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9 Exmoor days out to enjoy this autumn and winter

PUBLISHED: 15:47 04 December 2017

Walkers on Dunkery Beacon, Exmoor's highest point, on the Holnicote Estate (c) National Trust Images/John Millar

Walkers on Dunkery Beacon, Exmoor's highest point, on the Holnicote Estate (c) National Trust Images/John Millar

©National Trust Images/John Millar

With the changing seasons, Exmoor really comes into its own, combining remote and romantic landscapes with coast, castles and moorland. Here are a few ideas for days out where you can wrap up warm and get outdoors this autumn and winter

1. Find the highest point

With some of the most stunning views on Exmoor, Dunkery Beacon is the highest point on the moor where, on a clear day, you can see across the Bristol Channel to Wales and even down to Dartmoor. It’s a great spot for wildlife spotting too so make sure you keep an eye out for deer, skylarks and Exmoor ponies braving the weather.

2. Visit the General at Horner Wood

Looking for an outdoor adventure? If so, head up to Horner Wood where you find some of the country’s rarest mosses, ferns and lichens covering this ancient oak woodland. Keep a look out for the General, an impressive oak tree who’s more than 500 years old.

3. Go birdwatching at Bossington

Bossington is a peaceful coastal hamlet with traditional Exmoor cob and thatched cottages. The pebble beach is a great place to spot coastal birds such as curlews, shelducks and little egrets making the most of tidal pools. Old lime kilns and World War Two sea defences line the shore and it’s well worth the walk to Hurlstone Point for some breathtaking views.

Walkers on Bossington Hill above Porlock Bay, on the Holnicote Estate, Exmoor National Park, Somerset (c) National Trust Images/John MillarWalkers on Bossington Hill above Porlock Bay, on the Holnicote Estate, Exmoor National Park, Somerset (c) National Trust Images/John Millar

4. Grab your bike

When it comes to cycling, Exmoor offers some of the most diverse and challenging routes around. There are hundreds of miles of bridleways and peaceful roads to choose from so you can find a more leisurely afternoon cycle or, if you want a challenge, take on some of the steeper gradients. There are also some excellent trails for off-roaders.

5. Autumn colour at Holnicote

Head to the Holnicote Estate in the early autumn to see the purple blooms of heather and the bright yellows of the gorse. As the leaves begin to turn, go and see some beautiful autumn hues near Webber’s Post or take in the reds and golds at Horner Wood.

6. Challenge yourself canoeing

Enjoy the challenges of the tumbling rocks and deep pools of the East Lyn River as it passes Watersmeet House with a day canoeing. Join the river at Watersmeet House and head down to Lynmouth. Just make sure the gauge is green before you head off so you have enough water to paddle in!

7. Enjoy a cream tea

If you need refuelling after a strenuous walk, visit one of the many teashops in the pretty villages of Allerford, Bossington, Horner and Selworthy where you can admire the view of these picturesque landscapes while enjoying a traditional cream tea.

8. Dunster by Candlelight

Coastal heath lining the coastal path, with Exmoor beyond (c) National Trust Images/David NotonCoastal heath lining the coastal path, with Exmoor beyond (c) National Trust Images/David Noton

The medieval village of Dunster will step back in time on December 1 and 2 when the streets will be lined with lanterns and candlelight and there will be live music and entertainment – a magical setting to bring in the festive season.

9. Head out on horseback

Why not explore the rugged Exmoor landscape on horseback? With more than 300 miles of bridleways you will be able to enjoy some of the best riding in the country in this stunning and diverse landscape with wide, open moorland, inviting woodland tracks and quiet country lanes.

To find out more about Exmoor, visit nationaltrust.org.uk/exmoor or exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk.

Walk the county’s beautiful countryside this autumn and winter...

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