:
By train: We recommend you travel to Taunton by train. Great Western Railway runs a direct link with London Paddington. Cross Country Trains also serves Taunton with a good connection to Birmingham and beyond. The B&B in Taunton is within walking distance from the station. Total travel time from London to Taunton station: approximately 2.5 hours. Note that on the last day, we only provide train tickets up to Taunton. You'll need to arrange return tickets to/from Taunton yourself.
By plane - Exeter: Exeter Airport is a major hub of carrier FlyBe. Take a bus to Exeter St. Davids station or a taxi to Digby and Sowton station to continue by train from there to Taunton station. The B&B in Taunton is within walking distance from the station. If you also book the Devon Coast to Coast Tour, we can arrange train tickets from Plymouth to Exeter. You'll still need to arrange bus tickets/taxi rides to the airport yourself. Total travel time from Exeter Airport to Taunton station: approximately 2 hours.
By plane - Bristol: Bristol Airport is a growing airport with many destinations. Take the bus to Bristol Temple Meads station to continue by train from there to Taunton station. The B&B in Taunton is within walking distance from the station. Note that on the last day, we only provide train tickets up to Taunton. You'll need to arrange return tickets to/from Bristol Temple Meads/Bristol Airport yourself. Total travel time from Bristol Airport to Taunton station: approximately 2.5 hours.
By car: Taunton is located on the M5-corridor, leave at junction 25. Unfortunately the Taunton Park & Ride Car Park at this junction doesn't allow overnight parking. Most car parks in the city centre are expensive for long stay parking and many roads in the vicinity of the city centre and the B&B accommodation have parking for residents only. For free parking you'll end up parking in housing estates beyond the "residents only" zone with at least a 20 minute walk to B&B accommodation or station. Free on-site parking at the B&B in Taunton is only available during the night of your stay. Total travel time from London: approximately 3.5 hours.