Lynton, Lynmouth & The Valley of the Rocks
The ancient twinned towns of Lynton and Lynmouth sit on the most northerly coast of Devon, where Exmoor meets the sea. The towns are set between steep hillsides and deep wooded valleys, separated by a dramatic descent; the pretty village of Lynmouth sits at sea level, following the River Lyn down to the sea, whilst Lynton sits higher in the trees, full of quaint narrow lanes and independent shops to explore.
Visit Little Switzerland
These unique and picturesque twin towns are often known as 'Little Switzerland’ thanks to the romantic poet Robert Southey who is said to have remarked the area had something rather Alpine about its appearance. The name has stuck ever since.
Southey wasn’t the only romantic poet to visit the area and find inspiration in the stunning views and charming way of life. Percy Bysshe Shelly lived in Lynmouth in the 1800s and is said to have written his poem Queen Mab while a resident. Samuel Taylor Colerdige and William Wordsworth also visited the region and many of their poems are said to have been inspired by the Valley of the Stones, as they referred to the villages and the Valley of Rocks which is nearby.
Much like Switzerland, which is known for its many picturesque walks, Lynton and Lynmouth are both walker’s paradises – if you’re feeling energetic, try the spectacular Watersmeet circuit, or for something new why not give a geocaching trail a go. For a unique coastal walk, follow the path from Lynton to the iconic Valley of Rocks, famous for its unusual geology and intrepid goats!
Lynton, Lynmouth and Valley of the Rocks have a fascinating history and many interesting tales, it’s really no wonder that so many of the romantic poets found inspiration here.
There are several ways to find out more about the area’s diverse history as there are a number of heritage attractions and museums across both towns. The Lyn and Exmoor Museum is a great place to start and the Lynmouth Pavilion regularly has seasonal talks and activities suitable for the whole family. As well as information about the town’s history, there are also guided tours, rockpool rambles and stained glass workshops!
One of the most popular heritage attractions is the Victorian era cliff railway link that offers an exciting and unique way of travelling between the two towns. The Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway is powered solely by water and no visit to the towns would be complete without a trip! As one of the few remaining Cliff Railways left in the UK, the route between Lynton and Lynmouth world famous and is a definite highlight.
Many of the heritage attractions across the two towns focus on remembering the Lynmouth flood of 1952 which caused hundreds of buildings to be destroyed or damaged beyond repair, along with 28 of the 31 bridges in the region. The town’s history isn’t all doom and gloom though, another popular story concerns saving a ship, The Forrest Hall, which was drifting ashore in the midst of a storm. The towns’ lifeboat, Louisa, couldn’t be launched from Lynmouth because of the weather and so the story goes that the boat was carried overland and launched fifteen miles away in Porlock! The crew were saved though and the boat was eventually tugged across the Bristol Channel towards Barry where it was repaired.
Two places are better than one
One of the joys of visiting Lynton and Lynmouth is you get two for the price of one! Travel between the twin towns is easy with the cliff railway and the road network and being so close to Exmoor and the surrounding towns and villages, there are plenty of places to spend your days exploring.
While in the area, you can’t not visit the beautiful Valley of the Rocks which is known for its feral goats and its geology! The valley has a number of excellent walks around it and plenty of stunning views from all angles.