Following on from my last post, here’s another idea for exploring Exmoor: a day out in Allerford, Bossington and Selworthy, on foot, by bicycle, using public transport and/or by car…
This trio of villages on the National Trust-owned Holnicote Estate are (as you would expect) lovingly preserved and maintained. They’re also chocolate-box pretty and each has interesting corners to explore. Start at any of the villages and you can walk or cycle to any of the others via various routes (some quite challenging) or drive via typically winding Somerset lanes.
At Allerford, the famous packhorse bridge (one of Exmoor’s iconic images) dates from the 15th century. Some of the cottages have round chimneys, very characteristic of this area. In the old school building you’ll find the West Somerset Rural Life Museum, which includes the Victorian Schoolroom and the West Somerset Photographic Archive. There’s an impressive collection of artefacts, mostly dating from the 1800s to the 1950s. Also at Allerford is a forge where Kyle Roberts and his team produce an amazing variety of ironwork. At Lynch, just a short walk (or drive) from Allerford, the Exmoor Owl & Hawk Centre offers flying displays and many other activities.
Many of the houses and cottages in Bossington have tall round chimneys, and bread ovens that bulge from the walls. Kitnors Tea Room and Garden (near the village car park) is a lovely place to stop for lunch or a snack. Take a wander round the village and if you can, walk down to the sea shore: you’ll see some spectacular hilly views and the famous pebble ridge, which sometimes gets breached if Horner Water is in spate (it’s happened twice so far this year!). The ridge mends soon mends itself though.
Selworthy’s attractive limewashed church has an almost Mediterranean look about it. Set above the rest of the village, it’s visible for miles. The view from the church is beautiful and the inside of the building is very interesting, with some spectacular ceiling bosses among much else to see. The village itself, clustered around the green, is full of almost impossibly picturesque thatched cottages. Whatever you do, don’t forget to bring your camera. There’s a National Trust shop here, also the charmingly traditional Periwinkle Tea Room (which usually has a fabulous range of cakes, as well as other delicious things).
Bus 39 runs between Minehead and Porlock (all year round)
Bus 300 runs between Minehead and Lynmouth (April – October only)
They both stop at Allerford Turn and Selworthy Turn. Bus 39 makes very occasional stops at Bossington Green (check timetables for latest information).
Shortish Walks on Exmoor by Robert Hesketh (Bossiney Books) has two walks that can be done separately or joined together: Allerford, Bossington and Hurlstone Combe plus Allerford and Selworthy Beacon. Each walk is about 4½ miles.
Explorer OL9 (Ordnance Survey)
Exmoor for Off-Road Cyclists (Exmoor National Park Authority)