Discover challenging and dramatic walking trails shaped by the footsteps of traders, smugglers, saints and pirates. Cornish walking trails will reveal ancient tin mines, clifftop castles, timeless fishing villages and wild moors as you travel through a landscape of huge cliffs and hidden coves that goes back to the depths of time itself. In between the coastal drama, iconic harbours such as St Ives and Padstow give walkers access to some of the UK‘s best restaurants and coastal hotels. A county encircled by the wild Atlantic ocean, there is over 330 miles of spectacular world class coast path here taking you around the farthest corners of England - put simply it feels like walking on the edge of the world.
Stretching from coast to coast across the southwest of England, Devon is a richly diverse county with rugged shores and cliffs in the north, and classic Victorian seaside resorts in the south. In between you'll find tranquil green pastures, wooded gorges and the two dramatic wild moors in the National Parks of Dartmoor and Exmoor. Choose Devon for its walking variety, and you'll find that the popular image of cream teas and thatched cottages is true - but that Devon is so much more once you explore it on two feet. Coast to coast routes like the Two Moors Way will offer a journey through it all from the wild northern shores that inspired the Romantic poets to the maritime ports of the south coast.
Free your soul and clear your mind! Walking on the wild moors of these National Parks is a wonderful antidote to modern living. England's last true wilderness, Dartmoor offers 365 square miles of virtually uninhabited freedom with high moors and twisted dramatic granite tors a land of myths, ghosts and legends. Exmoor, its smaller and more gentle neighour, is 250 Square miles of near perfect and unique beauty, with high uplands swathed in heather and steep, wooded gorges and rushing streams. See Dartmoor ponies and Exmoor stags in these wildlife rich areas, home to 30 species of mammals and over 240 types of bird. The moors offer a unique opportunity for more challenging walking where the only human sound you will hear is the rhythm of your own breath.
Avoid the crowds and discover “Secret Somerset” missed by so many rushing headlong for the far South West. The 'land of the summer people' was named in a time when this area could only be visited in the summer months as the sea receded. Today its a rich, fertile and 'for real' landscape crowned by the fine walking ridges of the Mendip and Quantock Hills both protected areas of outstanding natural beauty. Rising up over King Arthur‘s Vale of Avalon along with the magical Tor at Glastonbury, walkers will find hidden gorges, wooded combes and the best inland panoramas of the South West. Also boasting its own Jurassic Coast Path, providing a gateway into the wilds of Exmoor National Park, Somerset offers walking routes without the crowds for those who want to find..... what the rest miss.
Dorset has a comfortable old world “English” feel to it and its walking routes traverse a rather more green and agricultural land of thatched cottages, cream teas.... and fossils ! Walkers here will find the more gentle rolling farmland, pretty villages and chalk ridges beloved by Thomas Hardy that sweep down to end abruptly at the World Heritage Jurassic Coast. Here, alongside the sea, those after more challenging routes can take a walking holiday through time itself amongst the dramatic chalk stacks, cliffs and arches of the Dorsetshire fossil coast. An area that can be very busy in high season but often suits walkers looking for more gentle and less exposed walking than the far west of the region.
Wales offers some of the best walking and outdoor activities to be had anywhere in the world. The 870-mile Welsh Coast Path was only fully opened in 2012 and is the world's first walk along the entire coast of a nation. The terrain is on an equally grand scale with towering cliffs, vast stretches of unspoilt golden sands, imposing castles, offshore islands and to the north there is the backdrop of Snowdonia National Park with its stunning mountains. Wales in general offers walkers great value for money compared to more popular areas like Cornwall with walking options to suit everyone, from those who want the cosmopolitan restaurants and facilities of towns like Tenby and St Davids, through to isolated and remote forests and coastal hills that sit on the very cusp of the Snowdonian Peaks. Bursting with confidence and pride in its “Welshness”, its Celtic history, language and culture there has never been a better time for walkers to enter Wales.
The South West Coast Path is the UK's longest National Trail and one of the top ten walking routes in the world. It snakes, dips and rises continuously on its way through a staggering 1014km (630 miles) of pristine coastline, 450 miles of which is through nationally protected areas. It's a challenge too; walking the entire South West Coast Path is the equivalent to scaling Mount Everest four times! From towering cliffs to hidden coves, ghostly tin mines to lush subtropical wooded creeks. One minute a dramatic rock theatre hewn out of the cliffs, the next a prehistoric fossilized forest or a 20thC Art Deco Island Hotel. What sets The South West Coast Path apart from other trails is that around almost every corner is yet another surprise as you retrace the footsteps and histories of the tin miners, fisherman, smugglers, wreckers and the customs men who chased them.
Would you choose Encounter Walking Holidays for future holidays? Yes
Would you recommend Encounter Walking Holidays to others? Yes
Sarah and I had a great time doing the Two Moors Way. It was challenging but fun, and a great achievement to complete it. We were quite lucky with the weather; not much rain and comfortable walking temperature most days with only 1 or 2 days being very hot.
All the accommodation and luggage transfers worked smoothly. The accommodation was all good, a nice variety of pubs, hotels and a farm, but no complaints, they were all friendly and accommodating some of them especially so. We did get a packed lunch from all of them, some had a lot more content than others but they were all OK, but we were a bit fed up with cheese sandwiches and ham sandwiches by the end of the week - would have been nice if they'd had some other choices (to be fair, a couple offered egg mayonnaise too, but that's not something that travels well especially on warmer days!). And some of them had homemade brownies/cakes etc on their dinner/lunch menus, but only the farm put anything homemade in their pack lunch - the farm was definitely the best pack lunch of the week!
The walking instructions combined with the book and frequent referrals to ordnance survey maps on our mobiles kept us on track. I think it was just once where we got slightly lost. It was on day 1, on Dartmoor, we had to get to a cross and then look out for a "settlement" and bear left. But we didn't even notice a "settlement" and just instinctively followed the only prominent path not realising we were even at a decision point. So we had to back track there, but there was still no other path that we could make out (or a settlement) so we just headed up a hill in the generally correct direction until a path became apparent.
Thanks for all you arrangements, organisation and support. It made for a great adventurous and challenging holiday.
I just wanted to say thank you once again for the superb organisation of our walk this week from Wembury to Morchard Road. All went without a hitch apart from my navigation skills on a couple of occasions when I failed to pick up the Two Moors Way, following other footpath signs instead - but soon corrected. Most importantly my teenage son enjoyed the walk (it can difficult to get teenagers to admit they might enjoy anything that doesn't involve computer games and the internet!) and the fact that we now have completed the Two Moors Way having done the northern half two years ago - again thanks to you.
We will have to think what walking we might do next.
Would you choose Encounter Walking Holidays for future holidays? No
A really enjoyable walk, diverse scenery, (mainly) fine weather, and remarkably few people around. Route well marked and planning and organisation by Encounter first-rate.
We enjoyed our holiday, no rain all week which helped, luggage transfers perfect.
You Do need to be able to navigate on the moors. We did enjoy going to Widecombe, adds more miles but worth it.
We did find The Sportmans basic but appreciate there is little accommodation in Ivybridge with long term parking.
When we arrived at Withypool the pub was shut due to staff holidays! Luckily we arrived before 5 and the tea room was open so they heated a pasty for us which we ate at our accommodation. The ladies in the tea room and shop said the pub was becoming unreliable.
Had a taxi to Barnstaple then train to Ivybridge, lovely train ride along the coast.
Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend your company.
Carol and Paul
Sure, I'd be glad to give you feedback about the walk.
First of all, we had a great holiday, the Two Moors Way was an awesome experience and I would like to thank everyone involved at Encounter Walking Holidays for the excellent planning. Generally it was a good idea to take the relaxed route especially since we were carrying our own luggage. After the muscle soreness was gone after the first three days it really was a relaxed walk. The accomodations were well chosen and all of good quality even though we would have preferred more smaller B&Bs. But that was probably because we booked late and there were no other options left. Often the packed lunch felt a bit overpriced when paying 5 Pound per person for just one sandwich each, but that is just a minor concern. Let me go through the days just to leave some comments:
Day 2: We took the longe route at the coast and it was worth the effort. The weather was fine and we took a bath at Wembury Beach. What a great day! Very nice rooms at the Rose & Crown Inn.
