Heddon Valley – Exmoor National Park
Address: The National Trust, Heddon Valley, Jose's Ln, Barnstaple EX31 4PY
Exmoor is known for its natural beauty and relaxing atmosphere. There are so many ways to enjoy the area, from walking in the Country’s longest stretch of woodland where you can see the tallest tree in England or climbing the highest cliffs in England to look out at spectacular views from the dramatic coastlines.
At the end of our stay at the lovely Kerswell Farm, we made our way to Exmoor to enjoy a dog walk along the Heddon Valley to Woody Bay route. As soon as we drove past the welcome sign into Exmoor National park we knew our walk would be one to remember. Yianni and Yoko woke up and tails began to wag at the views of green fields and new smells coming in through the window – they always know when they are on their way to their dog walks.
The roads leading to the coast were small and peaceful, with small streams, hills and fields running past them. Roads that make you turn off the radio, roll down the window and enjoy driving. If you are using your phone sat navigation, be aware that phone signal is near non-existent!
Once we arrived at our walking starting point, we were met with so many other dog walkers ready to start their adventure of the area. As we got ourselves together, Yianni and Yoko enjoyed the attention from passers-by and were surprised to meet so many international visitors which had come on holiday in the UK to visit Exmoor National Park.
For our dog walk we printed a walking map from the National Trust website. It was handy to have as the route is not well sign posted. Just would like to say that if you do follow the map, pay attention to the numbers, as during our walk we thought ‘it is a circle route so it doesn’t matter which way we go’ WRONG! Starting backwards on the numbers results in the walk becoming extremely challenging instead of just challenging.
Before we commenced on our set dog walking route, we took an accidental detour down to Heddon’s Mouth beach and we were glad we did. The path leads you through the river valley where you can see the gentle flowing river that is making its way to the sea. Yianni and Yoko had fun along the way, meeting new friends and investigating the area.
The beach entrance was beautiful, the river that had been flowing peacefully beside us was now rushing down through large rocks to meet the sea and the two cliffs which had kept you in, end and expose you into a wide open space giving you the view of the open sea.
We sat and watched as Yianni and Yoko had a blast climbing the larger rocks that stood at the water’s edge and holding their heads up to inhale the sea smells in the air.
From here we made our way to start our original walking route. Our route path lead us up the side of the cliff we had just walked to get to the beach. The pathway started wide and became slightly narrow as we reached the top. As we got higher we secured Yianni & Yoko on their leads. Also the path was embedded into the cliff, so it wasn’t a vertical drop at the side of the pathway.
Surprisingly I am scared of heights! I bet your asking ‘why would you walk up a cliff?’ I asked myself that several times during the walk, but I try to not let my fear stop me from experiencing things in life. I had a few wobbles and had to sit to hug the floor a few times and I could not look out at the views for longer than 2 seconds without visions of dying, but this dog walking area was worth it.
When we reached the top of the cliff path we were expecting a large open space, but instead we found it to be the corner of the cliff and a very small area of land. We sat for a short while for a drink and then continued to walk the other side of the cliff.
As we walked the path, birds flew past us and the sound and smell of the sea surrounded us. It was a lengthy walk along but the views and experience were incredible.
Just before the end of the cliff walk we came to a wonderful waterfall that was flowing down the cliff, making its way to the sea. Yianni and Yoko tried to make a quick pass of it when they felt splashes of water rebounding from the rocks.
Out of the cliff’s edge we walked a road that lead us around and back to a much wider path of the cliff. Here Yianni & Yoko were able to enjoy off lead walking and we could stop and take in much more of the view. This path was made up with beautiful trees and flowers that added even more beauty to the area.
On the descent the path leads you away from the sea views and to views of greenery. This area of the walk was more populated that our first part.
Once we had finished our exciting dog walk, we decided to stop for some food at the perfectly positioned pub at the end of our route. There is one thing for certain; walking for 4 hours will give you an appetite and all of the calories I burnt were put back on with the delicious high calorie meal!
To end we would like to sum up what this walk will offer you in 3 words – Unforgettable, Beauty and Adventure.
Love from the Aurora Pets Team x