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The delights of Exmoor

Selworthy Beacon

Trip Point Hopcott

 

Cycle Routes

Route 1

Start & Finish:
Pompy's Cycles, Minehead   ST975463
Estimated Distance: 12 miles


This ride starts at Pompy's Cycles near to the West Somerset Railway Station.  From the seafront head towards the Harbour, take a left up Blenheim Road  and then the second right up Martlet Road, which leads into St Michael's Road and takes you past St Michael's Church and leads into Moor Road and then Hill Road, which is the climb up onto North Hill.  After a couple of sweeping corners you will come across a cattle grid.  Turn in left and follow the Bridleway up which eventually joins back to the road at a car park ST955475.  From here follow the South West Coast Path all the way along to just past Selworthy Beacon on you left ST915480.  Turn back left up towards the Trig Point at Selworthy Beacon.  Follow the Bridleway back to the road ST924478, go straight ahead along the road a little way (twenty yards) and then turn off the road onto the Bridleway above Selworthy Combe and go through a wooden five-bar gate leading to Dean's Lane, which is a stony farm track very often over grown with brambles.  When you meet the road at Dean's Cross bear right for a couple of yards and then turn left down the Bridleway leading to East Lynch, keep high left around the farm yard and finish on the farm yard drive, which takes you back to meet the road.  From here go down the road to Headon Cross ST936458.  Becareful as you go straight across the A39 sign posted Wootton Courtenay.  Go up a short steep climb and then as you get to the crest turn in left onto the forrestry track through a metal pole gate.  Follow this track all the way up to the Trip Point on Wootton Common ST948443.  (This is an easier climb than the Bridleway which runs alongside).  You can then follow the ridge track - Macmillan Way West all the way along a fast wide downhill which flattens at the top of Hopcott Common and leads on to Hole's Corner.  Continue along and just after the copse on your right, turn down left when you reach the fence line to a field, then after a sharp left hander stay high and take the next left down across a stoney and then boggy patch of ground. (This next section is quite technical with roots and drop offs).  Go straight ahead into the next wooded area and follow this fabulous twisting singletrack all the way until you meet a dirt track/road, just near the Youth Hostel in Alcombe.  Take care as many walkers and horse riders use this track.  The dirt track leads down into Alcombe and the main road A39 into Minehead and then back to the seafront.

Route 2

Start & Finish:
Lucott Cross, Porlock Hill ST845432
Estimated Distance: 13 miles


DOONE VALLEY
Famous for the romantic novel Lorna Doone
by Richard Doddridge Blackmore

This ride starts and finishes at Lucott Cross ST 845432 on the top of Porlock Hill in the heart of Exmoor.  We strongly recommend that you use an Ordnance Survey Map if you are unfamiliar with this area.  To get to the start take the A39 from Porlock to Lynmouth.  At Whitstone Post ST 855463 turn Left across Porlock Common.

This brings you to the start at Lucott Cross ST 845432 where there are only a small amount of places to park a vehicle. At Lucott Cross turn Right on the road towards Alderman's Barrow. Just before the cattle grid ST 835423 turn Right through a small gate.  Follow the Bridleway across open moorland along a bumpy trail to a five bar gate.  Go through the gate and turn Right slightly downhill to another five-bar gate and then continue to follow a wide track along the contours through several more gates passing the Larkbarrow Ruins.

This wide track comes to (guess what?) a five bar gate after which the wide track peters out to a single track and climbs slightly upwards onto Great Tom's Hill.  This is not a very well defined track and runs across several boggy areas heading west until you come to a boundary wall with a small gate.  Go through the gate bearing slightly left along a collection of rutted tracks which gradually descend into a more defined track which slowly bears right.  This then steepens downwards to a little stream crossing with a steep climb on the other side.  Once at the top of this hill continue along at a steady descent to begin with and this then leads to a steep, stony difficult descent to the footbridge that crosses Badgworthy Water.

You need to cross this river over the bridge and go through the five-bar gate (lateral thinking is required if you want to keep your feet dry!).  Continue down the valley with the river on your right hand side. This trail is made up of a varied terrain with grass tracks, stone slabs and boggy patches. This will bring you to a little stream crossing with a single plank footbridge (if required) though you can ride this river.  On the other side of the stream is yet another five bar gate. After the gate go straight up a grassy track which is the site of a medieval village, after a hundred yards, take the first Right turn.  Follow the Bridleway down Badgworthy Water (Doone Country) famous for the romantic novel Lorna Doone by Richard Doddridge Blackmore.

This trail has some interesting obstacles comprising of drop offs, stone slab crossings and tricky stoney sections. You come to a footbridge across a rocky stream.

There is a lovely water cascade if you have the time to stop and walk a few yards up the river.  Go over the footbridge and continue to follow the main river as the track now starts to widen out into a grassy area.  Continue on through the wooded area down the valley to Cloud Farm ST 793466 where there is a very nice tea room and campsite.

To continue on the ride you need to stay on the left hand side of the river, the track now bears Left slightly uphill away from the river and through a gate.  This leads into a sunken track which takes you slightly uphill and then down a stoney track, which widens and meets the road after a sharp right hand corner.  Go down the road and turn Right at the T junction heading towards Malmsmead ST 792478.