Day 3: Good walk, nothing special to mention.
Day 4: We were a bit unlucky with the weather in the open moorland, from 11pm it has been raining all day. Even though we had rainwear we got soaked to the bone. No waymarking at all once you enter the open moorland and without GPS we definetly would have ran into problems. It was quite a demanding day and I would recommend every walker not to underestimate the area. But we had a pleasant meal in Scorriton.
Day 5: The weather cleared up and we had a beautiful day. The Manor Cottage was lovely and the host was very kind and helpful.
Day 6: Perfect weather in the Open Moorland, absolutely beautiful day! We took the detour to The Warren House Inn and had a little concert by a piano player that was in the pub. The Drewe Arms is a fine place to stay and it would probably have been the best place for a rest day. We had dinner in Chagford, but not at the Three Crowns but at the Ring o' Bells, which was surprisingly good.
Day 7: A pleasant walk, I liked the Devonshire Dumpling, even though it was a bit noisy, located directly to a main road. But we joined the pub quiz and had a good time. Gordon was an excellent host.
Day 8: Exeter is worth a visit, expecially the Quayside and the Cathedral
Day 9: The Mitre Inn was a nice place to stay.
Day 10: Even though I was sceptical before the Mason Arms turned out to be an excellent place to have dinner. Especially because it is a countryside pub and everything is just relaxed and casual and not as formal and posh as in most restaurants of such a category.
Day 11: The Royal Oak Inn turned out to be booked out for evening meal, so maybe other walkers should be aware of that. But Julian and Polly from Westerclose House Cottages were so sweet to go by car with us to the next village to a pub. We had such a nice time having dinner with them! And there is a lovely little tearoom in Whitypool which I would recommend.
Day 12: Nothing special to mention.
Day 13: We had a blast walking to Lynmouth. The descent to the village is just breathtaking with the mountains and the sea.
Day 14: Lynmouth/Lynton is a good place for another rest day. We decided not to walk and did a boat trip and had some cream tea.
What I didn't know before was, that you could get seals of the Two Moors Way into a book to document the different places. We discovered that at the end and only got the one in Lynmouth at the National Park Centre. It doesn't really matter, but maybe that is interesting for other walkers.
Thank you for reading I hope this is helpful for you.
Dear Organizers of encounter Walking Holidays,
Thank you so much for planning our walking holiday! My husband and I had a wonderful trip - It was much better than expected.
The waether was wonderful, maybe its little too warm and also unusual for England.
The hike became more beautiful from day to day.
Also the accommodations.
Just for your future hints on hikes, I would like to give you also the few not quite optimal things.
We drove from London to Totness by train. From there is only the possibility to reach Ivybridge by taxi (start of the hike).
As is well known by the German Railway in hot weather, that the air conditioning fails, so it was also on the train to Totness. But the British railway immediately offered us free water.
At the train station in Totness there is unfortunately no taxi on site, but you can request a taxi by the telephone number you provided in the itinerary plan.
The accommodation in the Sportsman's Inn still has a lot of potential.
During the hike through Dartmoor to Scorriton we lost our way. The signage is very poor and you have to be very careful. Here our Garmin was very helpful.
The accommodation "The Tradesmans Arms" and the meals there were wonderful. Thanks a lot to Kevin und Suzy.
The hike from there to Widecombe in the moor was fantastic.
Lots of green, shadows and beautiful streams.
The accommodation was very clean. The landlady had served us a very nicely prepared breakfast.
The village is very nice to look at and there are very nice cafes and restaurants and a very nice restaurant with garden to relax.
Also the next hike to Drewsteignton through Celtic settlements was very nice, but very long, so that we stopped in Chagford.
A very nice village.
The accommodation "Drewe Arms" has been already extraordinary; a very old house and proper.
That evening, England played against Croatia and we watched TV together with the villagers and hoped soooo much that England would win.....
The hike to Morchard Road was very strenuous as there was a lot to go on asphalt. Also, the lead in West Ford was not to be found.
We were rewarded with a comfort accommodation in "The Dewonshire Dumpling" and a very nice breakfast there. We tried for the first time black pudding, because we had a friendly chef from Scotland. Black Pudding is Delicious!
Followed a really easy tour to Witheridge.
A nice little old hotel "The Mitre Inn"with a friendly landlady, good dinner and Super good breakfast.
On the occasion, there were at most accommodations also gluten-free breakfast.
Also the next tour to Knowstone was not long but strenuous because of the long sections on asphalt.
For us "Rosemary Cottage"' was the best B&B on the tour. It was really all perfect.
And what a surprise in such a small village, a restaurant with Michelin star.
We enjoyed it so much! Unforgettable.
Due to the effect of my broken toe, I couldn' t walk the long way. So the luggage driver was so kind to take a piece of the car with us, so we could shorten the rather long route. I was so happy about it. And we could enjoy Tarr Steps.
Julian and Polly awaited us in Withypool "Westerclose House Cottage". They gave us an apartment so we had a nicer view of the landscape. Everything was perfect. The only restaurant in the place was very rustic.
The way to Simonsbath was pretty nice.
"Exmoor Forest Inn" was a very comfortable hotel. The food there did not correspond to this elegant hotel.
The next day we went with respect to the last long stage.
To our astonishment the track was very entertaining and varied.
The steep climb to the cliffs and the descent to Lynmouth was simply a great conclusion to the hike.
Nice hotel with a small room but with very good restaurant and very good breakfast.
The return to the airport by taxi, local bus and coach takes a long time but works very well.
Finally, we would like to emphasize again how beautiful we felt the hikes and how many beautiful impressions we have gained from the land and the people.
We can recommend the Two Moors Way to everyone.
Thank you very much.
Ursula und Gerhard
We're back and wanted to let you know that we had a great time and everything worked very well. We were so glad we'd planned for more days and shorter walks as it meant that despite the heat we actually coped remarkably well, usually arriving between 2-3pm leaving us plenty of time to cool down and relax every day. And there was always a breeze plus lots of sections in the shade.
All the accommodation was a very good standard and our hosts often went out of their way to make us welcome even when we arrived early desperate for shade and a drink! We were lucky enough to get a table at the Mason's Arms in Knowstone which was a first Michelin star experience for us and really wonderful. The ploughman's supper at Drewsteignton was epic and it was one of our favourite stops! And there was no problem checking in later at West Bowden Farm - we arrived in Knowstone by (late) lunchtime and spent the afternoon in the Mason's Arms and village.
And our two luggage transporters - Robert and Jim were lovely - so friendly and helpful. The route was mostly very well signed and a joy to walk (even the boggy bits were firm and dry!); although in the central section there were two padlocked gates and a few missing signs.
So thank you for all your arrangements - it made this sort of walking holiday possible (even luxurious) for two sixty something year olds!
Sheila and Tony
Went with my brother in law Bryan Tudor. Had a great time but it was quite hard we are both 66 but fit. The accomadation at Ivybridge and Widecombe we’re poor but the rest ok. We expected to see other walkers on the route and perhaps some advice at Ivybridge. But nothing perhaps our expectations were wrong. Two Moors way markings in South Devon very poor but excellent in the North including Somerset. We heard about people in wet April getting horribly lost. You need good visibility on the moor to see the landmarks. Scenery was sensational so this walk could if signed and marketed correctly be very popular. JR
Encounter Walking - Good advice John as its not a walk for a first time walking holiday and you need to be good with maps for the open moorland sections. Just to clarify it was none of our walkers that got lost but yes it does happen. We provide a good bit of extra material on the open moor sections to try to prevent this. The Two Moors Way Association of which we are members is having some granite boulder markers installed on Dartmoor in the most remote locations to help with navigation for 2019 season onwards.
