Exmoor Guided Walking Tour 2021

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8 Days / 7 Nights
Availability : March to October
Start: Holnicote House, Selworthy, Somerset, England
End: Holnicote House, Selworthy, Somerset, England

Exmoor Guided Walking Tour: 7 nights based at Holnicote House, Selworthy, Somerset

Contact DHTour at 1-888-597-3519 or 905-639-9954 or dhtour@dhtour.ca to book.

The sweeping hills, wooded combes and glorious seascapes of the Exmoor National Park reward every footstep with an astonishing range of landscapes and moods to enjoy. Vibrant yellow gorse, purple heather, wild ponies and red deer meet a backdrop of huge blue skies and seas, adding a colourful variety to our Guided Walks.

Tour Details

Highlights:

  • Head out on guided walks to discover the varied beauty of Exmoor on foot
  • Admire panoramic moorland views and expansive seascapes
  • Let an experienced leader bring classic routes and offbeat areas to life
  • Visit some of Somerset’s most beautiful picture postcard villages
  • Look out for wildlife, find secret corners and learn about the history of the moors and coastline
  • Discover the clarity of the night sky in this International Dark Sky Reserve
  • A relaxed pace of discovery in a sociable group keen to get some fresh air in one of England’s most beautiful walking areas
  • Evenings in our country house where you share a drink and re-live the day’s adventures

Pick Up Location & TIme

Holnicote House, Selworthy, Minehead, Somerset TA24 8TJ (Google Map)
4:00pm – You’re welcome to check into the country house hotel from 4pm onwards.

Drop off Location & Time

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way onward.

Price Includes

  • High quality en-suite upgraded accommodation at Holnicote House
  • Excellent food in our country house, full board (B,L,D daily)
  • The services of our knowledgeable leader, ensuring you get the most from your holiday
  • 5 days guided walking + 1 free day
  • Choice of up to three guided walks each walking day
  • Transport to and from the walks
  • Use of our comprehensive Discovery Point

Meals

  • 7 breakfasts
  • 6 lunches
  • 7 dinners
  • 0 teas

Price Excludes

  • Airfare
  • Transfers
  • Pre / Post hotel nights
  • Travel to/from the Country Hotel (The nearest railway stations is Taunton)
  • Admissions (please allow approx. £10 per day for entrances)
  • Driver / Tour Leader gratuity is at your discretion
  • Travel Insurance
What to Expect
Exmoor Guided Walking Tour Walking Grade: 2 & 3.

Enjoy a full day’s walking with fellow guests and leave all the planning and navigation to us; it’s what we do best. Nobody knows the UK’s best places to walk like us. Our knowledgeable leaders make sure you’re never short of the inside story on local features, viewpoints and places of interest.

  • Unpack once
  • Accommodation at a country house hotel
  • Full Board Meals – from dinner on arrival day to breakfast on departure day
  • Knowledgeable leader
  • Choice of up to 3 walks per walking day with required transport

On our Guided Walking holidays, we believe that choice is key. Our walks descriptions will help you choose according to your interests and fitness. The walks are grouped together with care by local experts to give the best experience. 

Walking Grades Explained:

  • Grades 1 & 2 – Leisurely walking grades
  • Grades 3 & 4 – Moderate walking grades
  • Grades 5 & 6 – Challenging walking grades
What to Bring

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong type of clothing!” goes the adage. Come prepared for all eventualities and you’ll walk in comfort as well as safety. Britain’s famous for its changeable weather, so here’s our advice on what to wear and bring.

Essentials

  • Waterproof walking boots providing ankle support and good grip.
  • A waterproof jacket and over-trousers
  • Gloves and a warm hat (it can be chilly at any time of the year)
  • Rucksack
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre capacity)
  • A small torch (everywhere in winter, year round in mountains)
  • Sun hat and sunscreen
    Denim jeans and waterproof capes are not suitable on any walks.

