Subscribe to our newsletter None saved

Walk - Lorna Doone Walk

3D Fly Through

View a 3D fly through of the route using the Google Earth plugin

Hide the 3D fly through

Route Description

  1. From the car park at County Gate cross the road (carefully!) and pick up the track opposite, running to the east and slightly downhill
  2. When the path forks, take the left-hand track which runs steeply down beside Coscombe, bordering the forest.
  3. As this track flattens out, it meets the Coast Path at a T-junction. Turn right onto this, heading roughly eastwards, through a combe and onto Yenworthy Combe beyond.

The path falling away downhill to your left in Yenworthy Combe leads to Glenthorne Beach (see the Glenthorne walk).

The path heading steeply uphill to your right turns eastwards itself halfway up the combe, with a third easterly path on the way up to it. Either of these paths gives an alternative route back to the Coast Path just above the next point on the walk, with spectacular views across the Bristol Channel as you proceed; but otherwise stay with the Coast Path below the steep path in Yenworthy Combe, and follow it uphill and then down again, through the wood, until you come to the next junction of paths.

  1. Here take the path uphill and to your right, doubling back above the way you have come before turning again to continue roughly eastwards up through Yenworthy Wood and into Wheatham Combe.

The path turns southwards here, and starts climbing up the hillside towards the open fields above.

  1. A few hundred yards after crossing the stream, you reach a gate. Here the Coast Path heads east again, towards Porlock; but you carry on uphill, in the direction marked Oareford.
  2. At the next fence, a couple of hundred yards further on again, the path divides, with a right-hand turn leading away westwards via Yenworthy Lodge to County gate. Ignore this path, and instead carry on uphill, southwards towards the road.
  3. Cross the road and turn left, heading eastwards for a hundred yards or so, and pick up the path to your right which leaves the road to run along the top of the hillside here.
  4. Take the path, about a hundred yards on, which drops sharply into Deddy Combe, and carry on down with it right the way to the bottom of the combe.

As you near the bottom of the combe, you can catch glimpses of Oare Church at the foot of the opposite hillside. Oare Church is the location of one of the most dramatic scenes in RD Blackmore's novel 'Lorna Doone' which was set around here during the late seventeenth century. There is a memorial tablet in the church to Blackmore, whose uncle was a rector here.

  1. Ignore the path joining from the left, and carry on beside the stream to the lane beyond. Turn left onto the lane, and left again when it forks, about a hundred yards further on. This will bring you to the church.
  2. Take the footpath just beyond the church, which leads to your right and uphill through the field to a patch of woodland a few hundred yards above.
  3. Carry on uphill, on the footpath signed to Cloud Farm, and follow it around the edge of the wood, turning sharply right with it after a while to continue through the fields and out through the gate at the bottom, by the stables.
  4. At Cloud Farm, turn right onto the drive and follow it northwards to the road at Malmsmead, a mile or so beyond.

The stream running alongside the drive, on the left, is Badgworthy Water. It is in Badgworthy that Lorna Doone was set. If you were to follow the stream in the opposite direction, southwards from Cloud Farm, just a few hundred yards would bring you to a memorial stone, erected in RD Blackmore's memory in 1969 by the Lorna Doone Centenary Committee.

Following the stream onwards a mile or two from the memorial (a very pretty walk), you would pass through Badgworthy Wood and Doone Valley, below the open moorland of Doone Country and Brendon Common beyond it, and into the ruins of the mediaeval settlement where Blackmore wove his yarn.

  1. For this walk, however, turn right onto the road at Malmsmead, and walk to the bridleway on your left after a hundred yards or so.
  2. After you have crossed the footbridge, do not take the footpath left along beside the river, but instead go straight ahead, towards the woods, to the junction of bridleways beyond.
  3. Choose the left-hand bridlepath, and climb with it back up to the main road to return to the car park.

Pausing on this bridlepath, you can look back over the valley below and see Badgworthy Water winding its way through the woodland to the remains of the tiny village. No doubt Blackmore did the same, and pictured Lorna doing her washing among the stones in the bubbling river, while Carver and his wild outlaw brothers went about their business at a furious gallop on the expanses of empty moorland above.

Nearby refreshments

The Blue Ball Inn at Countisbury, a few miles to the west along the A39 from the car park, or the Culbone Stables Inn, a few miles to the east; or try a cream tea in Malmsmead, en route.