We returned yesterday and had an excellent trip - thank you.
I know that you were not responsible for the excellent weather (!), but for everything else which worked like clockwork, thank you. We will consider using Encounter again, and will recommend you to friends.
We enjoyed all the walk, a bit muddy in places, and we were slightly surprised by the lack of waymarking in some places on both Dartmoor and Exmoor. By comparison, we are used to seeing a few more finger posts on the North York Moors or in the Yorkshire Dales. Anyway, no navigation problems and the notes were useful re anticipation of challenging spots and anticipation or not of refreshment stops.
The only other comments - a field of very frisky bullocks just after we had crossed the A30 (walking poles helpfully kept them at a distance), Lynmouth closed down very early each evening and the challenge re accommodation in Porlock Weir. We were very comfortable at Locanda (thank you for the upgrade), but felt the evening menu did not hit the spot re substantial walker's food. (We ate at the Bottom Ship which was excellent).
A great way to get a taster of what Devon has to offer, with fantastic wild flowers
Hi Damon, It really was a magical experience. The only thing that you have much control over that could use improvement at your end is that your baggage tags could be a bit more robust. You're doing a great job and I wish you all the best.
The first thing to say is that, not surprisingly, after such a wet winter the paths were EXTREMELY muddy and impassable in places. However, all the fords were passable with no problems. We had to use 'yellow' roads instead of the paths in places and used the low level route between Scoriton and Chagford, however even that was difficult going in places because of mud. The mud slowed us down a lot and on this day we 'copped out' at Jurston and took 'yellow' roads and permissive paths immediately east of Meldon Common to enter Chagford from the south.
Gordon at The Devonshire Dumpling recommended taking the Two Moors Path to Morchard Bishop then walk to Washford Pynes along the road to rejoin the path which we did.
Word of warning that the public toilets in Witheridge are being refurbished and were closed.
Regarding accommodation, several places didn't start breakfast until 8.30 which is a problem when a) you have a long way to go and b) your bags are being picked up at 9.
Twice the luggage transfer arrived before 9, although the driver was ok about us not being ready.
The Langdon Court at Wembury was lovely, very welcoming, great room and excellent food. The cafe in Market Street in Yealmpton is closed. The Volunteer (pub) does good food including chiabattas. We bought sandwiches etc from Tesco Express in Ivybridge before starting out that morning.
The Tradesman's Arms like a week's notice for packed lunches as they have to order their bread several days in advance. Lovely room, excellent food and very welcoming.
The Globe in Chagford had a lovely big room, food 6-9 in the evening but breakfast starts at 8.30am. They don't do packed lunches but directed us to a bakery and Spar shop in the Square.
At the Devonshire Dumpling we received a very warm welcome. The room was good and pub food excellent. Breakfast normally at 9 but will do it at 8 for those going to Knowstone.
If you leave Morchard Road by 9 you should be in Knowstone before 5, useful to know as if eating at West Bowden Farm the meal is at 6.30pm. See also earlier comments about route from Morchard Road.
Our hosts at Westerclose House were brilliant. Very friendly and although they are predominantly self-catering and so weren't expecting to be asked if they could provide a packed lunch they very kindly provided us with the best picnic of the week. For our evening meal we ate at the village pub and would recommend booking a table even midweek as the pub is small and very popular.
We used the route via Pickedstone Farm past Cow Castle on the route between Withypool and Lynmouth which was good and well-marked. Two things of note - Prayway Head north of Simonsbath was difficult to cross as it was extremely boggy and it was tricky to find Exe Head - we initially went slightly too far east and joined the Macmillan Way just east of where it crosses Two Moors but were easily able to follow the boundary back to Exe Head.
This last day was a long one especially with the ups and downs through The Cleaves in misty conditions, however The Rising Sun was a fitting end to the walk. Our room was beautiful and the evening meal in the restaurant, while not cheap, was worth every penny.
Walked the two moors way from Ivybridge to Lynmouth over a 6 day period. Very lucky with the weather as only walked in the rain for about an hour however due to overnight and previous heavy rain quite a few boggy areas to negotiate. As warned, the path was indistinct in some places but really quite well marked once we got out of the Dartmoor National Park. In the park very poor signage which would be easy to remedy. Excellent organisation on all levels by Encounter and with the exception of The Sportsman's Inn in Ivybridge accommodation was really very good.
First of all, a huge thank you to Encounter to for organising the trip for us. Everything ran like clockwork and there wasn't the slightest query anywhere we went, including luggage transfer (although we did chat to the driver picking up our luggage one morning and he did say that we'd made his life 'interesting'!).
All the accommodation was excellent and pleasantly varied. Food - and drink - excellent too although possibly we might have overindulged a little here and there! Rude not to in the circumstances! Weather on trip was mixed, with some glorious days but a couple of rainy ones along the way. I did discover that my beloved cagoule had ceased to be 'suitable for purpose' on the first rainy day, never a good thing and at the worst possible time! It wasn't a major problem all told though. The walking was pretty easy as it turned out and the longest day of over 15 miles was our favourite as we crossed Dartmoor to Widecombe. It was nice to have a couple of shorter days to relax and recover though.
Several days we actually completed the walking by late lunchtime/early afternoon which gave us chance to have a look round places we might not have had time to do otherwise and on the day it rained hard on the stretch to Witheridge, the short distance was a positive boon, getting us into the Mitre at lunchtime to read the Sunday papers with tea and/or a glass of something! Navigation was straightforward - we had two different maps, two different guidebooks and a GPS! Signage is plentiful until you reach Dartmoor, where as others have remarked, the way is not obvious in a couple of places.
We made two navigational errors of note - first was, embarrassingly, not seeing the sign indicating the alley to leave the square at Witheridge, where we milled about a bit and then read the maps properly, and got it right. The other was on Dartmoor in poor weather and visibility heading to Huntingdon Ford where we went too far right and had to turn left down the (very wet underfoot) stream bank from the ruins of Warren House to get back on course. We always knew where we were though, it was just mildly annoying to have taken the wrong path. We carried the Harvey's Map of the TMW but relied mainly on the brilliant Yellow Publications concertina TMW maps (recommended). The two guide books we carried were the Devon County Council guide and the Cicerone guide. The latter has a wealth of information, historical and otherwise and was worth carrying for that, but it is worse than useless for a southbound walk as there are no specific southbound instructions. The guide of choice on a day by day basis was the DCC one which does have instructions for both directions of travel.
The Encounter trip notes were uniformly excellent and the only problem we had was not being able to secure a packed lunch from the Drewe Arms at Drewsteignton. When we enquired on arrival if it was possible to get packed lunches for the following day we were advised 'not really, we don't really do them'. Fortunately the Post Office/Store a couple of doors away was open and we were able to provision ourselves from there, but it is a potential problem if you leave on a Sunday from there.
Overall we and our two friends had a fantastic time and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves both on the trail and off and are already talking about where to go next! (Probably somewhere flat by the sounds of things, although I prefer my walks to have a bit of altitude!). We would unreservedly recommend Encounter to others (in fact I already have!). Thanks again for the splendid organisation and a wonderful trip!
Everything was great thanks, even the weather wasn’t too bad – the last day was pretty wild but added to the atmosphere on Exmoor. I have one recommendation for you to make to people. I used the OS Maps App and had Topo Maps as a backup – using a GPS app and smartphone made things much easier and in the whiteout at Exe Head on the last day it would have been very hard going with just a compass and map. With downloadable maps and no need for phone signal this is very reliable. I would make a strong recommendation to use these. Accommodation was all good, and no issues with the luggage transfers. I had a lot of fun.
Just completed the Plymouth to Lynmouth coast to coast trail incorporating the Two Moors Way and just now recovering! Have to send a big thank you to the encounterwalking team for their planning, preparation, guidance and choices , in particular of overnight stops.