Recommended

  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed
  • Specialist walking socks to avoid blisters.
  • A first aid kit inc plasters– your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication
  • Sit mat (insulated pad to sit on when you stop for a break)

You might also want

  • Walking poles, particularly useful for descents.
  • Insect repellent
  • Flask for hot drinks
  • Rigid lunch box
  • Gaiters
  • Blister kit (eg Compeed) just in case
  • Waterproof rucksack liner
Version 1 Itinerary

Day 1Arrival Day

You’re welcome to check in from 4pm onwards. 

Accommodation: Holnicote House (D)

Day 2Holnicote and Selworthy Beacon

Option 1 – Bossington & Selworthy
Distance: 6.5 miles (11km)
Ascent: 1,000 feet (300m)
In summary: A circular walk exploring the countryside and villages around Holnicote House. Our route takes us to the coast via the village of Bossington, returning along the wooded slopes to charming Selworthy village.
Highlight: Selworthy village was rebuilt in 1828 by the Acland family to house the elderly workers of the Holnicote estate. The tea room is a delightful spot to relax in towards the end of the walk.

Option 2 – Selworthy Beacon
Distance: 7.5 miles (12km)
Ascent: 1,350 feet (420m)
In summary: Ascend through the woods to the Iron Age hillfort and the glorious viewpoint of Selworthy Beacon. After a hilltop walk we’ll descend through the fields to Selworthy village.
Highlight: Its a steep climb to the top of Selworthy Beacon, but your efforts will be rewarded with a great view north over the Bristol Channel and south towards the hills of Exmoor. 

Option 3 – Somerset Coast Path
Distance: 10 miles (16km)
Ascent: 2,050 feet (620m)
In summary: Head through the woods to Hurlstone Point, then along the rugged coastal path that meanders along the northern slopes of Selworthy Beacon. We’ll then ascend onto the summit and return via Selworthy village.
Highlight: This section of the coast path has a real ‘away from it all’ feel as it traverses around three deep combes above the sea.

Accommodation: Holnicote House (B, L, D)

Day 3Along the coast to Lynmouth

Option 1 – Countisbury Hill
Distance: 5 miles (8km)
Ascent: 600 feet (180m)
In summary: Starting high on Countisbury Common, this predominantly downhill walk takes us over Butter Hill to Countisbury Church, then zig-zags down through the woods to the harbour at Lynmouth.
Highlight: There’s plenty to explore in charming Lynmouth – relax in one of the tea rooms or pubs, or take the cliff railway to the Victorian town of Lynton.

Option 2 – Foreland Point
Distance: 8.5 miles (13.5km)
Ascent: 2,500 feet (780m)
In summary: Follow the South West Coast Path from Yenworthy Common to Lynmouth. Our route meanders around the wooded valleys towards the lighthouse at Foreland Point, then descends Countisbury Hill to Lynmouth.
Highlight: Enjoy fabulous sea views throughout the walk, including the classic view of Lynton and Lynmouth from the top of Countisbury Hill.

Option 3 – Along the Coast Path
Distance: 11 miles (17.5km)
Ascent: 2,850 feet (880m)
In summary: Follow the coastal path from the Culborne Inn to Lynmouth. Our route undulates over some of Britain’s highest sea cliffs, before the final grand descent to Lynmouth.
Highlight: Walk in the footsteps of poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who gained inspiration from this stunning landscape for his most famous poems.

Accommodation: Holnicote House (B, L, D)

Day 4Free day

A free day for you to explore the local area or to relax in the Country House. Our Discovery Points help you make the most out of your free day. There’s plenty of maps and a selection of the best local walking routes, as well as weather forecasts and public transport options – plus details about other places to visit. 

Accommodation: Holnicote House (B, L, D)

Day 5Valley and hills to Dunster Castle

Option 1 – Headon Cross to Dunster
Distance: 5 miles (8km)
Ascent: 700 feet (220m)
In summary: From Headon Cross we then head up through a mixed broadleaf wood onto the ridge line of Wootton Common before descending Grabbist Hill to the medieval village of Dunster..
Highlight: Look out for red deer on your journey across this broad ridge line, although illusive, you may hear the loud barking call of the stags especially during rutting season.