Public transport

Quantock Motor Services Route 300 travels a few times a day between Lynmouth and Minehead via Porlock, and stops at County Gate. For timetable information, zoom in on the interactive map and click on the bus stops, visit Traveline or phone 0871 200 22 33.

Parking

County Gate car park

South West Coast Path at County Gate in Exmoor National Park. Photographer Chris Bookholt, Syde.

South West Coast Path at County Gate in Exmoor National Park. Photographer Chris Bookholt, Syde.

Add to rucksack

Local maps and publications

Nearby Events

  • Moor Music

    The last of the Moor Music sessions is to be held at

    Exmoor Forest Inn, Simonsbath

    on Sunday 30th November fom 8pm

    Singers, Musicians and Audience welcome

    01643 831431 for more details

Nearby Walks

Loading weather...

Latest News

  • Join in and Celebrate an Award Winning Link on the South West Coast Path

    On Friday 24 October, you can join RIBA for a celebratory talk that will give you an insight into the design and build of the Gillespie Yunnie Architects’ staircase at Royal William Yard, Plymouth. This filled a gap in the South West Coast Path, bringing walkers around the Stonehouse peninsula for the first time. Online booking: http://royal-william-yard.eventbrite.co.uk

  • Voting Opens For Top Dog Walk Competition

    Voting has just opened for the third annual Top Dog Walk competition with the continued backing of Your Dog Magazine and the Kennel Club’s access advisor Stephen Jenkinson, an expert on where dog owners can go and what they can do in the countryside. Dog owners are invited to nominate their favourite walk, for their four-legged friends, from walks all around the South West Coast Path. One lucky voter will receive a complimentary stay at one of Toad Hall Cottages 300 dog friendly cottages to the value of £500.

  • The Early Photographer Catches the Prize!

    Back in August saw the announcement of the winning photographs in Round 5 of the Amateur Photographer of the Year Competition – entitled Dawn and Dusk. Among the 30 most spectacular images the majority included the sea and coastline in some form.

    If you are thinking of entering this year’s South West Coast Path photographic competition it is well worth feasting your eyes on these to give you renewed inspiration.

    Amateur Photographer of the Year – Dawn and Dusk Gallery

  • Penny Mordaunt MP Visits the Coast Path to Discuss Storm Damage

    The new Coastal Communities Minister Penny Mordaunt MP, visited the South West Coast Path at Thurlestone, South Devon, earlier this week.

    Penny Mordaunt

  • South West Coast Path Secures £1 million Investment

    The South West Coast Path Association is delighted to announce today that they have been successful in their bid to the Coastal Communities Fund to secure £1 million investment in the South West Coast Path. 

  • Photo journalists - Create a story for the path

    We want you to help us to tell the story of a day in the life of the South West Coast Path. Our friends at Western Morning News have offered us a two page photo essay spread to include up to eight photographs with a 500 word editorial. We can do it ourselves of course but we know that you can do it even better! We're asking for help from Coast Path enthusiasts with photo journalism skills to produce this. 

  • Coast Path reopened near Thurlestone

    Devon County Council yesterday completed work to re-open a section of Coast Path south of Thurlestone which had been closed since early 2013 when it was severed by a cliff fall. The new route follows the edge of the field, and whilst slightly longer than the original route retains stunning views along the coast.  

  • New National Trail Geocoins to be released

    In July, August and September ten new Geocoins, one a week for ten weeks will be released. The first will coincide with the start of the National Trail Geocaching Week from 12th to 19th July. The last as part the Great South West Walks event 20th to 28th September.

  • South West Coast Path Photographic Competition attracts Top Professional as Judge

    The team behind this year’s Coast Path Photographic Competition is excited to announce that David Noton has agreed to come on board as their Professional Judge. 

  • The Great South West Walks 2014 Opens For Bookings - 100 New Walks Announced

    With 100 stunning coastal walks to choose from, the Great South West Walks 2014 is now open for bookings.

    These specially selected circular walks by the South West Coast Path Association, will take place across Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset from 20th – 28th September.

Latest Events

  • Moor Music

    The last of the Moor Music sessions is to be held at

    Exmoor Forest Inn, Simonsbath

    on Sunday 30th November fom 8pm

    Singers, Musicians and Audience welcome

    01643 831431 for more details