Everything worked perfectly and the luggage transfer worked like clockwork. Loved the choice of overnight stops at the various Inns and Taverns - was able to get a great reintroduction to the UK local fine Ales and 'pub meals'. It was astonishing to me that it was possible to walk so far and not encounter mainstream car traffic or use mainstream roads. The journey was much tougher than I thought and on reflection would add a few more legs and include a rest day in the middle rather than the end. Wonderful scenery, route well marked and when I did stray the kindness of strangers very evident. Loved it!
We had a wonderful adventure and had the route to ourselves a surprising amount of the time. The organisation of bag transfer was flawless, so full marks to Encounter. For our walk, we opted for the "moderate" walking distances and found that the days with 17-19 miles were just too much. We felt it didn't leave time to stop and appreciate the views and interesting spots along the way. Also, many of the B&B's don't want to do breakfast before 8:00 which makes for a rather late start if you're walking those distances.
We're a physically fit pair in our early 50's, so hope the guide of 10-15 miles a day being plenty is helpful when you're planning.
Also - a note to the Dartmoor Parks - your insistence on a lack of any markings on the moor is rather unhelpful. The only time we wandered off the route was because of the treacherous section at the end of the Red Lake trackbed - and it could so easily have been simply marked. But it's a stunning walk with some breath-taking sections (Exmoor is such a glory) and we recommend it highly. Our top tip would be to chop out some of the dull stuff after leaving Drewsteignton and before reaching Exmoor to leave more time for the moors and the coasts. We'll be back for more - thanks, Encounter!
As anticipated we had some problems finding our way. This was especially true at Exmoor (last day), where we lost track amidst a herd of bulls…
We had an idea that there would be a nice beer or tea every day at arrival. Maybe this was off-season? Many of the pubs were closed between 3 and 6 and there were no other options for a snack. At several occasions, we had to just sit and wait for the opening.
Some information on our itinerary was not quite up to date. The Drogo Castle is closed for renovation and the Exmoor Forest Inn restaurant was not open all day from noon.
Encounter Walking - Thanks Agneta will check with the Exmoor Forest Inn about new opening hours. Just to note for other walkers Castle Drogo is open but is undergoing long term work however you can still visit the Castle and Gardens there is just less of it accessible this year
We really enjoyed our tour through Dartmoor. It was a good contrast to the coastal path.
First day we missed our way at the second MW Marker Stone and reached Shipley Bridge. So we had a little more to go, but reached Scorriton in time. We had a misty Weather,but the other days were good.
Thank you very much for the good Organisation
I am writing to thank you for helping my sister and I to successfully complete the 2-moors way walking holiday. Your organisation, information and 'extra information' proved very helpful. The guide book was particularly useful.
We found that the Dartmoor walks were less clearly signed than Exmoor but some of that was due to our lack of observation and inexperience of map reading. My husband Ken was able was able to contact you on one occasion and spoke to a member of your staff and they were very empathic towards our dilemma. We did eventually found our way out of the fields but did note that some of the farmers didn't welcome walkers and bushes etc covered the signs but good observation is what is needed!
Please feel free to include our evaluation in any of your reviews....
Annette & Jeanette
Cate and I have just finished a lovely walk, although the weather wasn’t too kind at times. The accommodation everywhere was fine, thank you and the baggage arrived everywhere it should have. I would also note that the baggage did get picked up before we’d finished breakfast (9am) a couple of times. It would have been nice to know the evening before that this was going to happen so that we could ensure that we had packed everything before going down for breakfast.
We used the Cicerone guide and you might like to advise future walkers of some (relatively minor) points that arose.
Stage 1. page 49. On arriving in Yealmpton “Just before Bowden Farm turn right on a footpath” In fact it’s left, not right.
Stage 3. pages 66 – 67. Because we had experienced very heavy rain for the previous few days, we opted for the “First High Water Variant”. A little more detail on how to find the “track running east from the settlement” would have been helpful. We didn’t actually find it at all until after we had managed to cross Wella Brook. We never did find the bridge. A close examination of the OS map shows the track is actually on the far side of the settlement and starts off running North, then swings East. From the far side of the Wella valley, looking back, it is obvious but up close, it isn’t.
Stage 7. page 118. “Cobscombe Farm, seen on the hill ahead is the next port of call”. In fact there are now a whole series of new fences, gates and waymarks which take you round the farm at some distance from it, bringing you out on the lane into Lower Black Dog about a hundred yards further North (away from the village).
Stage 7. page120. “aiming to the right of a solitary beech tree” is not possible when the tree has been felled! We suggest you should aim well to the right of the hedge corner just visible at the top of the ridge.
Stage 8. page 123. “the path bears away from the trees”. It doesn’t. Stick with the trees.
Stage 10. page 142. “into a coniferous plantation via a gate alongside a line of lovely beech trees” both the plantation and the beech trees have now been cut down (work was still in progress on finishing the job as we walked past).
Thank you for a very well organised trip. The walk was a pleasure. I would only make one additional comment. I’d love to know exactly how far it is from Scorriton to Chagford. Admittedly, we had some foul weather (hail and strong winds) pretty much all the way across Hamel Down and Chagford Common, but this section took us 10 hours. This suggests to me that it’s probably closer to 20 miles than the 18 you mentioned in your notes!
Thanks Tim really useful feedback and we have provided it to the Sue who writes the Two Moors Way guidebook for Cicerone she is going to have these issues addressed in the next edition - EW
We enjoyed the walk despite a lot of rain. It is a fine route, but I would hesitate to recommend it to anyone who is not an expert navigator, due to the complete absence of way markers on Dartmoor. Of course we do not want our wild places festooned with too many unnecessary signposts, but other National Parks with long-distance paths have managed to have a few discreet way markers without upsetting anyone. If Encounter is able to lobby the Dartmoor National Park authorities they may wish to make this point. After several hours of non-stop rain the streams on Exmoor were swollen leading to some difficult crossings. The crossing below Hoar Oak Tree (grid ref 747431) was impossible and it was necessary to trek upstream and do a difficult jump.
Turning to Encounter's services, everything ran smoothly, directions to accommodation were clear, and our luggage always arrived before we did. On the question of accommodation, using the familiar star rating (5 excellent, 4 good, 3 satisfactory, 2 unsatisfactory, 1 awful) we rated four nights 4* and 5 nights 3*. Overall, the quality of accommodation was a bit below what we have encountered on other long-distance trails with a similar daily charge, so I am unable to say that the trip was particularly good value for money. To be rated good value, the price would have to be reduced a little or, preferably, a couple of the B&Bs changed. I have put additional comments in an e-mail.
Encounter Walking - Thanks for the comments Phil and great you enjoyed the walk. The Two Moors Way does work out as one of the more expensive routes mainly becuase of its remoteness which means the luggage transfers costs are a lot higher here than on routes like the Coast Path where long transfers around the moor are not required. We are always happy to suggest routes better suited to whatever budgets you are sticking to so do ask.
Our walking holiday was indeed a success! Everything went well, the accomodation you booked were very good, the luggage was transferred on time and very reliable.
We especially liked the stay at the Riverside Cottage in Lynmouth at the end of our walk: We had a cosy room on the 2nd floor with a balkony directly looking over the river Lyn and the harbour - a wonderful place to relax. And our host Debbie was very friendly and helpful in every way.
The weather was not perfectly kind. The first day out of Ivybridge we had strong wind (luckyly from behind!) and later on mist, rain and partly sleet until Scorrington - kind of an initiation. The second day was better, on the third day we started in mist and slight drizzle, but after we had reached Grimspound it turned better. The next days it was mixed, and we only had rain on the final day around Hoar Oak valley, but finally we arrived in Lynmouth in sunshine.
Now for the itinary:
On the first day we lost the way after the end of the trackway. It is vital to pass the hill on the left side (we followed a good visible track to the right and uphill, which was wrong!). Please make a remark for other walkers.