Option 2 – Over the hills to Dunster
Distance: 9 miles (15km)
Ascent: 1,600 feet (500m)
In summary: Walk from Holnicote House to historic Dunster. Our route takes us through the woods to the viewpoint at Webber’s Post, then enjoy the fine views as we follow the ridge over Wootton Common. 
Highlight: Dunster Castle was the home of the Luttrell family for over 600 years, and is now managed by the National Trust.

Option 3 – Dunkery Beacon
Distance: 12.5 miles (20km)
Ascent: 2,500 feet (760m)
In summary: Walk from Holnicote House up onto Dunkery Beacon, the highest point on Exmoor.  After descending across the moor to Wootton Courtenay, we’ll continue over the hills to Dunster.
Highlight: Our walk concludes by descending Grabbist Hill – a spot said to have inspired the hymn All things bright and beautiful.

Accommodation: Holnicote House (B, L, D)

Day 6The Doone Valley to Watersmeet

Option 1 – Doone Valley
Distance: 7.5 miles (12.5km)
Ascent: 1,250 feet (380m)
In summary: Starting high on Exmoor we’ll visit the valleys of Oare Water and Badgworthy Water, then take the charming riverside path beside the East Lyn river to Watersmeet.
Highlight: Our walks end at the National Trust’s tearoom at Watersmeet. This is the confluence of the East Lyn and Farley Water; a delightful spot in a beautiful wooded valley.

Option 2 – Badgworthy Water
Distance: 9.5 miles (15km)
Ascent: 1,550 feet (480m)
In summary: We’ll head to Oare church then follow Badgworthy Water into a remote corner of Exmoor. Our walk concludes beside the cascading waters of the East Lyn river to Watersmeet. 
Highlight: Walk in the footsteps of Lorna Doone, the heroine of RD Blackmore’s novel. We’ll stop at Oare church, the scene of the wedding between Lorna and John Ridd.

Option 3 – Wild Exmoor East
Distance: 12.5 miles (20.5km)
Ascent: 1,500 feet (460m)
In summary: Ascend from the Culbone Inn onto the wild open moorland of Exmoor. We reach our highest point at Lucott Cross, then past Hawke Combe and Halse Combe to Holnicote House.
Highlight: Discover the legend of the haunted junction at Lucott Cross – very fitting for such a wild location.

Accommodation: Holnicote House (B, L, D)

Day 7Porlock Hill to Holnicote House

Option 1 – Above Porlock
Distance: 7 miles (11km)
Ascent: 500 feet (160m)
In summary: Take the coach to the top of Porlock Hill for this predominately downhill walk over the rolling hills to the West of Holnicote House. We finish through Horner Woods, then across the fields to the house.
Highlight: Look out for red deer – the descent into Halse Combe is often a good place to spot them.

Option 2 – Hills & Wooded Valleys
Distance: 9.5 miles (15km)
Ascent: 1,700 feet (520m)
In summary: Follow a meandering route from Porlock Hill to Holnicote House. We’ll take in the beautiful wooded valleys of Shillett Combe and Horner Water, as well the heather-clad moorland above.
Highlight: Walking across a bright carpet of purple heather on the moors.

Option 3 – Wild Exmoor East
Distance: 12.5 miles (20.5km)
Ascent: 1,500 feet (460m)
In summary: Ascend from the Culbone Inn onto the wild open moorland of Exmoor. We reach our highest point at Lucott Cross, then past Hawke Combe and Halse Combe to Holnicote House.
Highlight: Discover the legend of the haunted junction at Lucott Cross – very fitting for such a wild location.

Accommodation: Holnicote House (B, L, D)

Day 8Departure Day

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home. (B)

Version 2 Itinerary

Day 1Arrival Day

You’re welcome to check in from 4pm onwards. 

Accommodation: Holnicote House (D)

Day 2Selworthy and Selworthy Beacon

Option 1 – Selworthy
Distance: 6 miles (9.5km)
Ascent: 1,550 feet (460m)
In summary: Walk to the charming villages of Allerford and Bossington, before continuing to the coast at Hurlstone Point. Our return route traverses the wooded slopes to Selworthy village, with time to explore.
Highlight: Wander through the once extensive Holnicote Estate to the ‘model village’ of Selworthy, with its collection of ‘chocolate box’ thatched cottages. 

