Best walks in Exmoor National Park
From dramatic coastal footpaths to gentle river walks, there are myriad walks to be enjoyed in Exmoor National Park – here is our pick of the best.
Exmoor National Park is situated on the north coast of Devon and Somerset. The area was designated as a national park in 1954 and, today, its 267 square miles offer outdoor enthusiasts numerous opportunities for exploration.
A network of footpaths mesh the park, rambling over moorland and farmland, dropping through ancient woodland and navigating spectacular clifftops. It's a wild landscape, home to a vast range of flora and fauna, including red deer, otters, butterflies and bats.
Visitors to the area can find refuge in one of the many pretty villages or small towns that span Exmoor – from the coastal settlements of Linton, Lynmouth, Porlock and Combe Martin, to the inland communities of Dulverton, Exford and Simonsbath.
Our guide explores some of the best walks in Exmoor. Click on the links to find out more about the routes, including a path descriptions and maps.
Learn more about Britain's national parksWhat is a national park, how many national parks are there in the UK, and where is the nearest one to you? Our guide to the UK's 15 spectacular national parks looks at the history of each, how to visit them, the best walking routes, and local wildlife to spot.
Tarr Steps, Somerset
7.3 miles | 4 hours | moderate
Tarr Steps is one of Exmoor’s true hidden treasures and a firm favourite with visitors – once you’ve discovered it you’ll find yourself drawn back time and time. This gentle seven-mile ramble meanders alongside the river before looping through Withypool and climbing for gorgeous views over Exmoor.
- 11.7km/7.3 mile
- 4 hours
Valley of Rocks, Devon
3.6 miles | 2 hours | moderate
On a quiet day, there’s a lost world feel to North Devon’s enigmatic Valley of Rocks, despite the serpentine ribbon of road that curls through the vale in the place where a river once ran. Exult in towering sea cliffs where feral goats clamber skilfully between Devonian crags on this short circular walk around the rocky coastal valley.
- 2 hours
Porlock Bay, Somerset
8.5 miles | 5 hours | moderate–challenging
The coastline between the tiny harbour at Porlock Weir and rugged Hurlstone Point comprises wildlife-rich salt and freshwater marshland, dramatic storm beaches and gnarled cliffs. Discover Porlock Bay with a nine-mile circular walk, ending with a relaxing drink the among books, sofas and firelight at Porlock Weir's quirky Millers at the Anchor inn.
- 13.6km/8.5 miles
- 5 hours
4 miles | 2.5 hours | easy–moderate
High on a hill in north-east Exmoor, medieval Dunster Castle looks down upon historic Dunster and its bustling gift shops. It’s a magical scene best enjoyed after a circular walk through the surrounding countryside
- 6.4km/4 miles
- 2.5 hours
Horner Valley, Somerset
4.8 miles | 3 hours | moderate
The Horner Valley and its surroundings, including the Vale of Porlock and Exmoor’s highest point Dunkery Beacon, lies within the National Trust’s Holnicote Estate, once owned by the Acland family. nestles by Horner Water, ideally situated for excursions on horseback or foot. This wonderful four-mile bridle trail explores Exmoor's ancient oak woodlands – the perfect walk for wildlife-spotting.
- 7.8km/4.8 miles
- 3 hours
Elwill Bay, Devon
7.4 miles | 4 hours | moderate
Begin in a verdant inland valley before striking out on to the South West Coast Path with beautiful views across Elwill Bay on this eight-mile coast walk.
- 11.9km/7.4 miles
- 4 hours
East Lyn River, Devon
6.8 miles | 4 hours | moderate
Rising high above Exmoor, the East Lyn River flows through the East Lyn Valley in Devon to the picturesque village of Lynmouth. This beautiful six-mile walk begins at Lynmouth in the Exmoor National Park and follows the East Lyn River upstream to Rockford before heading back to the coast.
- 11km/6.8 miles
- 4 hours
Danny is the outdoors editor of BBC Countryfile Magazine, responsible for commissioning, editing and writing articles that offer ideas and inspiration for exploring the UK countryside.
Subscribe to BBC Countryfile
Get 6 issues for just £9.99 when you subscribe to BBC Countryfile Magazine | SAVE 70% today
Risk free, introductory offer