On our 4th stage from Drewsteignton to Morchard Road there is heavy road walking (>50 percent), and we were not aware of that before. Please mention it so other walkers will be prepared.
On the last stage you warn people with vertigo or scared of heights walking along the cleaves - but the way is very safe indeed, there is no exposure like for instance on the actual Coast Path. Anybody should be able to walk it and experience the looks of Lynmouth and the Sea - so some encouragement would help.
Walking the moor in any weather condition - a wonderful experience. Grimspound is very impressive. The Hoar Oak valley. The walks along the many rivers. The final stage looking down on Lynmouth.
So thank you once again for preparing an excellent walking holiday for us.
11 days walking from Wembury to Lynmouth. Great walk, we all enjoyed it very much. The route marked by Ordnance Survey across the moors is not exact so one should just use it as a guide not as the exact line to follow. In a couple of places we had to cut across the moors as we couldn't see a path where shown on the map. Even with this, route finding was straightforward with the OS 25k maps (using the AZ Adventure series books for Dartmoor and Exmoor) and two good hiking GPS. On the final day we had to backtrack at an impassable ford about 500 metres south of the suggested high water route. We returned to Exe Head then east to the road which we followed all the way to the A39. Looking at maps and Google Earth at home in the dry, it looks as though it would have been possible to go over Exe Plain to the east of Hoaroak Water and join the suggested high water route thus avoiding both crossings of the swollen stream. It would be useful if this could be added to the detailed itinerary.
An excellent and memorable holiday. Accommodation bookings and luggage transfers no problems and the dog friendly rooms where absolutely fine (but then our collie was very well behaved and usually ready for a rest at the end of the day). Weather was pretty good for the week not too hot or cold although one pretty damp day and ground was muddy under foot but never impassable. We had two long walking days of 22 miles each and with hindsight the second of them was 'tough'. Muddy ground slowed our progress, it was not easy to get an early start from the accommodation and that meant we finished in the dark crossing muddy fields (thankfully with a torch I had packed) arriving in Witheridge at 9.30pm. But the next day was only 7.5miles, so we had a lie in! Summer months and lighter evenings would make that easier.
Never lost our way but you could not do this walk and rely on the footpath signs all the time. We had to follow compass bearings on some stretches. (But I would say 80% of it is well marked overall) I would certainly recommend Ordnance survey maps for the whole route. The Harvey map supplied was okay but I would have preferred the bigger scale of OS for some of the Exmoor sections. I bought the Cicerone guide for the walk but have to say the local Devon Two Moors guide was much better and I referred to that every day for their route guidance. The cicerone was not that user friendly for the walk. Excellent time overall, and well organised by Encounter.
The holiday was wonderfull. We met very friendly people, were allways being offered help or a pleasant talk.
The B&Bs and the hotels were very comftable and we liked nearly everywhere the food.
Luggage transfer was perfect. And of course, the landscape was splendit, we saw a lot of animals, romantic rivers and wild open fields.
At first it was difficult for us to find the way over the open moorland, we got lost, especially since there are no signs and the description is some years old, some places have changed (grown trees, no bird nursery any more, ...). As we do not know how the naturally landmarks look like, the names in the description sometimes were not helpful for us. But that is probably because we do not understand enough English. And we did a little bit too much, we thought we could manage more miles than we did. But we took taxis or public transport or skipped one walk.
Alltogher we had a very nice stay, which we will like to remember!
Thanks for organising everything for us. Yes, great weather! It all worked brilliantly. All places very welcoming to the dog, which we appreciated of course. Withypool was lovely, as was the Bath Hotel. Eating at The Rising Sun in Lynmouth was great. We thought that if people didn’t have compass skills they might have had a lot of directional problems on Exmoor between Simonsbath and Lynmouth. I think that might be worth emphasising. We didn’t see a single soul, vehicle or anything…..and of course there is no signal there. We enjoyed it all hugely and appreciated all the luggage transfers by Michelle and all general friendliness and welcome.Thank you very much for all your help and for taking such trouble with all the arrangements.
Three of us walked this during the first week of September over 7 days. The weather was perfect and the holiday couldn't have gone any better. The luggage transfers worked faultlessly. We had an absolute blast and the walking was straightforward. I've put accommodation reviews on Trip Advisor. The Sportsman in Ivybridge was a little tired and in need of refurbishment but the food was fine. Other places were great. Tip for day 2. Eat at the Rugglestone Inn! It's only a 5 minute walk from Manor Cottage. The landlord at the Tradesman Arms in Scorriton phoned ahead and booked us a table. The steak and stilton pie is highly recommended. The burgers at Sandy Park on day 3 also come highly recommended. The Devonshire Dumpling was fine, but sufferred with a lot of road traffic from the adjacent A road. The hosts were great though.
Lunches:- we bought food at Ivybridge for day 1. Day 2 was short so wasn't required. Packed lunches were ordered for days 3, 6 and 7. We bought hot pasties from the village shop at Drewsteignton on day 4 and Morchard Bishop on day 5. The path was well way-marked in the central sections but not so in the National Parks, which we were expecting. Use of a compass and GPS helps the stretch from Crossways to Chalk Ford on day 1 and over Exe Head on day 7. We heard tales of two Australian ladies having to be airlifted off the moor the week before due to getting lost on this stretch in bad weather. All in all, a fantastic week. Thank you. We all wanted to just turn around and do it again!
This was a rewarding walk with a large variety of differing scenery and history. The services of Encounter Walking Holiday and their nominated luggage carrier were first class and everything worked like clockwork. Navigation is relatively straight forward, although close attention to the guide book is required at times, as the quality of signage varies considerably. Special attention is needed in two sections on Dartmoor where it is easy to go off course. The first of these is north of Ivybridge when leaving the old tramway just below Red Lake Mire going towards Petre's Cross, as the correct path is easy to miss and the second is after Ponsworthy when you need to make sure that you turn left at the road junction in Jordan, as the guide book is a little unclear here. As mentioned on Encounter's web site, the final day across Exmoor and down into Lynmouth is just a stunning finish to a great walk.
This is a very fine walk with a great range of scenery and terrain. Fine long views from the Moors, beautiful coast at each end and a lovely mix of picturesque river walks and country villages in between. Good weather too - just one damp morning. And only 106 miles! Navigation was mostly straightforward, though we did have the compass out on a few occasions and found ourselves going completely the wrong way on Hamel Down - quickly sorted! There are plenty of places on the moors where the waymarking is poor and you do need to be able to navigate with map and compass - or maybe GPS these days. The information and organisation from Encounter was spot on and all the accommodation was exactly as described/expected. All the transfers worked very well. Thanks to Damon and all for a great success.
We were blessed with many days of glorious weather. This walk was a great combination of wide open moor walking with river and field walks through beautiful little villages. We were a party of 6 and all of us used the taxi option to cut down the daily mileage at least one day (14 miles to 9 for example). Between the maps, directions and an iPhone GPS app (View Ranger with downloaded maps) we found our way without significant difficulty and just a little bickering. One day we had thunder and lightning and a high walk over Exehead which was a little scary. We didn't need any extra support from Damon during our walk, but we were very pleased with the thoroughness and seamlessness of his advance planning. The lodging was comfortable and food options were great!.
We had a marvellous time. It was very timely for us, and it went very well--thanks in no small part to your excellent work. The weather undoubtedly helped.
Our assessment of the overall difficulty of the hike would place it as rather less demanding than the two week Welsh coastal walk and the two week north of England coast to coast walk we did three years ago (each of them longer). And we had then had time to train beforehand (and were of course three years younger...--a factor in our seventies). I quickly acknowledge that the weather was a positive element in regard to this year; it was not an issue in Wales but was to some extent (in the other direction) in the north England hike, especially in Yorkshire.
A truism, but it must be said: the scenery is always beautiful, and very varied within several broad patterns--such as the austere and evocative moors and the verdant, tidy, hilly farmlands between--not to speak of the small, cheerful woodlands and tall, evocative forests. So many reminders of humanity's long interactions within, and with, their natural environment.
