Lynton is a small Victorian town perched 500ft above the town of Lynmouth with the Cliff Railway providing useful transport between the twin towns. Lynton has a selection of independent shops, galleries, tea-rooms and cafés. Many of the buildings date from the late 19th Century, most notable is the Town Hall which was given to the people of Lynton in 1900 by the publisher, Sir George Newnes, also the financier of the Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway. The Lyn and Exmoor Museum is a charming small museum housed within St Vincent’s Cottage, the towns oldest surviving domestic dwelling, and along with maritime exhibits and natural history collections it also boasts its very own ghost. Lynton has several hotels and guest houses and provides an excellent base to explore Exmoor. Just half a mile walk to the western end of the town is the stunning and famous Valley of the Rocks, also noted for its herd of wild feral goats!
Lynmouth, once known for herring fishing, is a pretty harbour seaside town below Lynton and at the meeting point of the East Lyn and West Lyn Rivers. The Cliff Railway is perhaps the most stunning way to arrive in Lynmouth, often described as England’s ‘Little Switzerland’. The town has a history of both heroism and tragedy, the overland Lifeboat launch in 1899 resulted in 18 crew being saved, but tragedy followed on August 15th 1952 where 34 lives were lost and much of the village was destroyed during the Lynmouth Flood Disaster. The Lynmouth Flood Memorial hall offers a free exhibition for those wanting to learn more. The harbour’s Rhenish Tower, built in the late 1850s, is an iconic landmark and was used to store salt water for baths. Lynmouth has much to offer including shops, galleries, places to eat, accommodation, beaches and the Glen Lyn Gorge. Not to be missed is the wooded walk to Watersmeet along the East Lyn River where you will be rewarded with wildlife, waterfalls and a stunning riverside Cream Tea café.
The Valley of the Rocks
The Valley of the Rocks is just a mile from Lynton and the Cliff Railway. Created during the Ice Age, this dry valley has stunning coastal scenery, towering sea cliffs and spectacular weathered rock formations which provide a home to the valleys famous herd of feral (but friendly) goats, often seen upon the more prominent rock formations of The Devil’s Cheesering and Castle Rock. The valley is also home to Lynton Cricket Club, described as the most picturesque cricket ground in all of England. The Valley has inspired poets such as Coleridge and Wordsworth as well as the author R D Blackmore who set part of his novel, Lorna Doone, in this valley. Not surprisingly, the valley has featured in several BBC productions and films including the 2018 feature film 'Winter Ridge'. The Valley of the Rocks is fantastic for spotting wildlife, fossil hunting, walking and exploring.
The walk along the East Lyn river from Lynmouth to Watersmeet will reward you with deep Exmoor gorges, ancient oak woodland, waterfalls, lichen covered rocks, crystal clear rivers and rare flora and fauna, including Herons and Otters. No wonder this area is described as England’s Little Switzerland. The East Lyn is well known for its trout and salmon, the fish use the deep pools as resting places before making their way up the river's rapids to spawn. The confluence of the East Lyn River and Hoaroak Water is at Watersmeet House, dating from 1832, this former Victorian fishing lodge has been a delightful riverside tea room since 1901. It is now owned by the National Trust and has a small shop, WC’s and an information centre. Other points of interest include the site of the Lynrock mineral water factory in 1911 before it was destroyed in the 1952 flood disaster. A small bottle of ginger beer set in the rock face marks the site.
The rugged scenery of the Exmoor National Park provides over 600 miles of marked footpaths. Exmoor has abundant wildlife, including Exmoor ponies, sheep and red deer that graze the open moorland. Overhead one might see falcons, buzzards and even the rare merlin. Exmoor National Park is full of hidden treasures and exploring this 13th century ancient royal hunting forest will reveal bronze and iron age settlements, standing stones and cairns. Particularly beautiful is The Doone Valley, the setting for R.D Blackmore's 'Lorna Doone', the hamlet of Malmsmead, Robbers Bridge and The Heddon Valley. To experience Exmoor by car try the coastal road between Lynmouth and Porlock Weir for wide open views. Exmoor offers several long distance walks, including the Coleridge Way, The Two Moors Way and the South West Coast Path which all converge in the towns of Lynton and Lynmouth.
The North Coast of Devon is noted for its high sea cliffs, breath taking natural beauty and unspoilt landscape. The south west coast path and many other long distance paths start (or finish) in Lynton and Lynmouth making this a walker's paradise. The coastline within the Exmoor National Park stretches for (59 km) 37 miles and is the highest coastline in England and Wales with coastal hills rising to 433m (1421ft) at Culbone Hill. The highest sheer cliff is 244m (800ft) on Great Hangman, which is the highest sea cliff in England and Wales. A special feature of this coast is that it is remarkably sheltered and allows for the unusual development of coastal woods. The longest stretch of coastal woodland in England and Wales can be found here. At Combe Martin, Ilfracombe, Lynmouth and Porlock Weir there are small harbours popular with tourism and visitors.
There are public car parks and some street parking in both Lynton and Lynmouth although Lynmouth has significantly less available parking and gets busy during peak seasons. Much better to park in Lynton and use us as the most beautiful park and ride option in the UK to the village of Lynmouth below. Where else in the country can you arrive in that much style? Lynton Car Parks are situated at Bottom Meadow, Cross Street and Valley of Rocks. Lynmouth Car Parks are situated at Upper & Lower Lyndale, The Esplanade and Watersmeet.
The secret to avoiding queues - sssshhh!
The Cliff Railway can be accessed at either the top station in Lynton or the bottom station in Lynmouth. At busy times the bottom station is very popular and queues can occur at peak times. To reduce waiting and avoid queues we recommend access via the top station Lynton in the afternoon or plan your visit earlier in the morning or towards the end of the day - but don't tell everyone!
Gradient and steps
The access paths have a slight gradient but are manageable by most wheelchairs with assistance. There are no steps within the site other than stepping onto the Cliff Railway at the top station, there are however, three steps within the carriages themselves but with handrail. The Cliff Top Cafe has level access with no steps.
Visitors with Disabilities
Due to the nature of the railway and its Victorian carriages most standard wheelchairs will not pass through the carriages unfolded, the carriages are 540mm wide at the narrowest point. There are also three steps in each carriage and restricted seating at busy times.
We can accommodate a return journey on the open platform for wheelchair users. This is only available from the bottom Lynmouth station (where level access into the carriage is available) and then riding up on the front platform to the top and staying on the lift and returning back to Lynmouth where you would disembark. For groups or other specific access information please contact us prior to your visit.
Dogs and Guide Dogs
Dogs are always welcome to take their owners for a ride on the Cliff Railway. We do make a small charge for doggy travel (Lap dogs no charge) and they must be kept on a lead and ride inside the carriage at all times. Guide Dogs are permitted to travel for free. Water for dogs is provided in bowls at the site and we have complimentary dog biscuits too - Woof Woof.
Pushchairs and Cycles
Due to the narrow Victorian carriages we would appreciate it if you folded your pushchairs if folded these are free. If pushchairs are unfolded for travel on the railway and a small charge is made for their transport. These can be left and stored if required. Cycles are permitted but we do make a charge for their transport.
The Victorians didn't provide us with on site Public toilets. The closest are situated in Bottom Meadow Car Park and by the Town Hall in Lynton and The Memorial Hall and Lyndale Car Park in Lynmouth and also opposite the cricket field at the Valley of Rocks. The Cliff Top Cafe does have a WC.