Lynton to Dunkery Beacon

The Dunkery Beacon is a wonderful moorland site managed and owned by the National Trust. It has a chain of summits capped with Bronze Age barrows and is Exmoor’s highest point at 1,705ft / 519 metres.  From this point, on the clearest day, you can see across Devon as far as Dartmoor, the Mendips and Quantock Hills, Wales and the Bristol Channel. It’s simply breath-taking.

There are a few ways you can drive to Dunkery Beacon;

1/ A39 via Porlock

    • Leave Highcliffe House and drive through Lynmouth along the A39 towards Minehead.
    • Drive through Porlock on the A39, after leaving Porlock turn right at the sign post to Horner & Luccombe, at the junction turn on to Crook Horn Road.
    • At the fork bare left towards Wheddon Cross / Dunkery Beacon

2/ A39 via Porlock (detour via Brendon & Malmsmead)
This is an alternative route missing out a section on the A39.  This is a rather narrow road driving through Oare, over Robbers Bridge then rejoining the A39 just before Porlock.

    • Leave Highcliffe House and drive through Lynmouth along the A39 towards Minehead.
    • After leaving Countisbury, take the right turn to Brendon and follow signs for Malmsmead (on Leeford Lane) towards Oare.
    • When arriving in Malmsmead you will see both a bridge and ford in front of you.  On the left is a delightful tea shop with pretty gardens by the river.  Drive through the ford, or over the bridge (depending on the depth of the river).
    • Continue driving along Hookway Hill crossing over Robbers Bridge.  This is a cute spot to stop and take photos.  Robbers Bridge is an old masonry arch bridge, with its name taken from legends of bandits and features in Lorna Doone.
    • Continue along Hookway Hill until it joins the A39, then continue as option 1 to Dunkery Beacon.

3/ B3223/B3224 via Simonsbath, through Exford to Wheddon Cross

    • Leave Highcliffe House and take the main B3234 to Barnstaple, driving through Lynbridge and Barbook.
    • When you reach the T-junction where the B3243 joins the A39, turn left towards Simonsbath.  Check if you need fuel, this will be the last fuel station you will see for a while.

As an alternative you could drive to Lynmouth and take Watersmeet Road, which is the A39 towards Hillsford Bridge.  Note that if you take this direction you would miss the petrol station.

    • Follow the A39 towards Hillsford Bridge, then cross the bridge onto the B3223 towards Simonsbath.
    • Drive along the B3223 through this beautiful part of the moor until you reach Simonsbath.
    • Stay on the B3223 following signs to Exford taking the A3224.
    • Drive through Exford towards Wheddon Cross.
    • Before you reach Wheddon Cross you will arrive at a junction signposted for Dunkery Beacon / Luccombe.  Note that this turn is a very hard left.
    • Follow the road until you see the official Dunkery Beacon Parking site.  If you continue driving, you will see other parking on the right hand side further up the hill.  If you continue on this road even further you will driver through Horner towards Porlock.

Walking to the Beacon

Even though this is a scenic drive you may wish to stretch your legs.  Around Dunkery Beacon there are various pull-ins, and a main car park on the road from Wheddon Cross.  There are several trails from the car park and pull-ins that lead you to the beacon – all really well signposted.   The easier walk is from the main car park.

**Please note that some of roads to and from this location are rather narrow.

Return to Highcliffe via Exford

You could return the same way you arrived at Dunkery Beacon via Exford towards Simonsbath.  You could consider stopping in Exford for drinks or food, rather than Dulverton, it’s a lovely location.

Return to Highcliffe House via A39

You could continue driving past Dunkery Beacon following signs to Porlock.  There are some lovely places to eat and drink in Porlock, and some great little shops. Whilst in Porlock you could consider visiting Porlock Weir, a quaint fishing village on the waters edge.

From Porlock you would take the A39 following signs to Lynmouth & Lynton. This would be the swiftest route.

Return to Highcliffe House via Malmsmead

  • From Mill Lane, turn left on to the A39 and head towards Lynmouth.
  • Take the next available left turn, on to Hookway Hill, this is a narrower lane than the A39, so take car.
  • Continue driving along Hookway Hill crossing over Robbers Bridge.  This is a cute spot to stop and take photos.  Robbers Bridge is an old masonry arch bridge, with its name taken from legends of bandits and features in Lorna Doone.
  • Keep driving on, through Oare and on to Malmsmead.
  • On arriving in Malmsmead you will see both a bridge and ford in front of you.  On the right after the bridge/ford is a delightful tea shop with pretty gardens by the river.  Drive through the ford, or over the bridge (depending on the depth of the river).
  • At this point, either,
    • A/ Follow the road, this is now Leeford Lane and will take you through to Brendon.
    • B/ Turn left on to Post Lane, please note that although pretty this road is rather narrow.  Take the next available right turn, towards Brendon, Lynmouth & Lynton.

Once in Brendon you can follow any of the signs back to A39, Lynmouth or Lynton.

If you choose to carry on straight, through Rockford, you will pass two pubs 1) Staghunters and 2) Rockford Inn, both great for food and drinks.

Continuing on through Rockford will bring you back to Lynmouth via Watersmeet or Lynton via Barbook, at Hillsford Bridge.

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