Countisbury and Watersmeet from Lynmouth

This Exmoor walk includes coast, valley and high level sections. Starting from Lynmouth, the route climbs to Contisubury before crossing high pastures to descend to Watersmeet. The return leg of the walk follows the River Lyn downstream to the coast.

Technical sheet
No. 293107
A Lynton and Lynmouth walk posted on 04/07/16 by Walking Britain. Update : 16/09/16
Calculated time Calculated time: 2h45[?]
Distance Distance : 6.88km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 266m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 256m
Highest point Highest point : 269m
Lowest point Lowest point : 3m
Easy Difficulty : Easy
Back to starting point Back to starting point : No
Walking Walking
Area Area : Exmoor
Location Location : Lynton and Lynmouth
Starting point Starting point : N 51.230796° / W 3.830961°
Ending point Ending point : N 51.229887° / W 3.828705°
Download : -


(D)Parking is available on the street on the west side of the river during winter. At busy times you may need to use one of the car parks that are signed off the A39. The start is the seafront opposite the lower station of the funicular railway (Grid ref SS722496) that links Lynmouth with Lynton. Turn right and follow the river upstream passing the small pier on your left. Cross the substantial foot bridge over the River Lyn following the South West Coast Path signs. Ahead you can see Foreland Point with Butter Hill to its immediate right. This hill is nearly a thousand feet high and gives some impression of the height of the cliffs in this locality.

(1)The path begins to climb the cliffs, gaining height steadily and in a few places quite steeply. Passing beside the A39 the path ahead is never in doubt and your efforts are rewarded with increasingly spectacular views. On a fine day you can see across the Bristol Channel to South Wales and the Brecon Beacons as well as enjoying the increasingly airy path as you climb up to the Church at Countisbury (Grid ref. SS747498).

(2)Turn right through the churchyard and walk down the lane to the main road. Cross the busy road with care and go left for a few metres to locate a footpath on your right. Follow the clear path across South Hill Common and descend to the edge of Horner’s Neck Woods (Grid ref. SS747490). As you cross these open meadows you get an excellent view of the wooded combes or valleys. The path follows a short ridge before starting to descend to Watersmeet in the valley via a series of zigzags.

(3)Reaching the valley path turn right and in a short distance you arrive at Watersmeet House (National Trust with refreshments in season). The junction of the two rivers here is quite spectacular after rain and you can try to imagine in the enormity of the flood when disaster hit in 1952. The onward route runs parallel to the river all the way to Lynmouth. However at the path climbs away from the valley bottom before returning to run alongside the river once more. Signage and waymarking is good, and it is important that you follow the path to Lynmouth. If in doubt take the widest path and be prepared for some ascent. Reaching Lynmouth cross the river either by the footbridges or road bridge to regain the start.

Waypoints :
D : km 0 - alt. 14m - Start: Lynmouth seafront
1 : km 0.53 - alt. 36m - Follow coastal path up cliffs
2 : km 2.66 - alt. 269m - Turn right through churchyard
3 : km 3.87 - alt. 153m - Turn right along valley path
A : km 6.88 - alt. 16m - Finish: Lynmouth seafront

Useful Information

This half day walk includes a spectacular section of coast, high pastures and mature deciduous woodland. Starting from Lynmouth, scene of the devastating flood of 1952 when many people were killed. The disaster was the result of a flash flood with high levels of water rushing down the Lyn Rivers from Exmoor to the sea. Today the scars have healed and Lynmouth is now a bustling seaside village that is best avoided in high season. This walk was researched in February when there were few visitors and parking was easy, although the tackier aspects of the seafront were still open.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

Opinions and comments


Global average : 4.5/5
Number of opinions : 4
Description quality : 4.25/5
Routemap quality : 4.25/5
Walk interest : 5/5

on Fri 22 Apr 2022 14:12:07 CEST

Global average : 5 / 5

Date of walk : 19/04/22
Description quality : Very good
Easiness to follow the route : Very good
Walk interest : Very good

Excellent walk encompassing sea, forest, hills, and river. Pub ideally situated half way round.
I would not describe this as easy as the first half comprises some steep climbing. Towards the top of the climb the ground falls away quite precipitously and care needs to be taken. I would happily do this walk again.

on Mon 12 Oct 2020 17:23:33 CEST

Global average : 4.33 / 5

Date of walk : 12/10/20
Description quality : Good
Easiness to follow the route : Good
Walk interest : Very good

The initial section from Lynmouth past the Rock House up the Coastal Path to the main A39 Countisbury Road is through a winding wooded area. At the A39, follow the single track path alongside the main road where you will come to a layby/viewing point on your left. Here you can either follow the path along the A39 or on the other side of the road you will see a wooden gate, which follows the A39 albeit up along the hillside. The views from this side are wonderful and will eventually follow the road until you can cross further along and pick up the coastal path.

The walk does state it as easy, which I would agree with up the point down to Watersmeet. This track is hard and occasionally loose stones and although the gradient is not overly steep, it can be difficult if you have weak knees or ankles; however the walk gives you wonderful views of Oak woods and the view down to the river is worth the effort.

I would recommend the walk as it provides an all round experience of blustery coastal views and beautiful meanderings down to the river. The final stage of the walk following the river into Lynmouth is a lovely end to the experience.

on Wed 19 Aug 2020 17:16:30 CEST

Global average : 4.33 / 5

Date of walk : 19/08/20
Description quality : Good
Easiness to follow the route : Good
Walk interest : Very good

Interesting walk but described as easy I believe. First section climbing is more challenging than what I would describe as easy. Terrain/path is easy to follow but the climb is long so for those that are fit and used to it. Views out over the bay and back to Lynmouth are worth it.

on Tue 06 Nov 2018 19:31:10 CET

Global average : 4.33 / 5

Date of walk : 04/11/18
Description quality : Good
Easiness to follow the route : Good
Walk interest : Very good

great walk very varied terrain from high level exmoor to the valley below. map and instructions were good to follow

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.