Watersmeet from Brendon

 

Difficulty : EasyDuration : 3.5 HrsDistance : 11 Km

 
This riverside and woodland walk will take you through ancient woodlands along side the East Lyn river. This area is very special to myself as my family lived here for many years and my father grew up around this river and woodlands. This great little trek will take you from the picturesque farming village of Brendon to the now National Trust Watersmeet House. Watersmeet House is a 19th-century former fishing lodge, built in 1832 in a valley at the confluence of the East Lyn and Hoar Oak Water, the house now serves as a National Trust shop, with refreshments and information. The East Lyn is a beautiful river with some great waterfalls and an abundance of wildlife including Grey Wagtails, Dippers, Butterflies, Brown Trout, Salmon and Otters. This is a great half day trek.


Full route description for this walk

 

The starting point for the trek is Brendon Village Hall car park, situated at the far end of the picturesque village of Brendon at the heart of the Exmoor National Park. Brendon is a lovely whitewashed and thatched village set in the valley of the East Lyn river surrounded by forest sided valleys. The valleys surrounding Brendon are made famous by the romantic novel Lorna Doone by R D Blackmore and this unique area of Exmoor is known as Doone Country. It is easy to see what captured the heart and mind of Blackmore as this is a truly unspoiled and beautiful area.

Brendon Village Track

Brendon Village Track

East Lyn River Footpath

East Lyn River Footpath

From the Brendon Village Hall car park follow the road into the village, passing the Millslade Country House Hotel on your right. This ideally located white building was once owned and run by my own grandparents and was home to my father for many years as a child. As you enter the village you will see the Stag Hunters Hotel on your right which was also owned by my family for a while. The village has a few craft shops and a great little art gallery with oil paintings of the surrounding area. Follow the road through to the end of the village where you will find a stone bridge that crosses the East Lyn river.

Cross the bridge and at the T junction follow the road left until the road takes a sharp turn to the right at which point take the track leading straight off the bend, this will lead you through a gorgeous meadow to a private farm which the National Trust path to Mill Wood cuts through. After passing the farm you will start to enter Mill Wood. The path will run along side the East Lyn river which is an abundance of wildlife and absolutely gorgeous. This path is now part of a the long distance Samaritans Way.

East Lyn in the woods

East Lyn in the woods

Brown Trout

Brown Trout

After Mill Wood keep heading South West along the obvious path. You will now come to Wilsham Wood. In the river below just near the start of Wilsham Wood, Otters are often seen playing in the river so be cautious and quiet and wait a while and you never know. Wilsham Wood like most of this walk is protected by the National Trust and is well kept, these wood's are full of rare species and some of the oldest trees in the country. When the path leaves the river for short spells it is often because the river goes through a gorge or waterfalls so if you feel adventurous and hear fast flowing water then don't be afraid to venture off the path for a short while in search of some awesome wild river scenes that are hidden away.

Samaritans Way

Samaritans Way

East Lyn at Ash Bridge

East Lyn at Ash Bridge

After the bend in the river you will see the small hamlet of Rockford on the other side of the river. There is also a house here that is built on the side of the river, it is like a dream house and its location and keeping will make you green with envy. Keep on the path as it follows the river north. You will reach an opening on the river where the footbridge of Ash Bridge crosses to a path on the other side. The view of this bridge is well worth a photo. However come back off the bridge and continue on the same side of the river, it will now bend to the left and the path will now start to steadily climb higher.

The path reaches the highest point of the walk as the river continues to tumble down the valley below the cliffs next to the path. The path will start to ascend now and eventually meet the river again now running through Barton Wood. After a mile or so you will reach Watersmeet.

Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

Chiselcombe Bridge

Chiselcombe Bridge

Watersmeet House which sits on the bank of the river where it joins Hoar Oak Water, is now National Trust shop with refreshments and information. Originally a 19th century fishing lodge, Watersmeet is now a hub for several of Exmoor's most beautiful walks and can be very popular with walkers and tourists during the summer months.

This is the end of the walk but there is plenty to see around this small area. Cross the bridge over the joining rivers and you see an awesome waterfall on Hoar Oak Water just before it joins the East Lyn. Continue on the path down the East Lyn for half a mile and you'll reach the lovely Chiselcombe Bridge, rebuilt in 1957 after being washed away in the horrific 1952 great flood of Lynmouth. Look into the pool down below and you'll see plenty of trout in the river. Also take a look around Watersmeet House itself and read up on the history and wildlife of the East Lyn valley.

Hoaroak Waterfalls

Hoaroak Waterfalls

East Lyn at Watersmeet

East Lyn at Watersmeet

To finish the walk simply follow the route back to Brendon, you'll be surprised how different some of the scenery is on the way back and have of course double your chances of spotting some great wildlife!

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Photos taken on this walk

 
These photo's are taken from a trip by myself on May 21st 2004 with the memories of my grandma who sadly left us this week, this beautiful area was her home for many years.
Pool On The East Lyn Near Brendon Dream House On The River Bank At Oaklands Samaritans Way Footpath Through Mill Wood East Lyn And Path Near Alderford East Lyn Waters Near Rockford Rare And Ancient Tree Species At Wilsham Wood Sun Shines Through The Trees Over The East Lyn Waterfall On The East Lyn Waterfalls On The East Lyn Gorgeous View Of East Lyn From Ash Bridge Grey Wagtail Sits On Rock In The East Lyn River Bend Butterfly Near Barton Wood Butterfly Near Barton Wood Watersmeet Where The East Lyn And Hoaroak Water Meet Waterfall On The East Lyn At Watersmeet River Bend After Watersmeet Chiselcombe Bridge Hoaroak Water Falls At Watersmeet Hoaroak Water Falls At Watersmeet East Lyn Deep In The Valley Fast Running Water On The East Lyn Buttercup Fields In Brendon Robbers Bridge Over Wier Water Trout In Wier Water At Robbers Bridge Robbers Bridge Robbers Bridge Road



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