Exmoor Stables is a fully accessible, gorgeous property in the heart of the picturesque Victorian village of Lynton in north Devon. Lynton is perched high above the pretty village of Lynmouth and elegantly connected by the famous Cliff Railway. This brilliant conversion of humble stables offers four bedrooms, three bathrooms and fantastic living spaces. It comes with a lift should you have anyone disabled or with mobility issues with you and it is an outstanding base to explore the delights of north Devon.
Surrounded by spectacular panoramic scenery in an area known as ‘England’s Little Switzerland’, Lynton offers a selection of independent shops, tea rooms and cafes. The Lyn and Exmoor Museum offers interesting exhibitions where you will learn about Exmoor life and the railway which opened in 1890. Lynmouth is a pretty harbour that nestles beneath the cliffs, a tranquil retreat sprinkled with quaint fishing cottages. Two rivers, the East Lyn and the Hoaroak, come together at Watersmeet. Lynton lies in an area of incomparable beauty with bracken and heather clad sweeping hills and valleys that nestle between the cliffs. Rivers wind their way through deeply wooded valleys to the sea, occasionally interrupted by tumbling waterfalls. This is the Exmoor of Lorna Doone, the novel by RD Blackmore. Exmoor is a paradise for walkers, horse riders and fishermen. Not far away, you can head to Porlock, Combe Martin, Ilfracombe, the famous South West Coast Path, Hangman Cliffs, the amazing beaches of Broadsands, Wild Pear, Tunnels and Barricane, Lee Bay, the Woolacombe beaches, Putsborough Sands, Croyde and the magnificent Saunton Sands.
The elegant stone and slate facade of Exmoor Stables gives you a hint of the stunning conversion within. The double glazed giant front door opens and you step across the natural slate floor to a world of wood, elegant furnishings and homely ambience. Beams rise high above you and an ash wood staircase curves upwards to the first floor. The living room boasts a huge fireplace with a wood burning stove, comfortable sofas and chairs and some lovely vintage pieces. The kitchen is eat-in with a lovely large central table and painted farmhouse chairs. The chef in your group will be delighted with the kitchen and its excellent appliances. It is a wonderfully sociable space where you can bring the generations together or spend time with your favourite friends. You can also choose to dine alfresco on the private patio in the garden. A separate utility room is home to laundry appliances plus it is a good space to tidy up your mucky pooches. This is a dog friendly house and you can bring up to three pets.
Upstairs, you will discover four bedrooms, two in each section. The first floor is accessible via a wheelchair lift if necessary. All of the bedrooms offer superbly comfortable beds, all beautifully dressed with crisp cottons and delightful soft furnishings. One is a four poster, one a kingsize and two offer twin beds. There are two excellent bathrooms on the first floor and an accessible wet room downstairs.
Exmoor Stables is located in the lovely Victorian village of Lynton. The Lyn and Exmoor Museum is found in St Vincent’s Cottage, a very interesting tale of life in Exmoor and the history of the railway. Lynton and Lynmouth owe a great deal to Sir George Newnes, who lived on Hollerday Hill above Lynton. His mansion burned down in 1913 but in 1887 Newnes and Thomas Hewitt began to lay a nine hundred foot twin track up the steep gradient. This unique, water operated, cliff railway was opened in 1890 and apart from needing a new track in 1908, it operates today as it always has. Later, Newnes became involved in building a light railway from Lynton to Barnstaple and the first train ran in 1898. The route crossed Chelfham Viaduct and was the largest narrow gauge railway viaduct ever built in Britain.
Lynmouth sits below the cliffs full of pretty fishing cottages which line the narrow street down to the quay and the Rhenish Tower which was built in the late 1850’s by General Rawdon to store salt water to supply his house with sea baths.
The astonishing Valley of the Rocks is just over a mile from Lynton. This dry valley was created during the Ice Age and enjoys spectacular weathered rock formations with names such as The Devil’s Cheesering and Ragged Jack. You will spot many goats scrambling amongst the rocky outcrops.
The Victorian fishing lodge at Watersmeet is run by the National Trust. The surrounding area boasts dramatic waterfalls, spectacular autumn and spring colour, numerous walks and over six hundred miles of marked footpaths. Exmoor enjoys an abundant wildlife including ponies, sheep, red deer, falcons, buzzards and rare merlin.
Combe Martin is a fabulous seaside resort with dreamy sandy coves, some of the UK’s best rock pools and a fantastic selection of cafes, unique shops, pubs and restaurants. Combe Martin hosts many events celebrating its heritage and quirks including its annual Hunting of the Earl of Rone ceremony, a Pagan festival. The wonderful South West Coast Path runs through the village offering astonishing views and access to beaches and beauty spots that you may not otherwise see. You can hike to Great Hangman, the tallest sea cliff in Britain or take the two hundred and thirty steps down the Golden Cove. You can enjoy the the calm waters of the bay on a boat, kayak or stand-up paddle board.
Wild Pear Beach and Broadsands Beach are two of the most beautiful, secret coves in the area. Wild Pear is reached via a dramatic descent from the coast path and is an idyllic, protected cove. Broadsands Beach was recently voted the ‘Happiest View in the UK’ with its special curved bay, turquoise sea, rock caves and trees. A network of tunnels hand-carved in the early nineteenth century lead to the wonderful Tunnels Beaches with their Victorian tidal swimming pool and sand and shingle private beaches. Barricane Beach boasts exotic shells, a delightful cafe and glorious sunsets. Lee Bay is a fabulously secluded spot looking out to the Bristol Channel. It is often called ‘Fuchsia Valley’ due to its bright red flowers. Woolacombe Beach is a three mile long sandy wonder that has been voted the ‘Best Beach in Britain’ and it is only twenty minutes from the resort. Putsborough Sands are on the south side of Woolacombe offering glorious surf and views of the headland. Just around the Baggy Point headland is the very pretty village of Croyde with its famous surfing beach. Backing the fabulous Saunton Sands is the impressive Braunton Burrows, a UNESCO biosphere reserve.
Coasteering is a popular thrilling sport with many experienced Coasteering and Adventure Sports companies operating at Watermouth Harbour, the next bay along from Combe Martin. Brave participants enjoy climbing over dramatic rocks, jumping into the sea, swimming through gullies and exploring caves. Horse riding on Exmoor is also popular with the Dean Riding Stables.
The National Trust’s Arlington Court and Carriage Museum is a great day out with formal Victorian gardens, ponds, deer, plenty of space for picnics and an impressive collection of horse-drawn vehicles. It is a gem on the edge of Exmoor that has been in the Chichester family for over five hundred years. The gardens enjoy herbaceous borders, a fountain, walled kitchen garden and a conservatory brimming with exotic plants from around the world. There are pleasure grounds with gorgeous views, a wilderness pond and a deerpark wood. The old kitchen tea room is lovely and offers tasty treats. There is also an excellent second hand bookshop. Watersmeet is a dramatic river gorge and ancient woodland with a National Trust tea room set in stunning surroundings. You can treat yourselves to delicious Devon cream teas and be captivated by the amazing landscapes and woodland trails.
Another popular trip is to Lundy Island which lies ten nautical miles off the coast. The ferry leaves from Ilfracombe Harbour taking you to this delightful island with its wildlife, big skies and gorgeous scenery.
The pretty, historic fishing village of Clovelly is worth a stop. It was once owned by the Queen of England and clings to the four hundred foot cliff where there is no traffic. Steep cobbled streets tumble down to its ancient fishing harbour and 14th century quay.