Visit Exmoor and West Somerset
Exmoor is the least visited National Park in the country so we think it's the perfect location if you're wanting to avoid the busier places in the South West this summer as it's never crowded over here. We're just 3 miles from Exmoor so our farm is a good base for exploring this beautiful landscape.
If you like walking you've come to the right place, there is a huge choice from easy circular walks for the family, to more challenging stretches of the beautiful South West coast path. Tarr Steps is great for all ages, it's an easy foot path along the river which is safe and shallow for paddling and there's a traditional pub by the riverside too. There's a good Tourist Information Office in nearby Dulverton for more local information if you're driving through. Simonsbath is spectacular with the footpath following the river, see our photograph below, so is the Lorna Doone Valley. There are beautiful woodlands with ancient oaks at Horner and Selworthy and open areas with wild Exmoor ponies too.
Exmoor Walks and Dunster Castle
Dunster Castle is 25 minutes from us - an ancient castle on a hill with dramatic views and subtropical gardens, make sure leave enough time to visit the gorgeous village surrounding it with lots of good places to eat and independent shops. The National Trust castle is open all year round and brilliant for families but you might need to book ahead depending on how they are running things during Covid. There's a woodland play area in the gardens and a working watermill, you could easily spend a day in Dunster exploring.
Dunkery Beacon is the highest point in Somerset, it's really stunning up there with far reaching views over the Bristol Channel to Wales and miles of unspoilt moorland. A wonderful moorland site managed and owned by the National Trust. It has a chain of summits capped with Bronze Age barrows and is Exmoor's highest point at 1,705ft (519m). You can park at the bottom for a long walk, or further up the road for a easy climb to the summit. Don't forget to take your camera, and wrap up warm if you're walking in the winter, it's quite raw on a cold day!
Somerset & Exmoor Coast, Our Favourite Beaches
For beaches we love Porlock Weir and neighbouring Bossington. These are stone beaches and not suitable for swimming but great for walks and picnics, they're dog friendly too. Both these beaches have incredible views and are rarely busy. If you prefer a sandy beach there's Minehead or Dunster both perfect for younger children and sand castle making. Blue Anchor Bay is our nearest beach, 25 minutes from the farm and there's a friendly cafe there called The Driftwood who serve good, well priced fish and chips.
For a more active day Exmoor Adventures at Porlock offers kayaking, paddleboarding, coasteering, e-bikes and lots more - their Trip Advisor reviews are amazing, so you won't be disappointed. There are plenty of places offering horse riding on Exmoor too.
The photograph above is the harbour at Porlock Weir at low tide. The shop here sells crab lines and buckets (good ice cream too), low tide is a good time for children's crabbing. Porlock is also the base if you want to visit Culbone Church, the smallest parish church in the UK, it's really pretty but without road access, you need to walk through the woods to reach it. It's a really good walk through beautiful ancient woodlands. Kate Humble walked there on the recent Channel 5 Coastal Britain series, well worth watching if you want to see more of Exmoor.
Porlock has good independent food places. We love Ziangs on the Weir who serve good Thai and Malaysian takeaway which you can eat on the harbour walls or take to the beach. The hotel serves good wood fired pizzas and there's an oyster place and good cafe with artworks too.