Option 2 – Selworthy Beacon
Distance: 9 miles (14.5km)
Ascent: 1,750 feet (540m)
In summary: Our circuit from Holnicote House ascends through the woods to the top of Selworthy Beacon. Having followed the hill-top path we’ll return through the fields to Selworthy village.
Highlight: Discover St Agnes Fountain, a small spring dating from 1820, hidden in the beautiful wooded slopes of Selworthy Beacon.

Option 3 – Selworthy Circuit
Distance: 11 miles (17.5km)
Ascent: 1,900 feet (580m)
In summary: A longer circuit through the Holnicote Estate takes us to the coast at Hurlstone Point, then along the ridge over Selworthy Beacon. Eventually we descend from North Hill and return via Selworthy village.
Highlight: Enjoy the great views from the top of Selworthy Beacon – on a clear day you can see across the Bristol Channel to the Brecon Beacons.

Accommodation: Holnicote House (B, L, D)

Day 3Lynton and the Valley of Rocks

Option 1 – Valley of Rocks
Distance: 7 miles (11.5km)
Ascent: 1,550 feet (480m)
In summary: A walk with two distinct sections. We’ll first descend from Countisbury into the wooded valley at Watersmeet, then along the East Lyn River to Lynmouth. We’ll then take the cliff railway to explore Lynton and the Valley of Rocks.
Highlight: Soak up the views as you ride the Victorian cliff railway from Lynmouth to Lynton. This uses water power to lift you 500ft to the town above.

Option 2 – Around Lynton
Distance: 8.5 miles (13.5km)
Ascent: 1,800 feet (560m)
In summary: Take the zig-zag path down from Countisbury Hill to Watersmeet. We’ll continue along the hillside to the Victorian town of Lynton, climbing to a panoramic viewpoint above the Valley of Rocks.
Highlight: The Valley of Rocks is a local beauty spot with its own herd of wild goats who roam the precipitous hillsides.

Option 3 – Lynmouth Coastline
Distance: 11 miles (17.5km)
Ascent: 3,200 feet (980m)
In summary: Follow the glorious coastal path down Countisbury Hill to Lynmouth, then on to the Valley of Rocks and Lee Bay. We return along an elevated path to Lynton and Watersmeet.
Highlight: Soak up the classic view of Lynton and Lynmouth as you walk down Countisbury Hill. This walk has steep ascents and descents, but passes through spectacular scenery.

Accommodation: Holnicote House (B, L, D)

Day 4Free day

A free day for you to explore the local area or to relax in the Country House. Our Discovery Points help you make the most out of your free day. There’s plenty of maps and a selection of the best local walking routes, as well as weather forecasts and public transport options – plus details about other places to visit. 

Accommodation: Holnicote House (B, L, D)

Day 5The Quantocks

Option 1 – Quantocks & Nether Stowey
Distance: 7 miles (11.5km)
Ascent: 750 feet (240m)
In summary: Walk along the crest of the Quantocks, taking in Will’s Neck, the highest point. We then descend through the woods to the delightful village of Nether Stowey.
Highlight: There’s time to visit Coleridge Cottage (National Trust). This was the home of the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge and his wife Sara, where many of his works were written.

Option 2 – Quantock Ridge & Combe
Distance: 8.5 miles (14km)
Ascent: 1,050 feet (320m)
In summary: Ascend from the village of West Quantoxhead onto the ridgeline walking south along the ridgeline before descending through Quantock Combe towards Nether Stowey.
Highlight: Don’t forget to turn around as you climb to take in the expansive views out into St Audries Bay and beyond onto South Wales when the air is clear. 

Option 3 – Quantock Ridge
Distance: 11.5 miles (18.5km)
Ascent: 1,500 feet (460m)
In summary: A fabulous traverse along the full length of the Quantock Hills with the Bristol Channel stretched out ahead. 
Highlight: Look out for red deer as you walk along the Quantock Hills; as Britain’s largest wild mammals they are always an impressive sight.

