Yesterday I returned home from a very pleasant few days holiday on Exmoor. The plan was to spend up to a week with my brothers and sister in law in self catering accommodation but, following one of the driest Aprils on record, the weather has decided to turn wet: it is in fact pouring down as I type this! Having said that we made good use of the first part of the week and felt that the effort had been very worthwhile.
Our accommodation was just up the road from Tarr Steps in a small complex belonging to Liscombe Farm. For the price paid the place was very acceptable, one of the bonuses being that there was a very good supply of crockery and cutlery so that we didn't have to wash up after every single meal! Normally one can go direct to Dulverton (about 5 miles I think) to get ones victuals but when we were there that route was closed for repairs so that we had to make a substantial diversion north through Winsford to get to Dulverton.
As children we had three holidays on Exmoor the locality being a firm favourite of my parents. So there was quite a bit of nostalgia. We managed to get a couple of decent length walks during the course of our curtailed stay - the first was following the Barle upstream toward Withypool then ascending eastward onto the top of Winsford Hill to return over moorland and fields. The following day was primarily car based taking in Dunster, Selworthy and Allerford with some gentle strolls at each. Having returned to base via the road just below and to the east of Dunkery Beacon the following day saw us all ascend to the top of the said hill (1705' elevation and the highest spot on the moor). Three of us made the long gradual descent to nearly sea level at Bossington with the other 2 meeting us there with the car. The final complete day closed in weather wise but in the morning we did manage to visit the nearby Wimbleball Lake, a fair sized reservoir which I believe is shared by South West Water and Wessex Water.
It was excellent to hear cuckoos calling and to see a couple of deer that were reasonably close apart from others in the distance. And a good time for bluebells of course. Some meadow saxifrage in the Barle Valley was a good find too because this is apparently rare in Somerset.
Exmoor paths have been well waymarked for many years with unobtrusive wooden finger posts and the whole area is particularly suitable for those wanting to do some good hikes but without much risk of losing their way. And as for variety of scenery this is English landscape par excellence. All in all a very happy return to this piece of countryside.