Since Andy and I had gotten a chance to explore around Bideford, we set out further afield one day for the twin villages of Lynton and Lynmouth. As you might’ve guessed, they’re named after the River Lyn (East Lyn and West Lyn, to be precise). Adrian and Pat dropped us off on their way to meet up with Kirsty and Jason for a Father’s Day lunch. It was wonderful having hosts that knew all the spots we’d like.
Once we were in Lynmouth, we didn’t waste any time and went straight to get some classic Devon cream tea. The tea itself is just normal tea, but the truly special part is the addition of scones, clotted cream, and jam. Yum!
People actually argue over whether to put the cream or jam on first, but it all tastes good to me!
After satisfying our hunger, we set out to explore Lynmouth.
Lynton and Lynmouth are located right on the boundary of Exmoor National Park, so there’s a lot of natural beauty to be found beyond the quant village streets, but we’ll get to that soon enough.
Lynmouth is unfortunately most famous for a horrible flood it suffered in 1952. After torrential rainfall, the river became blocked with debris, and much of the town was completely destroyed by the ensuing flood. In total, 34 people lost their lives. Afterwards, the river was diverted around the village and the town was entirely rebuilt to prevent any future tragedies.
Today, it’s hard to tell that this charming spot once experienced such an enormous deluge.
If you ignore the cars, Lynmouth really feels like a village from another century.
We headed towards the harbor, which was an interesting sight at low tide.
It was strange seeing boats all helter-skelter in the mud like that, as if someone just tossed them around. I’m sure the harbor is a very different sight when filled by the tide.
From this spot, we got a great view of the Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway.
Built in the late 19th century, it opened to the public in 1890. Because of the massive cliffs surrounding the village, the railway made a huge difference when it came to transporting tourists and goods alike. It’s run entirely by water fed through pipes from the river. Two cars run opposite ways at the same time; the car going down has a tank full of water, while the car going up slowly expels its water. Once at the top, that car is then filled up again, and repeat. Great system, and talk about sustainability!
We decided to brave the walking track to the top instead of taking the railway. With the views we got along the way, I think we made the right choice.
When we made it to the top, we headed for the clifftop walk that would take us to Castle Rock. I can never resist a place with castle in the name!
It began to rain, but we weren’t deterred. Like in Wellington, when you’re in England you can’t let rain stop you from going about your plans. Otherwise, you’d never be able to do anything.
I noticed that we had someone watching us as we made our way along the clifftops.
Not a bad spot up there!
Soon, hazy views of Castle Rock opened up before us.
Of course, we had to climb Castle Rock itself.
Despite having to constantly wipe my camera lens to avoid water droplets blurring my photos, I managed to get some decent shots.
We sheltered in this cave for a while when the rain picked up.
Turns out, we weren’t the only ones sheltering.
We did have to eventually get back to town, though, so we soon ventured back out into the wet.
We made our way toward the path that cut through The Valley of the Rocks, as this geologically unique area is known. It would take us to Lynton, where we could then wander back down to Lynmouth to meet Adrian and Pat.
One last look back!
The path that lead to Lynton couldn’t have been any more quintessentially English. I got the feeling it has probably been used for centuries, like many old footpaths in England have.
The part of the path with stone walls alongside was my favorite. It was easy to imagine that we could be in the 18th or 19th century, or even earlier.
Before long, we emerged into the village of Lynton.
We meandered downhill toward Lynmouth, stopping in a couple shops along the way. We popped in for a pint at one of Lynmouth’s lovely old pubs and soon met up with Adrain and Pat, before heading back to Bideford.
It’s hard to top a place like this, but just you wait! Devon will most certainly not disappoint.