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©NTPL/Joe Cornish

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The beautiful area of Watersmeet is one of the last remaining ancient woodlands in the West Country, just above Lynmouth Harbour. Something else which is unique to the area and got its name from its local situation is the No Parking Whitebeam.

This tree is the first specimen of a newly identified species of tree and botanists decided to keep the name, latinizing it to "Sorbus No Parking", because that it how it was known locally since being discovered in the 1930s.

Although the No Parking sign has been removed to avoid damaging this unique species of Devon whitebeam, the name it seems has stuck!

Visitors to Watersmeet will find this a beautiful part of the Exmoor National Park, from

©NTPL/Joe Cornish
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the heather moorland, down the wooded river valleys to the rocky coastline below.

Oaks, whitebeams, bilberry, woodruff and many types of moss and lichen can be found in the damp river gorge.

Watersmeet includes a stunning stretch of the South West Coastal Path for those wanting a bracing walk high above the sea spray.

The path runs along the Glenthorne Cliffs towards Foreland Point, Devon's most northerly headland. The walk is archaeologically interesting as it incorporates the Iron Age hillforts which can be explored at Countisbury and Myrtleberry.

Watersmeet is one of Britain's deepest river gorges. Within earshot of the rushing river, in a shady glade is a 19th century fishing lodge known as Watersmeet House.

It was built in 1832 by the Revered W. S. Halliday at a time when Exmoor was popular with wealthy writers such as Wordsworth and Shelley, and a poem written for the family by Wordsworth hangs above the doorway.

The quarry which provided the stone for the house can be seen nearby, along with old lime kilns and the remains of a former hydro electric power station.

The lodge is now used as an Edwardian tea room, National Trust shop and information point. The

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gardens are the perfect place to picnic or enjoy a Devon cream tea. The area also has a number of pubs which serve excellent refreshments and pub meals.

The fast-flowing River Lyn provides challenging canoeing conditions during the wet winter months when the river is high.

From March to September it is popular with fishermen whose patience is rewarded with fine specimens of trout and leaping salmon. The river valley is a haven for wildlife including colourful butterflies, otters and birds and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Walkers also enjoy the many paths which run along the Lyn Valley. Woodland walks from time to time open out to reveal pretty waterfalls or stretches of boulder-filled riverbed. The National Trust guidebook of local walks offers coastal walks and circular moorland walks which all enjoy scenic views.

Warden-accompanied walks are organized from time to time and there is a children's quiz sheet and nature trail available from the National Trust shop.

Those wanting to stay in this scenic area will be pleased to know that the National Trust has several holiday cottages in Watersmeet as well as a stone barn which sleeps 18 in hostel accommodation at the remote-sounding Exmoor Base Camp.

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By Foot:
South West Coast Path crosses Countisbury Hill, passing Foreland Point, 1¾ml from Watersmeet House.

By Bus:
From east, Barnstaple-Lynmouth service (passing close Barnstaple), alight Lynmouth. From west, Minehead-Porlock-Ilfracombe service, alight Countisbury or Lynmouth.

By Train:
Barnstaple - 20ml.

By Boat:
The scale and beauty of the coastline can be well appreciated from the sea. Regular boat trips are available from Lynmouth and Ilfracombe.

By Road:
A39 (Minehead to Barnstaple) is main access road to the area, running in a loop through Watersmeet and Countisbury, 1½ml east of Lynton and Lynmouth.

Car Parks:
Barna Barrow - Countisbury
OS: SS753496, free parking

Combe Park
OS: SS740478, free parking

Brendon (not NT)
OS: SS764481, free parking

Hillsford Bridge - Gypsy Green
OS: SS740478, free parking

Watersmeet (not NT)
OS: SS747487, pay & display, suitable for coaches

Lynmouth (not NT)
OS: SS724494, pay & display, suitable for coaches

OS: SS747497, free parking

Ordnance Survey Maps:
Explorer OL 9
Landranger 180

Watersmeet Postcode for SatNav: 35 6NT


+44 (0)1271 850 887 (Property Manager)
+44 (0)1598 741 101 (Base camp)

Watersmeet House
Watersmeet Road
35 6NT

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