First posted September 2013
The picturesque North Devon coastal towns of Lynton and Lynmouth, and especially the rugged landscape of Valley of the Rocks, offer some great photo opportunities, as does Watersmeet, which has the same “Little Switzerland” feel to it.
After talking a shady walk down into the gorge from the roadside car park, you encounter the old Victorian hunting lodge that now houses a tearoom…
.. and just across the river, the entrance to a cave which was apparently once the home of a hermit.
From there, take a stroll upstream on the East Lyn River, one of the rivers that meet here, giving the gorge it’s name.
Although some parts are still rapidly flowing, foaming white water, a long dry spell can expose the very bones of the gorge, the granite river bed, in all it’s dramatic, time-worn glory.
Further on, evidence of one of the area’s long-vanished industries still stands testament to the skill of Victorian engineers. Two giant lime kilns, now overgrown, lend a brooding atmosphere to the dappled woods.
Retracing the path, return to the old hunting lodge, cross the bridge over Hoak Oak Water and make your way downstream on the wider, combined river.
Looking back at the lodge from downstream.
Walking down the river from the lodge is an easy, reasonably level stroll and before long you came to an impressive slate-faced bridge that allows walkers to cross to the opposite bank making for an undemanding looped route back to the tearooms, just in case anyone requires an extra cream tea to fortify them for the climb back out of the gorge.
The view from the bridge, looking upstream.
Valley of the Rocks.
I took a slightly different path on this occasion, staying on the inland side of the rock formations instead of following the coast path.
This was fortunate because the famous Lynton goats were all over the place. Some were good enough to put on a display of horn butting and territorial disputes for me, although sadly I was too slow to get close enough to film them.
These two even managed a circus style balancing act for the assembled tourists.
(Ok, maybe not)