Cycling in Exmoor - Lorna Doone CountrySituated in SW England, Exmoor National Park is a stunningly beautiful place to live and bike. Replete with roads, trails and hills of every grade and steepness, Porlock Hill has the steepest road in the whole of the UK. At 1:3 incline, for an ascent it needs the lowest gear you have. There is a warning sign at the top "Cyclists Dismount", though with utmost care you should have no trouble, though enter the bends with any kind of speed and you'll likely crash into the walls or just keep sliding - Autumn is greasy and leafy. Helmet, a must have.
Generally, I take a daily 8 to 10 mile ride through the tree-lined lanes and villages, winding up and down, with spectacular country and moorland vistas all around. Wild Exmoor Ponies can be seen on North Hill - quite a haul itself, and way out into the Moors. Distant coastal / moorland rides take you through Porlock, up the big hill itself or the lesser 4 mile toll road (free to bikers), then onto Dunkery Beacon - with spectacular views across the Bristol Channel to South Wales and views to Dartmoor (another great region).
Then descend the massive Countisbury Hill - check your brakes beforehand - the steepest part is at the bottom, to arrive at Lynmouth port (the village once devastated by moorland flooding which swept through the village). Here, you can enjoy the typical seaside country cafe's and traditional "fish and chips" (not wrapped in newspaper these days). Escape from Lynmouth is via another tremendously steep and quite long climb to Lynton town or around the loop to Watersmeet.
This is Lorna Doone Country, after the famous Moors love story. From Lynton, ride on to the open, rolling moorland and visit Tarr Steps, through Simonsbath, Winsford and Exford, where you can pub lunch or take tea and cakes in the many tearooms, during the holiday season. The moorland provides that open, wild and windswept feel to take you out of yourself. Finish via Wheddon Cross and onto Dunster, to visit its magnificent Castle. The area has many ancient village churches, some tiny and remote. You can also enjoy steam train rides along the coast and then alongside the stunning Quantock Hills and onto Taunton.
In all, Exmoor is a stunning place to ride and you fill a weeks holiday and get really fit.
External LinksExmoor national Park
Lorna Doone Story
Culbone - The Smallest Church
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