Simonsbath to Lynton

Explore north Devon’s market towns, ports and seaside resorts

Follow the route – Simonsbath to Lynton


Simonsbath to South Molton

From Simonsbath use unclassified roads to cross the moor southwards, and join the A399, then the B3226 for South Molton.

Visiting South Molton

Formerly important for the wool trade, but now a cattle market town and tourist centre, South Molton is known to have existed as a Saxon colony. The square is given grandeur by the Guildhall and Assembly Rooms which overlook it, and the splendid church has a magnificent tower and a remarkable stone pulpit. On the road west, the Cobbaton Combat Collection recalls World War II with tanks, artillery and radio equipment.

Places to stay in South Molton

Riverside Caravan & Camping Park

Whitechapel Cottages

Flitton Oak Barns

Bridge over the River Torridge, near Torrington

South Molton to Great Torrington

Follow the B3227 for 15 miles (24km) to Great Torrington.

Visiting Great Torrington

Great Torrington was a market town in Saxon times and the scene of fierce fighting in the Civil War. The original church was used as a gunpowder store but an explosion blew it to pieces. At Dartington Crystal you can watch fine crystal glass being blown, and just outside the town the Royal Horticultural Society has a garden at Rosemoor.

Things to do in Great Torrington

Dartington Crystal

RHS Garden Rosemoor

Instow, Bideford

Great Torrington to Bideford

Take the A386 to Bideford.

Visiting Bideford

This interesting little town was a major port in the 16th and 17th centuries. There is a new high bridge for the main road, but ships still move upstream to the old stone bridge across the estuary. The Royal Hotel, which dates from 1688, was where Charles Kingsley wrote part of his novel Westward Ho! Follow the old road to Barnstaple and you will pass Instow, a resort by the dunes with colourful views across to the port of Appledore.

Tapeley Park, on the way to Instow, has Italian terraced gardens and a traditional kitchen garden.

Places to stay in Bideford

The Royal Hotel

Durrant House Hotel

Beachside Holiday Park

Marwood Hill Gardens, Barnstaple

Bideford to Barnstaple

> Follow the coast road along the B3233 for around 10 miles (16km) to Barnstaple.

Visiting Barnstaple

Barnstaple is one of North Devon’s major market towns. It was once a busy ship-building town and a port trading with America, but the River Taw became too silted in the 19th century. There are many fine examples of Georgian architecture. Queen Anne’s Walk is a pleasant colonnade, and you can still see the Tome Stone, where merchants used to set their money to make their contracts binding. The Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon is here, at The Square. The fine long bridge over the River Taw has 16 arches and dates from the 13th century.

AA-Rosette restaurants in Barnstaple

The Arlington Restaurant

Seasons Brasserie

Arlington Court

Barnstaple to Arlington

Continue northwards on the A39 for Arlington.

Visiting Arlington

Arlington Court is one of the few great houses of North Devon. Formerly the home of the Chichester family, it has been owned by the National Trust since 1949. Sir Francis Chichester, the yachtsman, is the most famous descendant of this old family. The house contains a rich collection of model ships and there are walks in the park and woods. During the summer there are horse-and-carriage rides between the house and the collection of old carriages kept in the stables.

Walks near Arlington

Arlington Court and Deer Park Wood

Valley of the Rocks

Arlington to Blackmoor Gate

Continue along the A39 to Blackmoor Gate.

Visiting Blackmoor Gate

Blackmoor Gate is really a road junction, but Exmoor Zoo is nearby along the A399 and provides entertainment for all the family. For the next few miles the road is narrow, winding and very steep in places, with dramatic views of coastal cliffs.

There is a short stretch of toll road, before entering the Valley of the Rocks, a gorge littered with enormous slabs of granite. Walk up to the top of Castle Rock, where the vertical drop is 800 feet (244m).

Things to do near Blackmoor Gate

Exmoor Zoo

Combe Martin Wildlife Park & Dinosaur Park


Blackmoor Gate to Lynton

Take the A399 north and then an unclassified road via Trentishoe and Martinhoe back to Lynton.

Visiting Lynton

Paired with Lynmouth, Lynton is 500ft (150m) above it, joined by a zig-zag path and a cliff railway of 1890. Lynton was just a hamlet which became a Victorian resort, and features many Victorian and Edwardian buildings and a very fanciful town hall of 1900. The Lynton and Exmouth Museum is here, and the Valley of the Rocks, to the west, has very romantic scenery.

Places to stay in Lynton

Highcliffe House

Waters Edge Cottage

Clooneavin Holidays

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