Exmoor Outdoor Activities
With the wide open spaces and relative solitude Exmoor is a beautiful place to appreciate on foot, cycle or horseback. If you need an introduction to Exmoor and its delights then a guided walk or Exmoor Riding Safari is perfect. Exmoor National Park Centres are in Dulverston and Dunster in Somerset, and you’ll also find independent information points at Minehead and Porlock. All these visitor centres offer a wealth of guides, maps, exhibitions and guided walks to help you enjoy the Exmoor area.
Walking Holidays in Exmoor
Porlock and Dunster in Somerset’s Exmoor both have ‘Walkers are Welcome’ status, making them perfect bases for walking holidays in the National Park. Walking in Exmoor is one of the best ways to fully appreciate its beauty. Walks vary from low level riverside walks through fantastic wooded valleys, to more difficult hill walking. Exmoor contains thousands of hectares of open access land and over 1,000 kilometres of public rights of way. So as long as you’re equipped with a map you should be able to find something to suit you.
There are lots of walking guides available from Visitor Centres throughout Exmoor National Park or you can buy them online from the Exmoor National Park’s website. Alternatively you can pick up guided walks organised by rangers and local guides. There are also several long distance walking routes that link Somerset and Devon, and connect the two National Parks of Exmoor and Dartmoor.
South West Coast Path
The South West Coast Path is a 630 mile long trail around the South West of England. The Path goes through some of the country’s most beautiful coastal scenery through Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and Dorset. It touches on Exmoor and links in to other public footpaths taking you deeper into the moors. The trail actually begins in Minehead in Somerset, and pushes west along the Exmoor Coast.
The Coleridge Way
You can pick up The Coleridge Way as it crosses through Exmoor from the Quantock and Brendon Hills to the east, ending in Porlock. It is a 36 mile long distance walking trail which includes places that Coleridge is known to have wandered during his time in Nether Stowey drawing inspiration from the landscapes around him. You can do the whole route or just take the Porlock to Wheddon Cross route which will take you through the Exmoor section.
Cycling and Mountain Biking Exmoor
For a more active way of seeing Exmoor you might fancy cycling. There are some relatively less hilly cycle rides suitable for weekend cyclists and families such as the "Pedal around Porlock" leaflet available from Porlock Visitor Centre. This is a circular route around Porlock Vale covering just under eight miles. For more challenging mountain biking Exmoor has some good off-road routes ranging from easy to expert. Leaflets are available of mountain bike routes around Exmoor and can be obtained from Visitor Centres.
Horse Riding on Exmoor
‘Explore Exmoor on an Equine’ – horse riding is always popular on Exmoor and gives you the chance to see the herds of Red deer or native Exmoor ponies at close quarters. There are over 300 miles of bridleways within the National Park itself including the 33 mile long Coleridge Way bridleway route. A wide range of stables and riding centres in Exmoor offer lessons, guided hacks or where you can book animals for rides and half or full day hacks across Exmoor. If you want to bring your own horse a good choice of farms and stables that offer both holiday accommodation for you and stabling facilities for your horses.
Dulverton is a good base if you want to do a spot of fishing during your stay. Fly fishing for trout and salmon is most popular in Exmoor with the River Exe and River Barle around Dulverton providing plenty of opportunities. Alternatively up nearer the coast you try a spot of sea fishing where you migth land bass, cod, whiting, conger or skate. Sea fishing boat trips leaves from Minehead, Porlock Weir and Watchet. National rod licenses are required to fish on West Somerset rivers and permits are required from fishing rights owners. Visit the National Park’s website for details.