Encounter Walking


The Coleridge Way Walking Holiday

 

Highlights - A huge variety of walking including open moors, ancient woodland and deep gorges ending at the coast. Well off the usual tourist track on quiet and peaceful trails with few walkers. Discover timeless,  pretty villages and endless inspiring views on a walk suitable for all. Links Exmoor National Park with the protected Quantocks and Brendon Hill Areas of Oustanding Natural Beauty.

Options – Link to one of the best sections of the South West Coast Path West to Barnstaple or East back to Minehead or join the Somerset Coast Path on the week long 100 mile challenge route. Climb Dunkerry Beacon, highest point on Exmoor. Add an extra day at Lynmouth to walk the best and final day of the Two Moors Way walk on a crazy descent from the heights of Exe Head all the way down the gorges to sea level.

Porlock Village end of The Coleridge Way Walking Holiday on ExmoorA 51 mile footpath through North Somerset from Nether Stowey to Lynmouth, over the Quantock Hills, The Brendon Hills and walking through Exmoor National Park 

Samuel Coleridge, one of England’s most influential poets, moved to live in the tranquil Somerset Quantocks in 1797 and inspired by the stunning scenery he found he went on to write his best loved poems here including The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and the epic Kubla Khan. Quickly joined by his fellow Romantic Poets William and Dorothy Wordsworth the trio spent so much time roaming the moors and coast that a Government Agent was sent to investigate the local rumours that they were spying for the French.... luckily for them the unimpressed Agent concluded that they were “mere poets”.

Coleridge himself was such a fervent walker he would walk from Nether Stowey to Porlock in one day. Today’s walkers can follow a longer route along the Coleridge Way to the coast at Lynmouth, exploring the Quantock and Brendon Hills before reaching the charming moorland village of Porlock and crossing breathtaking Exmoor National Park. From 2015 the Coleridge Way was extended on to the coast at Lynmouth taking in the little visited Brendon Valley,  home of Lorna Doone. En route you will uncover at your own pace, the locations and scenery that inspired Coleridge, Wordsworth and the birth of the Romantic Movement itself.

 

The Coleridge Trail Overview

 

"On springy heath, along the hill-top edge,

Wander in gladness, and wind down, perchance,

To that still roaring dell, of which I told;

The roaring dell, o'erwooded, narrow, deep,"

A real treasure of a walk, The Coleridge Way takes you through an array of different scenery in a quiet, unspoilt and little known area of The West Country. Be prepared for expansive panoramic views by day and by night cosy stays in timeless historic thatched villages.

Walk a diverse route that one day travels a purple carpet of moorland heather scarred by deep wooded coombes.

The next follow atmospheric sunken paths alongside rushing, sparkling wooded stream valleys. A journey that ends on ancient dark forest tracks that take the walker into a set of fierce deep gorges culminating at the dramatic Valley of the Rocks and the stunning coastline of North Devon.

Expect to see wild deer on this hiking trail, from mighty lone stags to nervous roes, watched by soaring buzzards and kestrels on the moor and woodpeckers and dippers in the wooded valleys. Don’t expect to encounter tourist crowds, noise, cars or stress, just a stunning landscape, ever varied walking and the same escape from urban life that inspired Coleridge to create his masterpieces.

Passing through The Quantock Hills, Brendon Hills and crossing Exmoor National Park.  The Quantocks was made the first designated Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty in England in 1956 and are also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) - nearly 10% of the world's maritime heathland lies within its boundaries.

The Brendon Hills offer seldom visited upland walking leading into the unique delights of the Exmoor National Park walking routes.

Voted number 2 in the UK’s best 10 “Peaceful Walks” by the Independent Newspaper as well as making the list of Britain’s best Autumn walks in The Times, this is a route suitable for all and with its run of charming pub and tea shop villages to sustain you on the way, The Coleridge Way is walkable at any time of year. 

The Coleridge Way – Walking Distances and Grades

3 days Fast and Fit Walkers route (17 miles daily average)

4 day Std Walking Route  (13 miles daily average)

6 day Relaxed Walkers route  (9 miles daily average)

Grade – Generally Moderate Walking (what this grade means) with a few steep ascents of around 600ft. Suitable for all fit walkers over 4 days and any level of walkers over 6 days.

This route is well marked on the ground and is fully marked on OS Maps.  The Coleridge Way follows the edges of the moorland and is therefore suitable for all levels of walkers but does have more challenging options such as climbing Dunkerry Beacon for those who want it.

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