Porlock is one of several typical Exmoor villages with thatched cottages nestling around the foot of the Exmoor hills. Porlock Hill in renowned for its steepness. It rises 400 feet in under two miles with a gradient of 1 in 4! Alternatively you can take the scenic toll road with fantastic views of the coast. Discovery Safaris offer the chance to tour the Exmoor National Park on a 4×4 along a choice of themed routes exploring historical sites and favourite wildlife spots. Pretty Greencombe Gardens set in 3.5 acres are open to the public, and the Exmoor Classic Car Collection is an interesting place to spend an hour on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays. The Exmoor Owl and Hawk Centre features on-site tea rooms and offers indoor owl shows and the opportunity to enjoy falconry experiences, donkey rides and alpaca treks available on site. Should you wish to stay in the area, you’ll find Porlock accommodation to suit your budget and needs. Perfect for year round walking holidays – compare prices and book a Porlock holiday online now.
Things to Do & See in Porlock
Porlock itself has a good range of accommodation, shops and eateries – many serving up tasty local produce. It’s an excellent base for exploring Exmoor either by foot, cycle or car. Heading west to the coast will take you past the sweeping shingle Porlock Bay and on to the pretty hamlet, Porlock Weir. Some buildings either side of the main road through Porlock village are over 500 years old and many are built from local quarried stone. The Ship Inn at Porlock dates from the twelfth century and is still going strong. Around Porlock itself you’ll find plenty of picturesque villages many with the traditional thatched roofs such as Horner village, Selworthy and Bossington. Porlock has its own Visitor Centre independently run by the Porlock Tourist Association. It has a wealth of information on local activities, places to visit and sells maps, books and local crafts. Guided walks around Exmoor often leave from the centre and the staff organise a range of events throughout the year. There are also some interpretive displays on local interests such as the discovery of Aurochs bones on Porlock Beach in 1999.
Porlock Weir is on the coast just west of Porlock itself. It’s a pretty hamlet around a harbour on Porlock Bay. It’s a popular place to visit for the shingle beach, walks or food at the Ship Inn. Arts and crafts are also available at the workshops lining the shore. The South West Coast Path passes through Porlock Weir and there are scenic bus routes serving the area.
Porlock Hill is renowned for its steepness and hairpin bends. It rises 400 feet in under two miles with a gradient of 1 in 4! Quite an entrance to Porlock from the west. Alternatively you can take the scenic toll road which is slightly less steep and has fantastic views of the coast. Locally Porlock Hill is one of several steep roads like at Lynton and Lynmouth, along the coast in Devon. However, if you’re not used to it you’ll need to take care and keep in a low gear. There have been many accidents over the years when vehicles’ brakes have failed and crashed at the bottom. It’s a fantastic experience and should be done at least once.
In 1899 gales prevented the Lynmouth lifeboat from being launched to rescue the crew of The Forrest Hall in trouble in the storms out to sea. A heroic feat was undertaken when the Lynmouth lifeboat men hauled the lifeboat to Porlock – over land! The boat weighed 10 tons and it took one hundred men and twenty horses to haul the boat fifteen miles in just over ten hours. When they reached Porlock, via the treacherous steep hill, the lifeboat crew had to row the boat for over an hour despite being exhausted themselves to rescue the crew of the Forrest Hall which they did.
Walks from Porlock
Porlock is an excellent base for walks into Exmoor. There is a network of public footpaths in and around Porlock itself which will lead you to the coast or up into the hills of Exmoor. Porlock is famed for providing the man who interrupted Samuel Taylor Coleridge when he was writing Kubla Khan meaning that he forgot his dream on which it was based and the poem remained unfinished!You can pick up The Coleridge Way from Porlock. It is a 36 mile long distance walking trail across the Quantock and Brendon Hills, Exmoor and ending in Porlock. You can do the whole route or just take the Porlock to Wheddon Cross route which will take you through the Exmoor section. The 638 mile South West Coast Path also runs through Porlock Weir on the coast. You can link into this for both short or long walks.
Exmoor Safaris, Cycling and Mountain Biking
If you’d rather be guided around Exmoor, which can give you some shortcuts to finding out about the wildlife, archaeology farming history and historic buildings, then a tour of Exmoor by 4×4 might be the ticket. Discovery Safaris are based in Porlock and offer a range of different tours typically taking in some of Exmoor’s best known sites such as Tarr Steps, Lorna Doone Valley or this historic villages of east Exmoor. Tours last around two and a half hours. If you prefer to explore under your own steam check out the Pedal around Porlock leaflet available from the 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 from easy to expert.
Michelle is an experienced travel writer with iknow and has travelled extensively across the UK, Spain, Portugal and the USA. When she’s not busy writing for iknow she enjoys spending time touring museums and art galleries and seeking out the best independent shops in Manchester and Leeds.