Lynton to Ilfracombe

On this occasion Ilfracombe isn’t necessarily the destination, it’s just a great drive. This drive hugs the coast, as much as possible, and offers some incredible scenery. It’s worth mentioning that some of the roads, in South West tradition, are very narrow and some rather hair-raising!

Highcliffe to Ilfracombe along the old coast road via Combe Martin, through Trentishoe

This map belongs to Google Maps.

  1. Leave Highcliffe House and drive along Lee Road with the Lynton Town Hall on your right.
  2. When you reach the left turn for Barnstaple/Ilfracombe ignore it and carry on straight. This will take you via Longmead through the Valley of Rocks.Note that £2 (each way) will be required for the toll when passing through the Lee Abbey estate.
  3. Continue driving through the Valley of Rocks heading towards Hunter’s Inn. This is a narrow, and in some places quite rickety, old road, but offers some great views as it winds through ancient coastal woodland.You will see various signposts showing various routes to Hunter’s Inn – any route is fine, they all bring you to the same place.

You will pass through: Woody Bay, Martinhoe then down into the Heddon Valley. There’s also a lovely short walk at the Heddon Valley along the River Heddon to Heddon’s Mouth.
  4. When you arrive at the Hunter’s Inn, take the road on the left of the Inn (Joses Lane), signposted to Trentishoe. Stick to the main road here, don’t be tempted to take the road marked unsuitable for vehicles – it really is unsuitable!
  5. Continue driving along Trentishoe Lane, it’s a beautiful stretch of road with views of Holdstone Down and the Bristol Channel to your right.  There’s a parking place on the right as you hug the coast road around Holdstone Down and there are some spectacular views from this point.
  6. Keep driving until you reach the next main junction, then take a left turn on to Vellacott Lane (which continues as Shute Lane as you near Combe Martin). 

You will see a decorative sign for Combe Martin on the left and a green barn on the right. The is the border road of the Exmoor National Park.
  7. Keep driving until you reach Combe Martin. Note that the road narrows considerably as you descend into the Combe Martin valley, but the ahead views are divine.
  8. As you reach the end of Shute Lane, turn right on to the A399, which is the main road through Combe Martin to Ilfracombe.Things to do in Combe Martin.

    Beach and/or water sports. The beach is larger than you may think, reaching far around the headland towards Sandy Bay. Access to the full beach is determined by the tide, so please be aware.

    Rock Pools. To the right of the main beach is a concrete concourse that allows you walk over the rock pools and rock striations. It’s a short walk, and can be very slippery, but it is rather fascinating.Hangman Cliffs. If you’re in the mood for a long, steep walk then consider walking along the coastal path towards the east, as you face the Bristol Channel. Once out of Combe Martin you will find yourself on the steepest of cliffs; Little Hangman and Great Hangman. At 800ft the Great Hangman is one of the tallest cliffs in the UK.

  9. Continue on the A399 until you reach Ilfracombe to conclude your drive. 

If you would like to enjoy a coastal walk in this area please ask us for a local map to guide you.

To return to Highcliffe House

Either return the way you came along the old coast road, or take the A399 back and following signs for Lynton, it’s much quicker.  It’s very well sign posted.


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