Porlock to Minehead

13/9/14 Our second walk in Somerset and the second time a bus didn't turn up. This time we waited for the next one and arrived in Minehead too late for our connection. So a couple of pints and a pasty later, it was the afternoon when we finally bused into Porlock and walked down Sparkhayes Lane to rejoin the path. It starts on the marshes towards Bossington, but you can see the hills ahead. Just as we get near to the coast again, we turn right and start our ascent of Hurlestone Combe.

The path keeps going up beyond there and eventually stops ascending just short of 300m and quite a way inland. It feels more like a moorland walk than a coastal one for a few miles.

When we do turn towards the coast again, we soon enter the woods and only catch glimpses of the coast as we descend. As we near Minehead, we emerge into a park and then the Old Ship Aground appears.

We have pints of Ringwood Best (3.8%) and Boondoggle (4.2%) for £6.70. The pub, like the rest of Minehead, had many Butlins tourists. The harbour is just the other side of the pub.

From here it is only a couple of hundred yards to the end of the path.

We go to the next pub to celebrate, but decide to catch a bus somewhere less touristy for the next ones.

Lynmouth to Porlock

6/9/14 A drive to Porlock offered a different route to the coast. We parked just off Sparkhayes Lane and walked into the centre to catch the bus. Our first bus in Somerset did not turn up. Some locals suggested that Quantock had gone bust. Four Bavarian ladies were also waiting and asked if we would share a taxi towards Lynmouth. A few phone calls later, we were racing over the moor and the ladies alighted at the top of Countisbury. £35 didn't seem too bad when we arrived in Lynmouth. We were 20 minutes later than planned, but the pubs still weren't open, so we had a couple of pints in the restaurant just over the footbridge. After a short walk along the front, we started the climb towards Countisbury. The path doesn't stray far from the A39. There had been some rain earlier and it was still misty.

As the path heads towards Foreland, the scenery changes again. We are back into post-glacial valleys.

After this, we enter the woods. The path stays in the woods for more than two hours. We're not sure what the weather is doing. We catch occasional glimpses of the sea, but spend most the time well above it. We go up and down a few combes. Eventually, we come out in Culbone.

It's back into the woods again for a while, but after Worthy Combe there are a couple of fields before Porlock Weir.

The path comes out besides the Ship Inn.

We have Otter Amber Ale (4%) and Porlock Stock and Two Empty Barrels (4.1%) for £6.70. There are a few locals inside and few tourists outside.

The path goes along the road before descending onto the stony beach. After a while it heads inland because the sea defences are not being maintained here now and land behind the beach is being allowed to flood. Some trees are dying.

Sparkhayes farm is only a couple of fields from the path and the car a similar distance beyond.

Combe Martin to Lynmouth

30/8/14 A few showers as we drove across Exmoor to Combe Martin, but they stopped by the time we parked near the church for £1. A local pasty later, we started the climb out. Past Little Hangman, then onto the moorland and Great Hangman at 318m, the highest point on the path.

Then it was down into Sherrycombe and up onto Holdstone Down. The hills are large around here. We skirt around the edge of some fields before heading towards the cliff tops.

The rocks in the distance are Highveer and around the corner is Heddon's Mouth. We have to head inland to get there because the sides are steep and covered in scree.

By the time that we get to the bottom, we are close enough to the Hunters Inn to justify a deviation. A couple of pleasant pints in a pub that wasn't as snooty as it looked. We are soon back up the hill above the cliffs though.

Next come Woody and Lee Bays. Lee Abbey is in the distance.

Over the brow of the hill from the abbey is the the Valley of the Rocks and its inhabitants.

The path is tarmacked along the cliff here into Lynton. We don't really see much of the town though because soon after the cliff railway, we have to head down the hill.

The winding path brings us out on the front in Lynmouth. Just around the corner the thatched Rising Sun overlooks the small harbour and River Lyn.

The small pub is quite busy. We have pints of Exmoor Ale (3.8%) and Gold (4.5%) for £6.90. We then have time to wonder around this touristy village before catching the bus back to Combe Martin.