Exmoor National Park in the north of Somerset and stretching into north Devon is is a wild yet beautiful location that stretches from the glorious north Somerset coast inland to romantic moorland , the setting for Lorna Doone. As well as the many interesting villages in and around the moors visitors often base their stay to this part of the country in the seaside locations of Lynton in north Devon where the moors principal river reaches the sea and the fun coastal resort of Minehead in north Somerset to enjoy the very best of coast and countryside.
Dunster, one of England's most scenic villages, was once renowned as a port and for its woollen industry. From its hilltop position the majestic Dunster Castle towers above the village and dates back to c.1066, it was here that the Luttrell family once ruled. Variety is part of Dunster's charm and there is a wealth of history to unfold. You will find the yarn market built by George Luttrell in 1609; St George's Church with its magnificent rood screen; picturesque cottages; and a nunnery, which is over 550 years old. There are ancient buildings, the watermill, Packhorse Bridge and the Iron Age remains of Bat's Castle.
Dunster has a number of festivals during the year, the Village Festival takes place on Spring Bank Holiday, the Country Fair in July, and Dunster Show and the Flower Festival are held in August. The village has a good range of accommodation, from luxury hotels to cosy B & B's, and with its variety of shops, pubs and restaurants it really does have a lot to offer.
Green hills close Porlock in on three sides with the sea on the other. Approximately a mile to the west of Porlock you will find Porlock Wier and its tiny harbour, which occupies the last sheltered low ground before the county boundary with Devon. Two miles from the harbour is the unique 4.2-mile Toll Road, which rises from the edge of Porlock up onto Exmoor. This scenic road is used as a special stage for rallying, giving Porlock its own place in motor sport history. Hosting an invitation Hill Climb every year, raising money for charity, the hill is as steep as 1 in 4 in some places so care must be taken when travelling it.
The falling cliffs and the high tides (with a height difference of as much as 60 feet) have assisted in moulding one of the most striking features of Porlock, its natural 6,000-year-old shingle ridge. Geologists believe it was formed by the rise in sea levels at the end of the last ice age.
A very popular way to see Porlock and the surrounding moorland is from horseback and there are plenty of riding schools and farms that can arrange this. But if you don't ride, 'shanks's pony' - walking is an ideal way.
Porlock has steep, winding streets full of interesting character shops, thatched cottages made from local stone and attractive floral displays. Also worth a visit is the fascinating 13th century church.
Use the map of Exmoor below to zoom in or out to view directions or click the satellite button for an aerial view. For a larger version of this Exmoor map Click Here.