Self-Guided Walking Tours & Biking Tours


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Wild horses amongst the spring bluebells on Exmoor
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Highlights

  • Walking the best of Devon’s rural north coast, including Exmoor.
  • Tarka Trail, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
  • The powerful Atlantic swell and golden sandy beaches of Devon’s Gold Coast.
  • Homemade ice cream and “foodie” havens, such as Ilfracombe.
  • Lundy Island and its wonderful assortment of rare wildlife, including puffins.

A self-guided walking tour experiencing the highlights of Devon’s north coast, including Exmoor National Park. A 3-centre stay in Westward Ho!, Ilfracombe and Lynmouth, where Exmoor meets the sea.

These unspoilt pastoral landscapes are a reminder of days gone by when life was a lot simpler. Magnificent scenery greets you at every turn, the dramatic Valley of the Rocks, the wild and remote moors and the Gold Coast’s sweeping sandy beaches.

Enjoy tantalising cuisine in the “foodie” quarter of Ilfracombe, where there are award-winning restaurants and real-ale pubs.

Day 1: Arrive Westward Ho! & overnight

Arrive in Westward Ho!, a seaside town that  was named after the book of the same name written by Charles Kingsley in the mid 1800s. It has two miles of sandy beach known as Golden Bay, and is home to a large area of sand dunes and a rich variety of birds and wild flowers. If you are lucky you will find The Glorious Oyster on the sea front, a truck providing delicious fresh oysters, lobsters and other scrumptious seafood.


Overnight: Westward Ho!


Day 2: Transfer to Great Torringon, Tarka Trail.

A short transfer brings you to Great Torrington, a small town steeped in culture with a history stretching back to the Iron Age and playing a significant part in the English Civil War. Spend some time exploring (Tues-Sat local markets selling local crafts, fresh food and handmade gifts), before setting off on the Tarka Trail, a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. It runs in a 163 mile figure-of-eight through landscapes little changed from those described by Henry Williamson in his classic 1927 novel Tarka the Otter. You will sample part of it walking alongside of the River Torridge.


Walk: 10 miles


Overnight: Westward Ho!


Day 3: Transfer to Woolacombe, Walk to Ilfracombe

A transfer (45 mins) brings you to Woolacombe, on North Devon’s Gold Coast. Voted the UK’s favourite beach, its powerful Atlantic swells is a mecca for surfers. Follow trails along the Gold Coast and en route walk through the National Trust’s Morte Point, once notorious for smugglers and wreckers. Look out for seals as you walk from Morte Point towards Bull Point and enjoy the coastal heathland and maritime grasslands, which are great habitats for birds and other wildlife.


Walk: 8 miles


Overnight: Ilfracombe


Day 4: Loop Walk via Combe Martin

An inspiring walk brings you initially into the surrounding and rolling countryside and through farmland and wooded trails into Combe Martin, a village that claims to have the longest street in England. At over 2 miles long it winds along the valley (or “combe”). For those living at the top of the village it can feel like you live in the country and not by the sea.


Perhaps pause for lunch in a local pub here before setting along the coast path past little secluded coves and beaches.


Walk: 12 miles


Overnight: Ilfracombe


Day 5: Free day in Ilfracombe or boat trip to Lundy Island

Ilfracombe is a great place to explore, so you can either have a free day here or opt to take a day trip to Lundy Island (payable locally).


Ilfracombe has a lovely little harbour, line with shops and restaurants. It also has a “foodie quarter” located on Fore Street where you can find fantastic local food. If you wish you can take the MS Oldenburg to Lundy Island, a 400 foot granite outcrop in the Bristol Channel with tremendous views of sea and mainland and a unique coastal environment. It also has a wonderful assortment of rare wildlife, the most popular of these being the puffin, its most treasured bird.


Overnight: Ilfracombe


Day 6: Exmoor National Park

A transfer (30 mins) brings you to the heart of the Exmoor National Park, which boasts open moorland, deep wooded valleys, and historic villages. Once more follow the Tarka and Two Moors Trails. Begin inland and walk to the high sea cliffs on the coast. Walk through these glorious landscapes in peace and tranquility. With exceptional flora fauna, wildlife such as red deer and the adorable Exmoor ponies.


Walk: 8 miles


Overnight: Lynmouth/Lynton


Day 7: Valley of the Rocks Loop Walk

Today’s walk initially takes you to the area known as the “Valley of the Rocks” nicknamed “England’s Little Switzerland" by early 19th century poets. This fascinating valley is a U-shaped dry valley that is parallel to the sea. It is well known for its feral goats that roam freely on the jagged cliff edges and also for its unusual rock formations and caves. Then make your way inland, these routes eventually linking with the South West Coast Path.


Walk: 9 miles


Overnight: Lynmouth/Lynton


Day 8: Onward travel

An included transfer is provided to Minehead Railway Station, from where you can make your onward journeys.


Accommodation

You will stay in a mixture of carefully chosen B&B’s,small hotels and guest houses.


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable.


We welcome solo walkers on this trip although you should of course take extra care in the outdoors when walking solo.


Meals

A hearty breakfast is included each morning. Lunch and dinner are not included so you are free to choose from the available options. Most of your accommodations will be more than happy to provide a packed lunch on request and this can be booked on arrival. Dinner is available either at your accommodation or in nearby pubs or restaurants.


