Exmoor is an excellent holiday destination for people who love nothing more than pulling on their walking boots and discovering new territory. There are miles of footpaths to explore whether you are more of a fair weather stroll-along-the-river walker, or a hard-core "what's a bit of rain?" hiker who relishes a challenge. Walking trails in Exmoor National Park include circular walks around Exford, Lynton and Wheddon Cross. There are longer routes through Bye Common and Winsford, or through Horner and Selworthy Woods, and footpaths designed to lead you to some of Exmoor's fascinating archaeological history such as those through Simonsbath and Badgworthy. There are also beautiful views from the South West Coast Path and Coleridge Way, the latter of which will take you through the landscape that inspired one of Britain's greatest romantic poets.
Jump in a 4x4 and see the famous Exmoor ponies and red deer in their natural habitat on an Exmoor safari. There are several companies that take visitors on guided tours of this amazing landscape, sharing with you their passion for the various birds, plants and animals you will see. Tours typically last around three hours and are an excellent way of learning more about this ancient landscape and the wildlife that lives there. If you are there in October, you might be lucky enough to see red stags rutting as they fight for their pick of the hinds.
If the moors are wild and untamed, then Tiverton is genteel and refined. The lovely town sits at the junction of the Exe and Lowman Rivers, and there has been a thriving population there since Anglo Saxon times. Today, it is a beautiful place to visit with great restaurants, pubs and cafes, shops and museums. Sunny days can be spent exploring the grounds at Knightshayes Court, or walking or cycling beside the Grand Western Canal. It is one of the few places left in the UK where you can travel along the canal on a horse-drawn barge. Visit the Devon Railway Centre or discover the area's history at Tiverton Castle or The Tiverton Museum of Mid Devon Life.
Lynton and Lynmouth
Exmoor National Park is a well-rounded holiday destination, offering beautiful beaches as well as mystical moorland. Lynton's cliffs overlook Lynmouth Harbour and across the Bristol Channel to South Wales, and there are some spectacular walks in the area including the Valley of Rocks walk where you will be kept company by the local community of wild goats, around Wringcliff Bay, and from Lynmouth to the waterfalls at Watersmeet. A ride on the water-powered funicular between Lynmouth and Lynton is not for the faint-hearted, but the views are worth it and it is far easier than walking all that way uphill!
The area was a favourite resort during Victorian times and you can see its heritage in the decorative buildings which house a variety of shops, cafes and pubs. It is a fantastic place to stay or visit while you are in the area. If you have the time or the weather is unkind, the independent cinema run by local volunteers is a treat.