Re arrangements, i.e. your work: everything went very smoothly. Hosts were always ready. Our baggage moved smoothly and arrived safely. You provided full service and responded nobly to our additional requests.
The accommodations were varied and interesting--quite a feat given the relatively few such resources you had to work with and our late approach to you. They were welcoming and helpful. Food was good--though menus acquired a certain sameness fairly soon. We were glad to explore the varied fish dishes included among the traditional meats. And interested to note the growing extent of broader world currents, including curries etc.
The one slightly minor chord on accommodation would relate to the final night. It is a great location and building, and we make no complaints about the building, surface cleanliness etc etc. The manager seems to have had some health problems and we were not sure about the energy being put into the direction. We were the only ones there whereas some other places in town were full. Nothing very specific, a bit of a sense of coasting.
With regard to the trail: It is a pity that some way cannot be found to place a few more--discreet--markers in spots on both moors. We in fact had few problems: but I had my compass out frequently and made use of visual terrain markers etc; clearly, in fog and heavy cloud it could have been an issue.
In the portion between the two moors, there are several places where the markers suddenly stop--or perhaps were just hidden to us (we cleaned off quite a few). One gets used to their being there, then finds that they are not and--whoops, where are we? I had the impression that some farmers and other owners may be less than enthusiastic about the trail. On the other hand, some were exceedingly helpful--one even coming after us some distance to redirect our steps onto the right trail. With the fences and hedges, it is in some ways more difficult (than on the high moors) to follow the way without markers--and once off the track, much harder to find it again, or get back onto it if located on the other side of a bristling hedge (without of course fully retracing steps).
Thank you, once again, for all your help!
We enjoyed the music in the London Inn in Padstow very much and all the other accommodations too. Every accommodation was special and different. We liked them all without exceptions. Great work of your side!
One note: The second day the walk from Holne to Chagfort was described with 16.5 miles and 6 – 7 hours. From our experience the walk is at least 19 to 20 miles with a lot of ups and downs, at least 800 meters totally (means additionally 2 hours). So we walked about 9 hours on this day. Maybe you could check it.
We will recommend your company to our walking friends in Switzerland. There is a great interest for such a good service. Thank you very much this great holiday experience. I am sure we will come back again
Fantastic - we loved every minute of it (even the rainy muddy bits). All our accommodation was clean and comfortable and we were made very welcome everywhere, special comment has to be made for Lynn at Farleigh Cottage who was truely delightful (and Kellen awarded her 10/10 for her full english). Its hard to pick a favourite day or route, but I've always loved the area around the Tarr Steps and the walk alongside the Barle was breath taking. The final days climb along the Cheriton Ridge would have to be high up there too.
Navigation was straight forward and the route well marked. The day from Withypool to Simonsbath was misty and visibility poor this made the trail difficult to distinguish. We had way marked some points and with the GPS were quickly able to find the route. But a little latter we came across a faster group of walkers who had left well before us but had got a bit disorientated. The guide book (which is generally excellent and well worth its cover price) was a bit confusing here as it has a split page (with the earlier part of the route appearing below the latter part (obvious when you look at the numbering but against convention) I think this may suggest following the river too soon?
The only other part of the trail we needed the GPS was approaching Exe Head, where boundaries have moved from those indicated in the guide book, and therefore can't be used as a reference point. Best to use the compass here if no GPS and make for higher ground until the NE boundary appears and follow this to reach the boggy ground around the ford. Best views would have to be the medieval field system at Headland Warren (near Grimspound) completely awash with blue bells. The deer and ponies on both moors were a treat but the very close sighting of a hare on route to Knowstone was wild life highlight. Luggage transfers worked perfectly, a very slick operation. Thank you for a great adventure that we will remember for many years to come.
Had a great walk. But I have to admit, the weather helped a lot! Everywhere our dog was more than welcome. Good beds and good food. And Cadleigh Manor in Ivybridge is our absolute winner.
The trip was fantastic. All of the planning and itinerary were excellent. The hotels and B and B's were all quite nice. Special kudos go to Lyn at Farleigh Cottage in Chagford, Steve and Sharon at Cadleigh Manor in Ivybridge, and Mike and the whole crew at the Tradesman Arms in Scorritan. We never met the luggage transfer people, but they performed they task on time and in the proper location. The weather was great throughout the whole two weeks. The only negative was the long 16.5 mile (plus add-on mileage due to a missing trail marker near Morchard Road) trip from Chagford to Morchard Road.
After the coast path we walked the Moor for two days and then through the Teign Gorge to Dunsford. Everything was great again - Accommodations, walking instructions, luggage transfer, weather. Encounter even checked the last part of our tour as they don't have the gorge in their program. Our way through the gorge was accompanied by a steady drizzle so we didn't make Castle Drogo but went directly to Dunsford. The gorge is really beautiful, especially the first part of it. After the two days on the moor its vegetation seemed almost unreal.
Another successful week (plus) of walking thanks to Encounter! These are becoming our most favorite trips because they make it absolutely effortless from start to finish - all we have to do is enjoy. The accomodations on this trip were ALL spot on. The suggested diversions en route for lunches at pubs were all worth it - Warren House Inn however is REALLY busy with multiple coaches stopping while we were there so the recommendation to book a table is a wise one (that we didn't follow of course but it worked out).
The weather they arranged for us was slightly hot the first few days but wonderfully full of sunshine and breezes just at the right times. The walking notes were extremely helpful and luggage transfers of course priceless. The Way is well marked in both Dartmoor and Exmoor so it is extremely difficult to get yourself 'lost' unless you just are not paying attention. We did the REALLY slow walker itinerary due to our daughter being with us so no days were overwhelming and allowed us relaxed morning starts and the two really short days were welcome breaks.
The very last day we did for reasons we still can't figure out get befuddled going over Exe Head but with the help of passing walkers to locate ourselves on the OS map we got back on track with only a small diversion down and up that probably was not necessary. We had simply forgotten the golden rule of looking for the waymarkers is all. Subsequently because of the time we lost (and potential mutiny by said daughter if we had done differently) we did choose the 'easy' route into Lynmouth despite my secret desire for the steep ascent/decent to complete the official way. The viewpoint however of coming into town from the bottom of the river gorge was spectacular in its own right to see the town open up in front of you as you round the last river bend.
Our favorite parts were being on top of the moors with the wonderful vistas; and seeing all the ponies with their foals in tow. Along with that were the warm welcomes each afternoon as we arrived at our destination and the truely outstanding food we enjoyed each evening. As we journeyed home we were already on the website deciding which walk would be next! Pretty sure it will be Jurassic Coast Path in Dorset. Three cheers to Damon and colleagues for a job more than well done.
Overall an excellent and challenging walk which we are happy to recommend to fit walkers. We thoroughly enjoyed it and will definitely do more walking in the area in future. Perhaps the only down side of the walking is the middle section across Devon farmland where often permissive paths are routed around the edge of fields - the overgrown paths and the use of electric fences gave us the impression that quite a few farmers were not that keen on walkers on their land. Nevertheless this is beautiful countryside and a delight to walk in. The days walking across Dartmoor and Exmoor were excellent but we had quite a lot of low cloud and rain to contend with. The reduced visibility together with the indistinct and unsigned route meant we had to rely heavily on our map and compass skills at times. Having said that we never went wrong and overall route finding was pretty straight forward.
We stayed mainly in pubs and one farmhouse. Overall these were very good and surpassed our expectations. In particular we liked the Church House Inn at Holne, The Globe in Chagford, The Devonshire Dumpling at Morchard Road and the Royal Oak in Withypool. A nights stay on a farm near Knowstone made for an interesting and enjoyable change. All the arrangements made by Encounter Holidays, including bag transfers went without a hitch, and we would certainly use them again. It is difficult to pick out a single highlight. Each day's walking brought its own highlights and every night's stop was memorable for all sorts of reasons! Walking the moors sections was fantastic and would certainly have provided some 'favourite moments' had we had some better weather. We will just have to go back again!