Accommodation: Holnicote House (B, L, D)

Day 6Along the rivers to Exford

Option 1 – Exford and the Exe Valley
Distance: 6 miles (9.5km)
Ascent: 900 feet (280m)
In summary: A circular route from Exford village green, we climb Room Hill then descend into the River Exe valley and follow it back upstream to the village.
Highlight: You may well see buzzards and Exmoor ponies as you make your way across the hillside above the River Exe.

Option 2 – Simonsbath to Exford
Distance: 9 miles (14.5km)
Ascent: 1,150 feet (360m)
In summary: From Simonsbath we head into the ancient Royal Forest of Exmoor and follow the River Barle valley to Withypool then cross Room Hill before descending into Exford.
Highlight: Look out for a 19th century iron and copper mine and an iron age hill fort on this walk full of historical interest.

Option 3 – Exe Head to Exford
Distance: 13 miles (21km)
Ascent: 1,450 feet (440m)
In summary: After visiting the source of the River Exe at Exe Head, we descend to follow the River Barle, then pass through Withypool and on to Exford.
Highlight: Head into the heart of Exmoor for this walk through beautiful tranquil countryside.

Accommodation: Holnicote House (B, L, D)

Day 7Dunkery Beacon and Horner Water

Option 1 – Dunkery Beacon
Distance: 7.5 miles (12.5km)
Ascent: 600 feet (180m)
In summary: Our coach takes us to Exford Common, high on Exmoor. From here we’ll head to the top of Dunkery Beacon, then descend through the wooded Horner valley back to Holnicote House.
Highlight: Dunkery Beacon, is the highest point on Exmoor. From the summit you can enjoy panoramic views over the moors and wooded valleys of the national park. 

Option 2 – Over the Beacon
Distance: 9 miles (14.5km)
Ascent: 1,450 feet (440m)
In summary: Ascend from Wheddon Cross through the Raleigh Manor Estate onto Dunkery Beacon. Our descent takes us over the moors, then through Horner Wood Nature Reserve.
Highlight: This walk is another good opportunity to spot red deer. Take your binoculars for the best chance of seeing these beautiful creatures.

Option 3 – Roof of Exmoor
Distance: 12 miles (19km)
Ascent: 2,000 feet (600m)
In summary: Walk over the moors from Exford to the summit of Dunkery Beacon. Continuing across the moor we descend to Stoke Pero church, then head through Horner Woods back to Holnicote House.
Highlight: Choose a clear day and your efforts will be rewarded with a panoramic view that stretches to Dartmoor, and across the Bristol Channel to South Wales.

Accommodation: Holnicote House (B, L, D)

Day 8Departure Day

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home. (B)

Dates and Prices
Version 1
Departure Dates
Per person (single or twin) Single in a double room
2021: March 5 $1,840 $2,120
2021: March 26 $2,000 $2,280
2021: April 2 $2,000 $2,280
2021: May 15, 22 $2,170 $2,450
2021: June 12, 26 $2,170 $2,450
2021: July 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 $2,170 $2,450
2021: August 14, 21 $2,170 $2,450
2021: September 4 $2,170 $2,450
2021: September 24 $2,000 $2,280
2021: October 8, 15, 22 $2,000 $2,280
Version 2
Departure Dates
Per person (single or twin) Single in a double room
2021: March 12 $1,840 $2,120
2021: April 9 $2,000 $2,280
2021: May 22, 29 $2,170 $2,450
2021: July 3 $2,170 $2,450
2021: August 7, 28 $2,170 $2,450
2021: September 11 $2,170 $2,450
2021: October 1 $2,000 $2,280

Dates shown in green are guaranteed departures.

Pricing

Pricing is per person (pp) based on single/twin/double occupancy.

Supplement applied for single in a double room.

Rates are in $ CAD. Rates include room upgrade (better) and membership fees. 


Contact DHTour at 1-888-597-3519 or 905-639-9954 or dhtour@dhtour.ca to book.

