The beauty of Exmoor...

With its dramatic moorland, rolling green hills, river valleys and rugged coastline, Exmoor National Park boasts an abundance of natural beauty with a generous sprinkling of lovely historic towns and villages to match. With so many scenic places to discover and admire, visitors to Exmoor are spoilt for choice.

So, to help out, we have pulled together a list of our favourite beauty spots which are worth adding to your itinerary if you are planning a holiday in Exmoor. Make sure you bring your walking boots as most of these gems are best explored on foot as part of wonderful walking routes.

Exmoor’s best beauty spots near Porlock Weir

Situated in Porlock Weir, a 13th century harbour which is itself a popular beauty spot on the north coast of Somerset, our elegant waterfront hotel offer a perfect base from which to explore Exmoor’s many enchanting sights. Some of Exmoor’s best beauty spots listed here are within a stone’s throw of Porlock Weir Hotel, while others are for people keen to venture further afield.

Porlock Bay, Porlock, Somerset

Right on our doorstep, this one-mile stretch of coastline between Porlock Weir and Hurlstone Point is a unique combination of shingle beach, saltmarsh teeming with wildlife and jagged cliffs. The large shingle ridge protects the marshes behind it from the worst of the winter storms but was breached in 1996 transforming the previously freshwater marshes into their current saline form and leaving behind the eerie skeletons of dead trees. Climb the cliffs at Hulrstone Point for views across the bay and Bristol Channel then head inland to pretty Porlock village with its smattering of independent shops, cafes and pubs for a bite to eat or refreshing beverage.

Horner Woods, Selworthy, Somerset

Just inland from Porlock is the ancient oak woodland of Horner Woods where you can lose yourself among the tranquility of the centuries-old trees or enjoy listening to the babbling of Horner Water with a series of atmospheric walks. Covering 800-acres of the National Trust-owned Holnicote Estate, the woods are at their best in the spring but worth a visit all year round. Step back in time and admire 500-year-old oak trees as well as spotting deer and stag and other wildlife that have made this a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Dunkery Beacon, near Wheddon Cross, Somerset

The highest point in Exmoor, standing at 519 metres above sea level, Dunkery Beacon offers incredible 360 degree views for miles across the rambling patchwork countryside of Devon and Somerset and even across the Bristol Channel to Wales. The site lies just 20 minutes’ drive away, also within the National Trust owned Holnicote Estate and is part of a chain of summits capped with Bronze Age barrows. The peak is a half mile walk from the car park. Take a picnic and spend some time soaking up the vistas.

Exmoor’s best beauty spots within half an hour’s drive

There's plenty to explore on foot from Porlock Weir should you wish to go car free during your Exmoor adventures, however, if you are happy to travel a short distance, then the following locations are not to be missed.

Doone Country, Malmsmead, Devon

The setting for RD Blackmore’s 1896 classic romance of Lorna Doone, the stunning countryside around Malmsmead and Badgworthy water has changed little in the intervening 123 years. It is still a rural paradise of luscious wooded valleys, streams and undulating farmland. Take a relaxed walk from Malmsmead up the banks of Badgeworthy Water for a couple of miles to reach Cloud Farm where you can enjoy a sit down and bite to eat before heading back again.

County Hill, Contsibury, Devon and Cornwall

The soaring moorland coastline between Porlock and Lynton, where Somerset meets Devon, has some of the most breath-taking views on Exmoor. Walk the South West Coastal Path up to County Gate and gaze across the Bristol Channel at the Welsh hills beyond or inland at the moorland marching into the distance. You could choose to dip down to the coast for more sheltered but steeper woodland walks or remain up high on the windswept moors.

Valley of the Rocks, Lynton, Devon

A half hour drive away is the most spectacular geological wonder in Exmoor. This dry valley hemmed in by dramatic rocky slopes runs parallel to the north coast and is an easy walk from pretty Lynmouth. Climb up to admire the majestic sea cliffs and crashing waves on one side, from where you can complete a circular walk around the top of the Valley of Rocks, with sweeping views of its deep gulley and steep craggy sides, as well as the glorious surrounding countryside. You might even make the acquaintance of some of the feral goats which skip nimbly up and down the cliffs.

East Lyn River, Somerset and Devon

From its source on the high moors, this river has carved out the stunning East Lyn Valley which runs down past Rockford to the picture-postcard coastal village of Lynmouth. There are lovely walks along the banks of the river with its pools, brooks, rapids and waterfalls through secluded woodlands, secretive valleys and dramatic gorges, passing conveniently placed historic pubs. Lynmouth itself is a charming harbour town with an impressive Rhenish Tower - a replica of the 19th-century water tower destroyed in 1952 when the swollen river devastated the town killing 34 people. It is hard to imagine such devastation today when enjoying the leafy calm of the river valley. Head to the meeting of the East Lyn River and Hoar Oak Wter where you will find the river’s most beautiful waterfalls.