Fantastic nine days of walking through beautiful countryside. We found the maps and book very easy to follow and in most places there were markers but we did find in Somerset they were less frequent and rather old looking. The places we stayed were all varied but great especially as we had a dog with us. Our favourite was Cadleigh Manor in Ivybridge. Steve and Sharon were very helpful and nothing was too much trouble. Our favourite place for eating was the Rugglestone Inn at Widecombe and the Royal Oak at Withypool. Our favourite day was walking from Knowstone to Withypool apart from fantastic weather the scenery was so varied and then cream tea at the Tarr Steps in the sunshine, heaven. We would totally recommend our friends and family to Encounter walking.All the information we were given was very useful and the telephone contact before going sorted out our problems quickly.
I can honestly say we all thoroughly enjoyed the week and could not fault the organisation of the walk and the entire group would like to thank all at encounter for organising.
The Royal Oak was probably our favourite overnight stop with the excellent quality of food/beer and nice room’s breakfast was excellent with very friendly staff
But all the accommodation was of good standard but if we had to pick a winner then it was the Royal Oak.
The Mason Arms was it usual excellent standard
FYI then post office/shop in Drewsteignton now offers coffess/tees and a very good selection of cakes as take away or sit outside
Once again thanks for organising
I am now looking forward to mine & Susie’s walk of the Saints way
Thanks Damon, we will certainly recommend Encounter to others, and plan to use you again next time we are in the South West. The walk was magnificent but the pre-walk contact and great response to our feedback was also superb. We certainly preferred to have slightly shorter walk at the end from Simonsbath and thought Exmoor Forest Inn was an accommodation highlight!...... Best days walk was Knowstone to Siminsbath, quite long but brilliant varied scenery Tarr steps (with refreshments) and the fantastic stretch by Barle River. We enjoyed the road walking too, contrary to people’s predictions, quiet and odd scenery....... Generally walked slower, lots of speculation with other walkers on route about the different mileages we all had, and although we think we walk fairly fast, your 7 hour estimates were usually 8 hours not including stops. However this was not a problem. Great tea room in Withypool, worth the walk out to ‘Pack of Cards’ to see the building as well as eating in Coombe Martin...... All accommodation was very good including food on site where taken. Very welcoming B and B in Chagford, lovely old tea room in West Bowden Farmhouse, superb room/comfort and food at Exmoor Inn, welcome and food very good at Harbour Lights, with magnificent room on top floor with superb views (not all rooms have this) and very close to bus stop for Barnstaple if moving on..... All information good- not 100% sure about mileage! Could be worth mentioning that there is no bank or ATM on any part of the route so you need cash to support your cards....... Your website is so thorough that people are it to supplement that given by other companies! Seems a shame that you do not always get the direct benefit...... We were invited in to the main farm in Ceriton to eat our packed lunch in comfort, and we were made tea. Many thanks- a great trip, and I did manage the potentially ‘vertiginous’ bits!
In general no problems, but the weather was perfect for walking with good visibility on the moors. The Devon County Council guidebook was excellent and the notes from Encounter complemented it perfectly. Last day across Exmoor to Lynmouth was undoubtedly the best, with open moorland, wonderful views, river valleys and the descent into Lynmouth across the Cleaves. We hardly saw another walker and it felt like we were alone on the moors...... Good restaurants were the obvious one you already know about- the Mason’s Arms, the Old Inn (probably the best meal we had) and the Church House pub in Holne. The evening meal in the Bonnicott Hotel in Lynmouth was excellent...... Generally very good and everyone made us feel welcome and provided great breakfasts, comfortable accommodation, and plenty of advice. Some places didn’t start breakfast until 8.30 which then made quite a late start on the longer days....... All the information seemed correct. My measurement of some of the mileages was a little higher than supplied but that could have been down to specific accommodation being a little more off route than I thought, you seemed to have provided everything...... Encounter’s organization was excellent. Right from the start you provided us with all the information we needed and answered all my queries promptly and efficiently. The holiday itself ran smoothly, with our luggage moved on without a hitch, and all the accommodation being of excellent standard. We are particularty when having left our guidebook at a rest stop halfway through our walk, Damon managed to bring a replacement to us the very next morning. Thank you all very much.
The route was well described in the booklet and together with a map and the occasional compass bearing there were few problems....... The first day which was fine weather was the best day and we walked slightly faster than the estimated times but times were very weather dependent.....
From another member of the party : I thought that the Friday walk from Witheridge to Withypool was probably the best because it was fine, the distance was challenging and it was a mixture of road, moor and grassland (plus the pub at the end was great!!)
Accommodation : Holne: Comfortable, friendly, food and rooms very good. -Chagford: Comfortable, friendly food and rooms very good. -Coleford: Friendly, very comfortable, large well appointed rooms, food excellent. The royal Oak-Withypool: Without doubt the best of stops, they could not have been more helpful or friendly and the food and rooms were excellent.
Everything worked as described. The luggage transfers worked like clockwork, again thank you.
Generally route finding was not a problem. When we went astray it was usually due to incompetence on our part- usually talking too much rather than paying attention to the route!!!.... Difficult to say which was the best day we had different options. For me Ivybridge over to Holne. The open Moorland was fantastic...... There was no worst particular day, rather, the section between Drewsteignton and Hawkridge had sections of road and lane walking with very restricted views to to high hedges, also many fields to cross where fottpaths were rather overgrown and the weather was at its worst here making paths muddy and hard work. No-one's fault but it did make progress slow at times.Generally the accommodation was very good...... The providers themselves were very good, especially helpful at the Inn at Witheridge, where we arrived absolutely dripping wet, literally leaving pool of water on the floor where ever we stood!..... No problems at all. Everything went according to plan apart from the weather! Can you provide us with some sunshine and dry paths next time please!! Carol’s cars also arrived on time and transferred us to Barnstable station with no problems..... We had a great week and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Thank you for all your help and organisation which was spot on throughout- I don’t really hold you responsible for the weather you know! I will certainly recommend your services to anyone else thinking of a walking holiday in the South West.
As we approach the season of our trip to England one year ago, I feel like I am back in Devon and Somerset, walking through that beautiful landscape, enjoying kind hospitality and delightuful, genuine accomodations. Memory is a wonderful thing. I only wish I were coming back for more this June!
Let me say this was the best trip I've taken as an adult, in part because of the unspoiled beauty of this part of England but even more because of the careful and conscientious preparation that Encounter Walking Holidays provided. I cannot say enough for the quality of planning that this tour orgnaization offers. Damian, your gentle guidance through pre-trip jitters, your careful listening to what we were looking for in a walking trip and then your willingness to tailor our itinerary to meet those expectations, really created the structure for success. I am so sorry you haven't heard from me before this. I offered up a "thankyou, Damian!" so many times during and after the trip, but only now have you heard that "thanks"! I have been so grateful for what you did for us and I realize the success of the trip was largely due to your efforts and skill.
We found the combination of the Two Moors Way booklet and your excellent daily summaries to be invaluable. The accommodations were carefully chosen and gave us a range of experience from cozy rooms above pub/restaurant to farmhouse to local country inn and gracious priory. At each one we found warmth, cozy shelter, good cheer and good food.
Maria and I are glad to give you the feedback you requested so long ago.
The Walking: Problems Finding the Route: Problem crossing the Cheriton Ridge, a wide open windswept grassland. We completely lost the path, finally followed a fence to a town that was in your day's description. Also, the Two Moors Way is not marked as clearly in Somerset. We no longer saw the "M W' signs.