Ask us for the best available pricing for your dates & choice of airline. We can assist in your travel to/from the Country House.

This tour is also available in 3 or 4 night duration. 

This holiday includes active sightseeing and you should expect to spend lots of time on your feet.

While every effort will be made to adhere to the described itinerary, we may occasionally vary the sequence shown here or substitute an alternative route to suit local conditions or for other operational reasons, potentially at short notice. Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.

Travel Details:
Address is: Holnicote House, Selworthy, Minehead, Somerset TA24 8TJ

By Rail:
The nearest railway station is at Taunton.

By Taxi:
The 30-mile journey from Taunton railway station takes approximately 55 minutes. You can pre-book a taxi from our recommended taxi company, Bossington Private Hire. As a guide price, it costs £56 per 4-seat taxi in 2020. 8-seat taxis are also available at a higher rate. A shared taxi will be arranged wherever possible. Please prebook your taxi at least 7 days in advance by contacting:

Bossington Private Hire*
Tel: +44 (0) 7971 044871
Email: inbossington@gmail.com
The return taxi journey can be arranged on your behalf by the Holnicote House Manager.
*Bossington Private Hire is not owned or managed by us.

By Bus:
The number 28 bus operates between Taunton station and Minehead. At Minehead change for the number 10 bus that will take you to the Selworthy turn (which is at the end of Holnicote House drive). A 2 minute walk along the drive will bring you to the house. Alternatively pre-book a taxi from Minehead; the 6 mile journey will cost you approx £10 for a 4-seat taxi from our recommended taxi provider.

By Car:
From Bridgewater take the A39 though the southern outskirts of Minehead towards Porlock. Holnicote House is on the left about 4½ miles out of Minehead, and about ¾ mile after the signpost to Luccombe (do not follow the signs to Selworthy). After the Selworthy Village sign look out for our sign 500 yards further on, on the left. Free car parking is available in the grounds.

Hotel Descriptions
4

Holnicote House

Lying near the attractive village of Selworthy, in the heart of the Exmoor National Park, historic Holnicote House stands within a series of peaceful gardens with spreading lawns. Once the centrepiece of an extensive 12,500 acre estate, the charming and characterful house was gifted to the National Trust in 1944. Since then it has been reimagined as a walkers’ retreat, with wonderful access to the countryside. As well as 32 delightful bedrooms, there are two comfortable lounges and a sociable bar. The landscaped gardens are still part of the wider Holnicote Estate and provide a wonderful area to wander. Outside the house, explore wild Exmoor, walk in the Quantocks, climb Dunkery Beacon and stroll on the Somerset Coast Path with the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, drop in Dunster Castle, ride a Victorian cliff railway and watch for wildlife including the majestic red stags.

Address: Holnicote House, Selworthy, Minehead, Somerset TA24 8TJ

Room Amenities: Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in one of the main building’s bright, beautifully presented rooms or in the thatched cottages in the grounds, called Butlers and Guns respectively. With 32 bedrooms, Holnicote House has plenty of space and there’s a range of Good, Better and Best Rooms to choose from: best rooms are on the first floor and decorated in keeping with the National Trust estate, with plenty of space and great views over the back garden, reaching out across Crawter Hill and Dunkery Hill, Somerset and Exmoor’s highest point. Ask for numbers 1, 4 or 9 to feel suitably special.

All ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ and ‘Best’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress, larger television, enhanced toiletries and a fluffy bathrobe & slippers.

Hotel Amenities: Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, attractive garden, outdoor swimming pool, multi-purpose activity room, lounge, library and board games to borrow

After a day walking on Exmoor or exploring the heath and moorland, come back to the house and its specially tailored walkers’ facilities. Relax by sitting in the pretty gardens or challenge a fellow guest to a game of croquet. Take a dip in the large heated outdoor pool. For something less strenuous, snag a comfy chair in one of the cosy lounges, borrow a book, join a game of cards or scour the countryside through the large telescope. Head to the bar before dinner for a drink and a chance to catch up with your companions, best enjoyed by the windows overlooking the estate.

Map

Photos