• Emily

The Ultimate Staycation: The Heddon Valley in Exmoor National Park

Suitable for: Families, Lovers of Walks, Anyone looking for a tranquil retreat

Length: 3-4 days

Last Summer, my family and I stopped off at the Exmoor National Park on our long journey home from Cornwall. This was purely because we had a hotel voucher to use, and we thought it would be an easy pit stop after a long, active week in Penzance.

We quickly discovered our flippant assumptions about this lesser known national park was completely unjustified. On our first walk, I knew this would be a place we HAD to visit again.

Stay: The Hunter’s Inn. If you have  kids, they will love the roaming resident peacocks!

Photo courtesy of The Hunter's Inn

Eat + Drink: We recommend not venturing far from the hotel as there is plenty to do around the area and the narrow roads means going anywhere takes longer than expected. However, visiting Barricane Beach Café in Woolacombe (approx. 30 minute’s drive) is a MUST. Sri Lankan curry and a beer on a stunning beach….need I say more? Starts serving at 5pm; bring a picnic blanket or towel to sit on.

Do: Walk. At six miles long, the trek from The Hunter’s Inn to Woody Bay and back is one that will not disappoint. This is what Devon is made of…..staggering cliffs, varying landscapes and stunning scenery. Your walk will stop off at Heddon’s Mouth, so enjoy a swim and if you’re lucky, spot some seals. Head on to Woody Bay Beach (don’t forget to pack water shoes) where you will find a waterfall, natural swimming pool, and plenty of rocks to rest or climb on, depending on how your last 2 hours played out. There’s not much in the way of facilities, so we recommend packing a picnic and plenty of water in your backpack. Luckily your walk ends back at the Hunter’s, so enjoy a well-deserved drink of choice. 

Here’s a map that makes it easy.

Read: This trip calls for a relaxing, effortless read; Watersmeet (22 min from The Hunter’s Inn) have a second-hand bookshop so you can pick up the perfect thing on route.

Overall, I think you'll be blown away by what's on offer in this lesser known national park. Enjoy!

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