Exmoor’s best beauty spots further afield

Of course, head a little further from the hotel and there's even more history and nature to take in, both in Somerset and neighbouring Devon.

Tarr Steps, near Dulverton, Somerset

This historic stone bridge – first mentioned in Tudor times – is surrounded by the beautiful wooded valley of the River Barle and has been designated a National Nature Reserve for its wealth of amazing rare plant and animal life. Local legend says the five-tonne slabs were placed there by the Devil to win a bet with a local giant. A popular circular footpath route, known as the Jubilee Trail, runs upstream of the bridge and can be easily combined with a trudge up to Winsford Hill with its heathland and wild ponies.

There are many more breath-taking places to see in this magical region of the South West, but this list provides a good grounding for planning any holiday in Exmoor, whether in a group of friends or with the family. Make the most of summer and come and visit us at Porlock Weir Hotel, from where you can venture out and start discovering the countless wonders of Exmoor.

What our guests say...

"Wonderfully Spoiling, Relaxing Break" - Penny V via

We have been coming to this hotel for many years and have seen it through many reincarnations. We are so happy that the current management has taken this much-loved treasure over and given it such a wonderful new lease of life. We stayed for 3 days with our dog. The staff were absolutely delightful and went out of their way to ensure that we were all safe in a way that was so unobtrusive that we almost...

"Exceptional in Every Way!" - MJM48 via

From the moment we walked in we knew we had made the right choice - such a warm, friendly welcome. The hotel was beautifully decorated for Christmas and with the lovely open fires made us feel festive. Our room overlooking the harbour was absolutely lovely, spacious and spotlessly clean. The bed was very comfortable, shower excellent. We had dinner both nights of our stay, good quality ingredients...

"Lovely Staycation Find" - Rob A via

Just spent 3 nights here in these difficult times we now live in. Faultless is the word I would use to describe Porlock Weir Hotel from the time you book until the time you leave they can’t do enough to accommodate you. Under the leadership of Michell and Miquel the hotel is run impeccably from front of house to housekeeping nothing less than 10/10 and that’s before you get to dine where...

"Just Like Home" - Justhadtosay via

Fabulous hotel which is hard to fault. As someone there said, you feel like the first person to use the room. Beautiful rooms and bathrooms and we had a view of the sea and bay which was just what we needed.We had a long walk one day which was such a tonic after working at home for so long. In our arrival back it was like getting home with a log fire, friendly welcome and home made cream tea.The staff...

"Hotel Top Of It's Game" - Nocky-1975 - via

Just spent 3 nights here in these difficult times we now live in. Faultless is the word I would use to describe Porlock Weir Hotel from the time you book until the time you leave they can’t do enough to accommodate you. Under the leadership of Michell and Miquel the hotel is run impeccably from front of house to housekeeping nothing less than 10/10 and that’s before you get to dine where...

"Dog Friendly Birthday Break" - Ardel R via

Lovely hotel with wonderful views over Porlock Weir, food was great and staff lovely, friendly and dog fans too. So a perfect break all round. We stayed in October and had a room with views out over the sea. We took our golden retriever with us and the place is very dog friendly with towels to clean their muddy feet if needed....

"A Peaceful Relaxing Place to Chill Out" - Joanna via

Stunning, peaceful setting alongside a quaint little harbour and pebble beach. The secluded hamlet down country lanes offered a couple of shops and a good pub next door. The small hotel did not disappoint! Undergoing extensive refurbishment, the overall ambiance was stylish but relaxed with a modern twist on traditional. The completed bedrooms were relaxing and comfortable and our bed provided a ...

"Wonderful Two Nights Stay" - HolidaychicLondon via

We had room 4 looking out to the harbour. The room was spacious and attractively decorated. The breakfast were very nice, a very long wait the first morning though but not the second one - so all good. We had dinner there one evening which was delicious and great service and everything about the hotel is Covid friendly. The staff and guests all wear masks when moving around the hotel, there’...

"A Fantastic Find" - Lorraine via

Stylish make-over, good staff, excellent food - breakfast was superb. We stumbled across the hotel by accident, a fantastic accident! Lovely little harbour with amazing views. The hotel was freshly made over, the staff could not have been more pleasant and helpful. Wood fired pizzas freshly made on the patio. Would highly recommend. ...
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