The Doone Valley from Malmsmead

Starting from Malmsmead, this walk in the Exmoor National Park includes sections in Devon and Somerset. The main focus of the route is areas associated with the Lorna Doone novels. However expect much more with valley and moorland walking in this excellent Exmoor walk.

Technical sheet
No. 292963
A Brendon and Countisbury walk posted on 04/07/16 by Walking Britain. Update : 11/10/16
Calculated time Calculated time: 4h00[?]
Distance Distance : 11.56km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 246m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 245m
Highest point Highest point : 390m
Lowest point Lowest point : 229m
Moderate Difficulty : Moderate
Back to starting point Back to starting point : Yes
Walking Walking
Area Area : Exmoor
Location Location : Brendon and Countisbury
Starting point Starting point : N 51.216209° / W 3.731724°
Download : -


(D)Starting from the village car park (Grid ref. SS791478) walk to the road junction in the village centre and turn left for Oare. Cross Badgworthy Water and follow the lane for approximately 300 metres and turn left onto the signed footpath. This crosses Oare Water by footbridge with the onward route a right turn to head south-east. This path continues alongside the river to join a lane. Turn right, re-cross Oare Water and continue up to the road junction. Oare church is opposite and is worth a visit.

(1)After visiting the church exit the churchyard and turn right along the lane and almost immediately right again onto a bridleway, which climbs gently. At the first junction fork right alongside a small wood. The path/track contours around the hillside before descending to Cloud Farm.

(2)Cross Badgworthy Water and turn left (upstream) to follow a clear track. This leads without any need for further directions to the site of a Medieval village (Grid ref. 792444), which is a short way west of the river. Unfortunately there are few obvious remains in this pleasant spot, which nevertheless makes an ideal place for a rest and refreshments.

(3)Heading northwest along a clear bridleway the route climbs gently onto the moors to reach a gate (Grid ref. 781452). Go through the gate and continue along the bridleway with good views of the open moors. Crossing the northern flank of Withycombe Ridge the route descends to Lankcombe Ford.

(4)Cross this and bear right to pick up a clear track heading just north of east. Stay on this as it contours around the east side of Malmsmead Hill to reach Easter Lane (Grid ref. 781473). Note - this track is not shown on the OS maps. A more direct route leaves the route described at grid ref. 777460). Reaching Easter Lane, turn right and after a kilometre you arrive back in Malmsmead.(A)

Waypoints :
D/A : km 0 - alt. 231m - Malmsmead village car park
1 : km 1.5 - alt. 249m - Oare Church
2 : km 2.96 - alt. 249m - Cloud Farm
3 : km 5.48 - alt. 295m - Medieval village
4 : km 8.15 - alt. 371m - Lankcombe Ford
D/A : km 11.56 - alt. 232m - Malmsmead village car park

Useful Information

Lorna Doone was a fictional character created by R.D. Blackmore using the landscape of this area as a basis for the novel. The walk starts in the pleasant village of Malmsmead and continues to Oare Church before heading up the valley containing Badgworthy Water to finish with a walk across the moors.

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 : 2
Description quality : 4.5/5
Routemap quality : 4/5
Walk interest : 5/5

on Tue 19 Nov 2019 17:05:17 CET

Global average : 4 / 5

Date of walk : 16/11/19
Description quality : Good
Easiness to follow the route : Average
Walk interest : Very good

The first half of this walk is very pretty and quite varied. The part across the moors is a little boring as at the time of year there is no real plants growing.

We did this walk after a particularly heavy week of rain. The tracks in some places are very boggy and wet. When crossing the fjord we had to wade through water as there was no other way of crossing and all the streams were swollen.

The route map is generally good although going across the moors the line on the map goes straight whereas you need to follow the path that goes round to the right a bit and the same on the last leg of before reaching the road. Luckily we had a phone with OS map on it so we knew when we were going off the line and how to correct ourselves.

Probably best walked in the spring or summer due to the very muddy paths and having to wade through streams.

on Mon 30 Oct 2017 09:35:32 CET

Global average : 5 / 5

Date of walk : 11/10/17
Description quality : Very good
Easiness to follow the route : Very good
Walk interest : Very good

We walked this on a dry October day and really enjoyed the variety of farmland, wooded riverside and moorland - and always useful to have a cafe/pub at the finish!
There was one section of bridleway after Oare church though that was extremely chewed up by cattle and horses and very muddy and difficult to walk through - so just be prepared for this.

on Mon 23 Oct 2017 20:49:51 CEST

Have not yet walked this route. Its part a a long weekend that will not be walked until March 2018. However, have checked the route via a map, and the written details seem very helpful.

Big Mac

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