At the bridge and ford there is another good tea stop where they also serve beer.  This is a good place to stop before the long haul back up through Oare Valley.  From Malmsmead go through the ford or over the bridge and follow the road to Oare then Oareford.

When you reach Robbers Bridge ST 820465 go over the bridge and turn Left on to the Bridleway which leads up to the A39 and the Culbone Inn.  You can once again replenish with food and beer.  From here turn Right along the A39 towards Porlock.  When you get to Pittcombe Head ST 842463, where there is an AA box, turn Right onto a Bridleway which is a rough wide track.  At the other end it meets the road, go straight on towards Lucott Cross where the ride started.


Route 3

Start: Lower Hopcott, Minehead   
Finish: Seafront, Minehead
Estimated Distance: 15 miles

All downhills require care

Lower Hopcott, Minehead is on the top road (A39) towards Porlock. Look for a group of flats/houses called The Hopcott ST 964455. Turn left up the hill on a tarmac road, after about two hundred yards you will pass Higher Hopcott House on the right hand side, keep on going all the way up to the end of the tarmac road.  Here the track splits, take the track on the left side following the bridleway (not right on the RUPP). Follow the bridleway up until you fork left to rejoin the RUPP and continue up the RUPP until you reach the crossroads and wooden pole gates. Go right marked bridleway Selworthy/Wootton Courtenay up a wide double track for 3/4 of a mile.  Just before the Trig point go left through a wide gap in the wall marked bridleway on the other side.  Turn right following the top of the hill.  As you begin to descend, fork right down a long, straight and wide bridleway (Roadway Lane) to Wootton Courtenay, which becomes narrow, stony and twisty the further you go down.  Caution this track is frequently used by horses.  You will come out on to the road by the Village Hall.  Go right and then branch off left towards Ford and Brockwell.  Carry on this road to Brockwell Farm where the road then hairpins round a short steep left hand corner.

Look for a bridleway on the right through a small gap in the wall sign posted to Dunkery.  Ride up through the combe and at the crossroads turn right which is sign posted to Webbers Post along Dunster Path.  Continue along, remembering to turn down right towards the end of this track as signed for Webbers Post. When you reach the road, go straight over, keep following signs for Webbers Post/Horner and cross second road.  You are now at Webbers Post which has spectacular views across Cloutsham Ball, Stoke Pero and Horner Wood.  Look for an information board under the trees and follow the sign post for Horner (but before the next down hill there are some large wood carvings over to your right in the wood which are worth a look), after about two hundred yards turn left down Priestway/Stoke Pero bridleway, which is a good down hill with some interesting sections.

At the bottom, go right following the valley down through a ford and then over a wooden bridge after which you need to go slightly left, then right down Horner Combe to a fivebar gate and the road.  If you want a tea stop you can either follow the signs into Porlock where there are many cafes, restaurants and pubs serving good ales and food, or in the spring and summer visit the Horner Tea Rooms.

At the bottom of Horner Combe turn left at the road travelling down over a hump back bridge. Just after West Luccombe Farm look for a wooden footbridge over the river on the right marked Allerford (Piles Mill). Go over the bridge and through the five-bar gate. Follow along lane (don't turn up to Piles Mill). At the other end is the A39 Porlock to Minehead road. Turn right on to the main road, then left for Allerford. Go straight ahead over the Packhorse Bridge and up the hill bearing right.

Follow the road along to a thatched cottage, go straight ahead on to a dirt track, which gradually climbs following signs for Selworthy.  After about 1/2 mile you will go through a farmyard and meet the village road.  Turn up left through the village and on a right hand corner, just before the Church go through the five-bar gate marked Selworthy Beacon. Follow this track up and fork left at the Y junction which dips slightly and takes you over a wide stone bridge.  This track follows a tiny stream on your left as you go up this steep hill. When you meet the road go straight over to the top of Selworthy Beacon. From here you can enjoy the scenic views whilst getting your breath back.  Go left just before the Beacon down a wide track which flattens out.  After about 200 yards turn right along the South West Coast Path following the signs and keeping the sea on your left.

At the next two Y junctions keep left on the South West Coast Path which gradually narrows to a single track leading through a couple of small gates along the way.  When you come to a multi-junction on a grassy patch with a bench, go straight on following the sign for Higher Town this track widens out.  At the end of the wide track take the middle track on to the concrete carpark.  Turn left taking a little single track with a wall on your right hand side.  Follow the wall round to the right at the small crossroads so the sea is once again on your left hand side.  At the next cross roads go left and then right at the T junction.  Carry on down a twisty fast track to a five-bar gate. (Caution this track is frequently used by walkers) Go straight ahead after the gate down a fast winding lane which widens in places, you pass a high wall on your right hand side round a sweeping left hand corner. At the two metal bollards hairpin left back on yourself then hairpin right on to a farm drive.  Carry on along this driveway until it meets the road at which point you need to hairpin left past a pole gate.  Follow the lower track watching out for the off-cambered imbedded stones, which are tricky when wet.  Take the next right turn to bring you out on to the seafront.

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