We regularly use the following properties but may accommodate you elsewhere if these are not available.



 

 

 



Culloden House - Westward Ho!



Culloden House - Westward Ho!

Family run and originally built in 1865 as a Victorian Gentleman’s residence, this guest house has spectacular views across the sea to Baggy Point and Lundy Island and is only a stroll away from sandy beaches, restaurants and pubs.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Carlton Hotel - Ilfracombe



Carlton Hotel - Ilfracombe

This friendly hotel located close to the town's seafront and high street is independently-owned and had many recent refurbishments. The 46 rooms are ensuite and have a high standard of comfort with complimentary WiFi.


 

 

 


 

 

 



Shelley's - Lynmouth



Shelley's - Lynmouth

Shelley's takes it's name from the famed 19th century English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who honeymooned here in the summer of 1812. This hotel commands breath-taking sea views across Lynmouth Bay and has a warm, friendly and welcoming ambience.


 

 

 

Availability

This trip is available to start on any day of the week from March to October.


Time of Year

This tour can be enjoyed from March to October but you can walk at any time of year. You can start on any date that suits your travel plans. Spring and Autumn/Fall are great because it is quieter on the paths.


Grade & Terrain

This tour is graded as moderate. The walks are a combination of coastal and inland walking and on country tracks, roads and trails, woodland routes and on “official” paths, such as the South West Coast Path, Tarka Trail, and the Two Moors Way. You will need to be very physically fit to fully enjoy this tour as, at times, there are some elevation gains and losses to negotiate.


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

When walking on the South West Coast Path, Tarka Trail and Two Moors Way the route is quite well way marked and relatively easy to follow. However, for all the walks we provide comprehensive route notes and OS maps, so you shouldn’t have any problem finding your way. You will have to be able to read a map and navigate. We also provide GPS tracks for those who wish to take a GPS unit.


Boat to Lundy Island

The boat from Ilfracombe to Lundy Island operates between the end of March to the end of October and at the time of writing this runs on Saturday’s, Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. Please check the Lundy Island website for times, schedules and prices.


Baggage Transfers

Your bags will be transferred from your accommodation as per your itinerary and moved onto your next overnight accommodation. We ask you to limit your luggage to one bag of up to 20kg per person.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care.


General Information

The distances and ascent/descents are approximations of the recommended routes. Please be prepared by packing all necessary items, for example, proper rain gear (jacket and pants), sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has a detailed equipment list which includes standard walking gear such as good walking boots or shoes, warm and waterproof clothes for the cooler months and lightweight clothing for summer, and a day pack.

Getting to Westward Ho!

The closest airport to Westward Ho! is Exeter Airport which is is served by Flybe and has flights from London, Manchester, Paris, Amsterdam, Edinburgh and Manchester. You can also fly into Bristol or London. From these three airports you can take trains to Barnstable and from here a local bus which runs every 15 minutes.


A useful website is Traveline which has detailed information on times and schedules.


Westward Ho! is a 4 and half hour drive from London, there is a long stay car park, however the summer months are very busy, so where possible public transport is advised.


Getting from Lynmouth/Lynton

A transfer from your accommodation in Lynmouth/Lynton will be included to Minehead. From here you can take a bus to Taunton (buses run hourly and the journey takes 1 hour).  From Taunton you can take trains to Exeter, Bristol and London.


More information can be found on the Traveline or National Rail websites.


Macs Adventure can also arrange private transfers. Please contact your Destination & Adventure Specialist for more details.


Included

  • 7 Nights in B&B’s and guesthouses
  • 7 Breakfasts
  • Luggage transfers
  • Transfers as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Transfer Lynmouth/Lynton to Minehead on Day 8
  • Detailed Information Pack, route notes and maps
  • Access to the Macs Smartphone App
  • 24/7 telephone support

Excluded

  • Travel to Westward Ho!
  • Travel from Minehead
  • Boat to Lundy Island
  • Entrances to sights, etc
  • Dinners & lunches
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Personal equipment
  • Travel insurance

Extras

  • Additional nights before or after the holiday
  • Single room supplement if single room required.
  • Solo traveller supplement (if applicable)

How fit do I need to be?

This tour is graded as moderate. The walks are a combination of coastal and inland walking and on country tracks, roads and trails, woodland routes and on “official” paths, such as the South West Coast Path, Tarka Trail, and the Two Moors Way. You will need to be very physically fit to fully enjoy this tour as, at times, there are some elevation gains and losses to negotiate. 

How far in advance do I need to book?

As far in advance as possible! We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as Devonl is extremely popular, especially during the summer months. If booking at short notice we will always try and accommodate your plans.

What personal equipment do I need?

You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, a daypack and hats/gloves etc.

When is the best time of year?

This Devon itinerary is very enjoyable at any time between March and October , although it is particularly lovely in late spring and early Autumn.

How do the baggage transfers work?

All baggage transfers are included. We request that you have only one piece of luggage per person and it should weigh only 20kg.

Am I able to take my dog?

Unfortunately we are unable to accommodate walkers with dogs as many of the accommodation providers we use do not accept pets.

What happens if I can't walk a stage?

You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.

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