Best Days Walk: So many highlights! A few here: the walk from Tar Steps to Simonsbath, starting with that gorgeous trail following the river and then out into some really wild country. For a long stretch, we were way up high and looked below into thie gorgeious broad valley with the river winding through. We saw a remarkable chase between a couple border collie dogs and one pesky sheep. At another point, we were walking behind huge rocks in high, lumpy moorland. We came upon more sheep happily grazing in the rain. I understood! (The Tar Steps clapper bridge was incredible, too, the river sliding through fast and clear. ) The high land on the way to Lynmouth felt like we were held up to the sky, on the curve of the world. I also loved the green countryside, with the open rolling vistas of mixed woods and fields.
Were you walking faster or slower than the estimated times? Slower by probably a couple hours, but we still had time to complete the day's walk.
Any useful information for future walkers? The bartender/ manager at the Royal Oak Inn in Witheypool was a bit put out with our muddy shoes. I wondered if he had had any walkers before us!! On the other hand, the people at the Inn in Simonsbath offered to dry our rain clothes in their laundry room, gave us plastic bags to put our wet, muddy shoes on, and sat us down for a cup of tea. Also, the husband and wife at the Black Dog pub and restaurant actually opened for us during their afternoon break when they saw us looking in the window! They prepared a lovely lunch, sat and chatted while they ironed their cloth napkins and then even gave Maria who was quite tired a ride to our destination in Withypool!
Probably our biggest highlight was the priory in Lynmouth, the Bonnicott House. Thankyou so much for getting us in there! The husband and wife are extraordinarily kind. They love what they do, and every evening we felt a festive atmosphere. The interior is gracious, elegant and wonderfully appointed with antiques and curiosities from all over the world. The view through the three-sided glass paned windows was unfortgettable. We felt so welcome and genuinely "cared for". We just wanted to sit in their wonderful home and soak it all in.
Again, one of the truly wonderful hallmarks of Encounter Walking Holidays is the careful selection of accommodations and the chance to experience a wide range of situations.
The Bottom Ship in Porlock Weir was a wonderful building, however, it doesn't seem to have anyone at the helm, so to speak. Nonetheless, the absentee owner/manager had hired some helpful, nice people to run the pub and point the way to the rooms and I wouldn't have missed that town or the building for anything a bit spiffier.
Also, the accommodation in Minehead was spectacularly clean and well-run. The couple who runs it -- can't recall their names -- were definitely in charge, and very committed to their business and to providing an exceptional experience from the sparkling interior, the high quality mattress and pillows, to the respelendant breakfast that they both cooked on the spot. W
One of the best parts of staying in the accommodations you chose was meeting really nice people! We came away with quite a glowing impression of the English!
Thank you, Damian, for all your preparation and careful choices. I certainly hope I can work with you to plan another trip in the next few years!! If you need any other "feedback" or questions answered, don't hesitate to e-mail me. I will get right to it this time.
All the best to you and your company,
We very much enjoyed our walk, truncated through it was. The last day from Lynmouth to Combe Martin was stunning and we all enjoyed it hugely. The best days were walking Simonsbath to Lynmouth and Lynmouth to Combe Martin - stunning scenery even in less than perfect weather.
The diversion to the Warren House Inn on Dartmoor was worth it for the food but the trail linking back to the 2MW is quite challenging in a hard to find/lots of animal tracks way - hard to actually get lost but rough cross country walking! Rugglestone Inn in Widecombe had excellent food and drink as did the Tarr Steps Inn which is open every day and in a superb position. The accommodations were varied and good quality. Everywhere was welcoming to us and the dog. Generally excellent food. Lots of baths were much appreciated! The Royal Oak Inn at Withypool was especially dog-friendly and we had the most comfortable bed in the world in our room. Channel Vista was a good stop and the owners enormously hepful when we had to drop out - they have also very kindly sent back some stuff we left. Sheena Tower very kindly drove us down to the pub (The Rugglestone Inn, recommended by other walkers) where they had booked us a table and showed us the FP short-cut.
The information was all pretty comprehensive and useful, the luggage transfer worked well - Good job well done.
Waymarking on the Erme trail is not good and we made several mistakes. Probably the best day was from Port Gaverne to Padstow- nice weather, beautiful scenery and the surprise of getting a place at the bar in Rick Stein’s Seafood restaurant........ Generally we were much slower- partly our age, partly the mud, rain and long grass. I think for older walkers stages of much more than 12/13 miles on the steeper cliffs of North Devon are problematic...... In general the standard of the accommodation was high. On the whole pubs are preferablle to B and B’s and other establishments. The King of Prussia in Fowey is quite outstanding...... Luggage transport was faultless. Your notes were generally accurate and helpful.
Would just like to say thankyou for your help on organising the trip. We struck ‘gold’ with the weather and we all had a great trip and would thoroughly recommend this route for a 3 day trip- particularly for those with only limited experience- though care would need to be taken on Day 3 in bad weather. I have been very impressed with the service and advice offered by Encounter Walking Holidays, which has contributed significantly to making this a memorable trip for all of us......We had good visibility over Exe Head so no problems there...... Day 2 walking form Tarr Steps via the river to Withypool was our best day, which was great and then over the moors, but not much between them and we had 3 days of contrasting variety of scenery...... We generally walked at around 2 miles/hour average, but our daily distances were not long and we were quite leisurely with stops at churches and villages- and even watching the Exmoor Hunt for a while between Withypool and Simonsbath..... Also the views in the final descent into Lymouth were great...... The accommodation was all very good offering different levels, but all can be recommend- we dined in all 3 places...... Tarr Farm is expensive but excellent- if it had been wet on the following morning I doubt the 2 ladies would have left the place. The location, rooms bar environment and meal were excellent and we arrived late afternoon with the sun shining and we relaxed overlooking the river with a beer- it was beautiful and a great reward!..... Nothing I can think of was incorrect/misleading...... The information was very helpful on terms of route planning, highlights, good recommendations, with extra info on taxis etc which we didn’t need but was reassuring as a backstop...... No problems at all- rooms were good and everything worked like clockwork- luggage transfers worked well......My small party included relatively novice walkers and was the first extended walk experience for 3 of them. . I would have no problem in recommending this trip to walkers of any level, but this was an ideal 3-day walk for people not used to this type of trip. I will have a problem matching it next year!
The first half of the walk (Two moors rather than Erm-Plym Trail) was not as well signposted as the second, but we didn’t go far wrong! But you definitely need to be able to map read or have good GPS......The best day was walking up from Widecombe-in-the-Moor, finally getting to see Dartmoor with clear blue skies rather than the rain, wind etc of that Sunday!.....Worst day was the worst, epic weather of the worst sort! Better safe than sorry. Got up on to the Moor and then decided to walk back to Ivybridge. Caught the bus to Buckfast and then walked into Holne and the Inn who welcomed a couple of drowned rats with good beer, good food and drying facilities in the form of a nice log fire!......Good lunch stop was the Inn at Witheridge (very welcoming-boots off by the open fire)> At Widecombe-in-the-Moor we went to the Rugglestone Inn for our evening meal whilst staying at the Farm- great food, beer and atmosphere. Need to book at busier times!.....All the accommodation was very welcoming. All expecting us too..... Plymouth B&B , off to a great start. Church House Inn-excellent! Widecombe Farm nice farmhouse B & B. Drewe Arms had lovely four poster bed. West Bowden Farm – Loved it! Didn’t eat because of having lunch at Witheridge and not fancying the Mason Arms. Great breakfast and a lovely lady. Royal Oak at Withypool- Wow what a bed! Great room too with nice food and good ale. Great breakfast also! Lymouth hotel- what a stunning view we had from our room......All information was very helpful and would happily recommend you to friends.
Waymarking variable, mostly quite good, but some were absent where needed and some arrows faded. Any problems resolved by GPS.
Best Days Walk : Ivybridge to Holne: weather dry with some sun and visibility good. Fast walking over good track Accommodation variable, some very good......Organisation generally very good and comprehensive.
Only once were we welcomed with tea and cake in the sitting room. This should be encouraged in all the accommodation, as it makes a big difference to us, and to our appreciation of the place.
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