Lynmouth Lynton North Devon coastal path exmoor
(This view is the sea off Lynmouth, North Devon!)

I absolutely love my little car. It belonged to lil’sis when she was a banker, then my father bought it off her when her MS meant driving was complicated, and then when I came back from New York I bought it off him. Whilst I love its nippiness, tape deck and generable convertible awesome-ness, it does have one downside:  because it’s fifteen years old it has no aircon. (I’m not going to mention the dents. Or the leaking roof. Or the lichen in the joins.)

On 30C+ days like last Thursday (the hottest day of the year so far), I had a choice of either roof down and broiling like a piece of bacon on a griddle, or roof up and boiling inside like a lobster in a pot. Red faced and sweaty either way.

The usual route to travel from Woolacombe on the North Devon coast to North London is to take the A361 towards Barnstaple, and hit the M5 motorway near Taunton all the way back to London. The entire journey takes just under four and a half hours.

On the way down, we broke the journey at Laura and Ian’s cottage near Taunton, but on the way back I decided to add another forty minutes to the journey and cross over the top of Exmoor.

I’ve never visited Exmoor before but, from walking the North York Moors, know that I have an affinity for those wide open spaces, where there is no activity bar the birds wheeling in the sky, and the sheep quietly cropping the grass. I didn’t know if the journey would be actually across the Moor but anything was better than sweating down an A road in my little car.

And I wasn’t disappointed. The first part of the drive towards Lynton and Lymnouth wove through high hedged country lanes and bosky wooded turns. Lynmouth turned out to be a lovely coastal village, which feels almost totally cut off from, well, anywhere. If I hadn’t had a dinner engagement in London, I would have stopped for lunch and explored some more.

Lynmouth Lynton North Devon coastal path exmoor

As it was I pressed on, and was rewarded as I drove up the coastal road just outside the village to be rewarded with glimpes of the most incredible views over the sea. I pulled over, and crossed the road for a closer look.

Lynmouth Lynton North Devon coastal path exmoor

I’ve never seen such a view in England before. It’s just as lovely as anything in Big Sur. We English are historically far too reticent about singing the praises of our own glorious natural wonders.)

Lynmouth Lynton North Devon coastal path exmoor

I continued my drive on through Exmoor, with the roof down, and the wind in my hair, travelling on narrow roads cut through wide open expanses of moorland. Eventually I hit the small resort town of Minehead, and then got on the M5 at Bridgwater in Somerset.

Euf and then a vile overheated drive back to London on the motorway. Anyway, I highly recommend the detour over Exmoor: a wonderful opportunity to see some of our wonderful English countryside, which almost makes up for the slog into London.

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I love North Devon, I visited these places last year and there are so many hidden beautiful villages around there. We did a coastal walk one day and saw no one but a few sheep and goats. Then we spotted seals bobbing up and down in the sea full of joy.

A brilliant family break which will always be one to remember. My children cannot wait to go there again.

T x


I’m from Barnstaple! 🙂 I live in Bristol at present but the thing I miss the most about North Devon is the coastline and the beautiful beaches. I always love going back and getting in the sea, the surfing is also world class on it’s day.

Lovely pictures xxxxx


Hi Sasha, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. Exmoor is definitely worth a detour from the sandy beaches in North Devon, in fact it’s well worth spending at least a couple of nights here ;-). This is a place where true wilderness still exists and it’s also incredibly diverse. We organise safaris in our 4×4 on Exmoor to seek out red deer, free roaming Exmoor Ponies and other wildlife as well as explore the different landscapes. No boiling like lobsters or broiling like bacon in our vehicle, that’s a promise ;-). Hope we might meet you on Exmoor one day!
Christel @ Experience Exmoor

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