Exmoor has been a favourite spot for outdoor enthusiasts for centuries. You’ll find it crop up over and over amongst the Romantic poets of the 18th and 19th century, with Wordsworth, Coleridge and Southey penned some of their most inspiring verses here, and later Charles Kingsley would write long, lovestruck descriptions of the Exmoor wilds in his novels and journals.
We mention these writers because their love for the outdoors created a lasting, tangible legacy. These guys were avid hikers in North Devon and throughout the UK, they championed the restorative benefits of nature, and they’ve inspired generations to get out to explore the Moor. Designated as a national park in 1954, Exmoor has benefited from decades of conservation efforts, and today is one of the best spots in the UK for wild adventures on foot or wheel. This outdoor enthusiast’s guide follows partly in the poets’ footsteps – I’m sure they would’ve loved mountain biking if it was around.
Local guides and seasoned Exmoor experts Jennie and Malcolm have provided us with this varied collection. It features a slew of hidden gems and some must-do activities that are exclusive to the wilds of Exmoor; you won’t find a better spot for star gazing in the UK. Fortunately, the National Park Authority recently created a trail for this very purpose – The Dark Skies Trail is fully waymarked with luminescent paint, and leads you up to the perfect spot from which, if you like, you can point out constellations to the people around you, unsolicited. They’ll love that.
Perhaps the most iconic landmark on our list is the Valley of the Rocks – and for good reason! The area is extremely unique and picturesque, plus Jennie and Malcolm’s walk to the valley comes packed with local tips, including a detour to see the hidden bay of Wringcliffe. This is a great spot for a swim, tides allowing, though take care descending the treacherous path down to this secret bay. Sure-footedness required!
Read our full article here: Best Walks in Exmoor
If you’re looking to explore a little further, there’s no better method than road cycling. It’s fast, efficient, and you can go far without having to be trapped in a boring old car. In fact, a lot of these routes take you through quiet, often car-less backroads, so you can let go of any motor vehicle concerns and enjoy the winding ways ahead. We got these routes from Mark Gibbs, owner of Exmoor Bike Repairs and competitive bike racer with a career that spans three decades.
You’ll want to base yourself in a town like Minehead, as most of these routes dip down into the national park from the northern border. Then again, feel free to pitch up in the thick of it and just hop onto the routes from halfway through – they’re all circuits. Highlights include big climbs to get views across the Bristol Channel, a wide loop in the thick of the moors with a stop in Dulverton, and the self-described Holy Grail of road rides.
Read our full article here: Best Road Cycling Routes in Exmoor.
Mark Gibbs returns with yet more routes! Time to trade in your clinchers for trail tires and get into the action. Off-road cycling in Exmoor is a real treat, it’s not the largest national park in the UK by any means, but the trails are densely packed and easily accessible so the place feels like a giant playground for high-intensity action sports. There’s also an impressive amount of variation, you’ll go from wide open moors to tight forest trails in a blink, and there’s plenty of gravel for seasoned rock riders.
The star of this collection is Mark’s ‘glorious’ gravel ride. Clocking in at 32km, it starts with a long climb up Croydon Hill from which there are a handful of great trail options and a view that will knock your cycling socks off. Look out over Exmoor National Park, pick out rides you want to try later with this bird’s-eye view, and pray that you get up there on a clear day to see over to Wales. Then drop in, fly down and begin the next climb to Chargot estate where the network of immaculate trails will take you further on this tour of Exmoor.
Read our full article here: Best Off-Road Bike Rides in Exmoor.
Komoot: Your Route to Adventure
Komoot is an app that lets you find, plan, and share adventures with the easy route planner. Driven by a desire to explore, and powered by the outdoor community’s recommendations, it’s komoot’s mission to inspire great adventures making them accessible to all.
New to komoot? For a free regional bundle (worth £8.99) simply follow this link to komoot.com and create your free account today.