Walking on Exmoor

Walking guide for the Exmoor National Park in West Somerset and North Devon.

Exmoor is a friendly place for walking - if you stay on public rights of way it has few dangers and offers more rewards for less effort than is usually necessary in Britain's National Parks.  Apart from the Chains (see article opposite) nowhere on Exmoor is far from a road or track.  
The Two Moors Way and the South West Coast Path walks both pass through the Park.  There are 680 miles of official footpaths and bridleways, across high wild moorland, steeply wooded combes, ancient oak forests and gentle hill country.  There are long routes and short routes, for every ability. 

Riverside Walks

There are lots of beautiful rivers and valleys or "combes" on Exmoor and many have riverside paths.  Here are just a few of the popular ones:-

1. Lynmouth-Hillsford Bridge via Watersmeet
2. Withypool-Dulverton via Tarr Steps.
3. Simonsbath-Withypool via Cow Castle
4. Along the River Exe south of Exford below Room Hill

These are easily identifiable on the Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure 9 map. This is our recommended map for Exmoor walkers and ramblers.

Short Walks

There are a number of "Easy Access routes" around the moor.  These paths have been specially surfaced so that buggies and wheelchairs can use them.  They are all in very beautiful, picturesque settings.
see our Easy Access page here for locations and photographs

Walks on the Internet



South West Coast Path
Two Moors Way
Typical popular walks
More popular walks


Walks in print


The Exmoor National Park Authority publish Walking Leaflets which are  available from the National Park Visitor Centre in Dulverton tel:(01398)323841. (You will be able to pay with a credit card) :-

Dulverton Barle Valley
Dulverton Brushford
Doone Country
Combe Martin
Dunster Grabbist Hill
Dunster Gallox Hill
Porlock Bay
Winsford to Bridgetown
Haddon Hill
Valley of the Rocks
North Hill Minehead

Walking Guide Books for Exmoor

Exmoor: Short Walks for All Ages
(Jarrold Short Walks Guides) [Paperback]
Author: Sue Viccars

The walks in this guide introduce the visitor to the wide variety of Exmoor's features, from the Valley of Rocks with its jagged sandstone tors to richly-wooded valleys. Short Walks are the ideal companion to short walks for all ages. Perfect for families, weekend breaks or anyone looking for a short walk option, this series of over 30 guides contain the best 20 circular short walks in each area. 

Exmoor & the Quantocks
Ordnance Survey Pathfinder Series sheet 9
This collection of walks frm Ordnance Survey ranges from the bare expanses of the Chains, the last real wilderness on Exmoor, to a picturesque riverside route along the Exe, from Badgworthy Water to a coastal walk taking in the spectacular Valley of the Rocks.

Buy from Ordnance Survey Shop

Walk Exmoor
Author: David & Carol Hitt
If you want a walk guide this innovative book with 40 longer walks and 30 shorter ones showcases Exmoor's wonderful variety of scenery with routes over open moorland, on magnificent coastline and through wooded river valleys for adventurous and novice walkers alike. It is set out clearly and attractively and tells you just what to expect. In pocket sized format and spiral-bound it is easy to use with ratings for time, distance, ascent/descent and refreshment. A new feature is the Satellite Navigation GPS tracks and waypoints for every walk. An ideal present for the walker in your family. --Exmoor County Magazine October 2006
South West Coast Path: Minehead to Padstow
(National Trail Guides) [Paperback]
Author: Roland Tarr
The South West Coast Path is the spectacular 630-mile (1008-km) National Trail around the tip of Britain. This volume features the section of the Path from Minehead to Padstow, a distance of 163 miles (262 km). The Trail traces the beautiful coastline, through Exmoor National Park, Clovelly and Tintagel, following Natural England's acorn waymarks. This is the complete, official guide for the long distance walker or the weekend stroller. All you need is this one book. "National Trail Guides" are the official guidebooks to the fifteen National Trails in England and Wales and are published in association with Natural England, the official body charged with developing and maintaining the Trails.

Dangerous PLACES

The Chains

The Chains is an area which contains some of the highest and loneliest moorland on Exmoor.  Roughly within a triangle -Simonsbath/Challacombe/Lynton- the Chains can be quite dangerous:  It has a massive annual rainfall and is always sodden.  The bogs are numerous and famous.  There are few paths, no roads and a complete absence of distinguishing features (beautiful on a cloudless summer day but potentially lethal when the cloud descends (as it often does)!).  Most visitors satisfy themselves with the walk up to Pinkery Pond from the Simonsbath-Challacombe road (see Simonsbath Village guide page for the history of the 'Pond')


Ordnance Survey

There are several OS maps covering Exmoor - see our map guide

Map Cases
Map Measurers