When staying on Exmoor you can’t miss the abundance of outdoor activities available to suit all ages and abilities. For those that like getting wet, head to the nearby Wimbleball Lake where you can enjoy a range of water-based activities, alternatively you can head to one of the North Devon beaches and try your hand at surfing or paddle-boarding. If you would prefer to keep your feet dry, there are several nearby footpaths to discover, cycle routes and rivers for fishing. Horse riding can also be enjoyed across both Exmoor and along the coast path. When the sun goes down look up and see a truly magnificent starlit sky, just one of the benefits of staying in a designated dark skies reserve.
In the heart of the Exmoor National Park is Wimbleball Lake, a large reservoir managed by South West Lakes and surrounded by nature paths for walkers and cycle trails for off-road cycling. On the lake, there are several water sports available, including kayaking, canoeing, fishing and sailing. There is also a children’s play area, a café and places for climbing or to enjoy a spot of high ropes. There really is an activity for everyone.
Walking across Exmoor is a truly magical experience with short leisurely strolls along rivers to hill climbs that end with spectacular views. There are more than 1,0000 miles of footpaths and bridleway across the National Park, these include some of the UK’s best-known routes such as the South West Coast Path and the Coleridge Way, which both have sections suitable for both novice and experienced walkers. Some of the popular nearby walks include those along the River Barle to Tarr Steps and the five-mile trek across Bye Common and through Winsford.
Please use the Exmoor National Park map www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/enjoying/walking/exmoor-walking-map to get a better understanding of recommended walks in the local area.
Whether you are looking at going road cycling or mountain biking, Exmoor provides the perfect setting. With breath-taking scenery and routes for all abilities, it is no wonder that the National Park attracts hundreds of cyclists every year. There are many national routes to use, such as Sustrans and the West Country Way, or for those with a little more experience why not discover some of the more obscure lanes around Exmoor that have some steep valleys to climb.
If heading off road there are some of the most challenging conditions in the UK to enjoy, however, cyclists are only permitted on designated tracks, so it is worth looking at a map before setting off.
Some of the best fishing can be found on Exmoor with rivers, lake and harbours providing just a few of the venues to cast off. If needed day tickets can be purchased in a few outlets, including tourist offices and shops, alternatively, Wimbleball Lake, Nick Hart Fly Fishing and Exe Valley Fishery can help meet all your fishing needs.
Although stabling and turnout are available at Exmoor Farmhouse you don’t need to bring your own horse to enjoy this wonderful activity. The National Park provides the perfect setting with many stables on Exmoor offering rides suitable for all abilities. Some of the local stables include Exmoor Riding near Porlock, Brendon Manor Riding Stables on the edge of Lynton and Lynmouth and the Exmoor Riding Centre. If you are interested in going horse riding it is worth contacting the stables in advance to discuss your needs.
One of the best ways to see Exmoor is by taking part in one of the safari treks that cover the National Park. These unique guided safaris are a great way to see the local wildlife and scenery as you pass through villages and across open moorland. Some of the companies offering these safaris include Discovery Safaris that uses a 4x4 to take visitors to places not normally seen and Exmoor Wildlife Safaris that is keen to let you see the ponies and deer that call the National Park home.
Many different outdoor pursuits can be experienced when staying on Exmoor, however, it is shooting that is most popular with a number of schools offering lessons and experiences to both novice and experienced shooters. Some of the shoots available include clay pigeon shooting or simulated game shooting. Nearby schools are Shalden Shooting School and the South West Shooting School.
Many of North Devon’s beaches are renowned for their water sports with surfing being the most popular and several offering lessons for beginners, however, in recent years other sports such as sea kayaking and paddle-boarding have seen an increase in popularity. Another sport that has seen an increase in participants is coasteering. The best beaches to discover these sports are Woolacombe, Croyde, Combe Martin and Saunton. If looking to book a lesson in one of the sports, please book in advance to avoid disappointment as they get booked up very quickly especially during the school holidays.
Exmoor National Park was Europe’s first designated Dark Skies Reserve meaning it is the best place to gaze at the stars. Although you can get a great sight of the night sky from Exmoor Farmhouse there are also several recognised sites across the National Park to get the best view, these include Holdstone Hill, County Gate, Webbers Post, Brendon Two Gates, Wimbleball Lake and Anstey Gate. If staying in October check out the Dark Skies Festival, which features talks and night time adventures.