Exmoor Memories: Summer on the Exmoor Coast

IMG_6677A.G. Bradley, “Exmoor Memories”

(first published in 1926)

 But Lynton, whether at the first boyish encounter, with its high, uplifting scenery, or at eighteen, when I had come to feel its attractions more deeply, was always my favourite place for these exhilarating trips. (…) Sometimes we took the rough moorland road, as it then was, turning off left-handed on the way to Simonsbath and heading across the open moor for Oare and Brendon, by Brendon Two-Gates, nowadays so familiar to tourists, and so down the glorious valley of the East Lynn. At other times we would take the Combe Martin road, and turning right-handed at Blackmore gate, in those days what its name portended, a turnpike, follow the coach road through Paracombe and on down the valley of the West Lynn. This was the route from Barnstaple for the comparatively small number of visitors that then found their way to Lynton. A long and hilly road of nearly twenty miles, over which agonised honeymooners from flat counties clung together on the coach roof as, with groaning brakes, it rocked down the steep hills, over loose stones and a stream-riven surface. Even Ilfracombe  had only as yet talked of a railroad.  Lynton had not even dreamed of such a thing. It would have seemed to us nothing short of sacrilege. (…)

What can one say of Lynton, or Lynmouth, that has not been told by pens innumerable since those old days of the ‘sixties? It is not so much the bold coast scenery, because that extends with equal, if intermittent grandeur all the way past Ilfracombe to Barnstaple Bay, and eastwards into Somerset, but rather those two lovely winding valleys, wrapped to their summits with foliage, and cloven by white streams foaming to the sea, which make it unique among English coast resorts.

Arthur Granville BRADLEY 1850-1943

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