Enjoying Exmoor

Exmoor is an activity-packed place, whether you are looking for a quiet break away from the hustle and bustle or an active break for you and your family.

Exmoor Dunster Castle

Dunster Castle

For an active holiday there are miles of wonderful walks or cycle rides, or horse riding across the myriad of bridleways over the moor. Fishermen can fish beautiful fast flowing rivers or still waters, or take a boat sea fishing from various coastal ports.

Or just unwind by visiting one of the fabulous open gardens or National Trust houses within a short drive of Westerclose.

Walking

Exmoor Landacre Bridge

Landacre Bridge near Westerclose

Withypool is an excellent location for a walking holiday, being at the centre of the Exmoor National Park. Westerclose is 100yds from the Two Moors Way and there are numerous circular walks directly from your door, along the wooded Barle valley or over the beautiful heather-clad moorland. With over 650 miles of footpaths in the Park you’ll be spoilt for choice! Our information room has details of popular walks suitable for all abilities.

Cycling

Exmoor cycling Withypool

Cyclists on Withypool Hill

Cycling on Exmoor is one of the most rewarding ways of seeing the countryside. Although hilly, Exmoor provides a wide choice of routes for both on-road and off-road cyclists, including the Exmoor Cycle Route.

The Ordnance Survey Map Outdoor Leisure 9, with its clear marking of the various rights of way, is a good starting reference. More specific leaflets showing designated cycle routes are available in our Information Room here at Westerclose. We also have secure undercover bicycle storage,

Fishing

Exmoor fishing river Withypool

River Barle near Withypool

There is excellent river fishing for trout and salmon on the Exe, Barle and tributaries. Wimbleball Lake is a South West Water Class 1 fly lake (about 20 minutes by car) and other trout lakes are nearby.  Also excellent specimen carp and coarse fishing lakes with first-rate facilities – all within easy distance.

There is good sea fishing along the north coast and boat trips are available from Minehead, Lynmouth and Ilfracombe.

Horse riding

Exmoor horse riding Withypool

Riding over Withypool Hill

We have stables, loose boxes and turnout paddocks available on a DIY livery basis for those who want to bring their own horses to Exmoor. There is excellent hacking directly from our yard. See more information here.

Alternatively, horses or ponies can be hired locally by the hour or day – we are happy to advise on suitable local stables.

Wildlife

Exmoor Red Deer

Red Deer Stag

The Exmoor National Park is renowned for its stunning herds of wild Exmoor Ponies and Red deer.

For birdwatchers, Exmoor is home to buzzards, merlin, harriers, chats, nuthatches & redshanks – to name just a few! It is a wonderful sight to see birds of prey in their natural habitat, watch kingfishers swoop along the waters of the River Barle just below Westerclose and to hear the hooting of owls at night.

Attractions

Exmoor has many varied places to visit. There’s an endless choice of historic sites and glorious gardens, colourful family attractions, steam railway rides, craft workshops and wildlife parks as well as the acres of unspoilt countryside and beautiful coastline.

Getting around Exmoor

A perfect way to start getting ideas for visiting Exmoor without using your car is to visit the Explore Moor website. This has up-to-date information on public transport, timetables and car-free walks within the National Park devised and written by the Exmoor Walking Festival organiser. There is an interactive map to help you work out where everything is on the moor.

Local servicesExmoor transport

There are numerous local bus routes into the area such as

  • Taunton to Minehead / Dunster / Dulverton
  • Tiverton to Minehead / Dunster / Dulverton
  • Barnstaple to Lynton & Lynmouth
  • Ilfracombe to Combe Martin / Lynton & Lynmouth.

Exmoor railwayThe West Somerset Railway offers a great way to travel in a relaxed style along the vale between the Quantock Hills and Exmoor National Park between Bishops Lydeard (bus link to Taunton) and the coast at Minehead.

Bus services cross the moor between Dulverton and Minehead and along the north coast between Minehead and Barnstaple taking in the pretty towns of Lynton & Lynmouth, Combe Martin and Ilfracombe.

Moor Rover

This is a local Moor Rover service provided for walkers and cyclists within the National Park and along the length of the Coleridge Way. You can arrange a bespoke pick-up and drop-off at a time to suit you between 8am and 8pm 7 days a week, enabling you to get transport to and from anywhere on Exmoor. You need to book your journey at least the day before. You can also use it to transfer your luggage on linear walks. For more information see the Moor Rover web site.

Useful links

Here are some local links which we hope you will find useful and assist with the planning of your holiday. If you need more help, don’t hesitate to contact us.

  • Exmoor National Park – a good start to planning your holiday
  • Visit Exmoor – great website listing attractions and activities on Exmoor
  • Active Exmoor – a guide to outdoor activities and events on Exmoor
  • Explore Moor – details of public transport in and around Exmoor
  • West Somerset Steam Railway – fantastic scenery and a wonderful day out
  • Exmoor Pony Centre – visit this wonderful charity and meet the Exmoor ponies. Take part in pre-booked riding activities at the Centre or on a ride across the moor
  • National Trust – there are lots of historic properties, National Trust owned coastline and protected countryside within 25 miles of Withypool
  • Quince Honey Farm – visit this working honey farm and honeybee exhibition in South Molton
  • Two Moors Festival – festival of music and arts taking place in October each year
  • Simonsbath Festival – local music and arts festival (our neighbouring village to Withypool) taking place from May Day to Midsummer’s Day in June each year