Tourism and Tours

Exmoor National Park | A place to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life

A distinctive landscape

Exmoor is a unique and very special place – a distinctive landscape shaped by generations of people who have farmed and managed the environment for thousands of years. Today it is celebrated and enjoyed for its wonderful variety of heather and grass moors, its ancient woodlands and forests, picturesque villages, dramatic coastline, magnificent herds of Red deer and native ponies, and at night the magic of its dark skies. We passionately want to see a healthy and beautiful environment thriving alongside communities and tourism. We also want to see more people from all walks of life visiting and enjoying Exmoor, and future generations continuing to be inspired by its extraordinary beauty, wildlife and history. None of this is achievable without an unwavering commitment to tackling climate change and biodiversity loss. Which is why, as part of a family of 15 National Parks encompassing some of the country’s most precious natural resources, we’re dedicated to being part of the solution and to leaving our environment in a better state than we found it for future generations.

Exmoor is loosely defined as an area of hilly open moorland in west Somerset and north Devon in South West England. It is named after the River Exe, the source of which is situated in the centre of the area, two miles north-west of Simonsbath.

Address: United Kingdom
Phone: +44 1398 323665
Area: 692 km²
Established: 1954

Where the moor meets the sea

Towering sea cliffs, high moors, tumbling streams and deep valleys that shelter our unique Atlantic Rain forest. On Exmoor it is still possible to find tranquillity and peace as well as rediscover your sense of adventure; to catch a glimpse of wild red deer, be amazed by dark skies full of stars and explore quaint villages full of character and charm.

Key activities at Exmoor National Park

Walking

Exmoor’s 1000km of rights of way makes for a true walker’s paradise, providing spectacular access to the rugged heritage coastline amid high open moorland, wooded combes and tumbling streams. It’s a landscape that has inspired generations of poets, artists and writers.

South West Coast Path

Exmoor’s 60km coastline forms the first stage of the South West Coastal Path – the UK’s longest National Trail. Sometimes called the ‘Wilderness Coast’, the route journeys along high sea cliffs, remote moors, steep-sided gorges and isolated beaches.

Stargazing

As Europe’s first International Dark Sky Reserve, Exmoor is one of the best places in the country for stargazing. On a clear night the Milky Way, shooting stars and thousands of glittering stars and constellations are clearly visible with the naked eye. The annual Exmoor Dark Skies Festival in October is an ideal time to experience them.

Special qualities

What makes Exmoor special?

The story of Exmoor begins millions of years ago with the movement of tectonic plates. From that erupted the genesis of the landscape we see today: raw material that was shaped and reshaped by geological and geomorphological processes, as well as human intervention.

It’s easy to forget that Exmoor is in no small part an environment made by people. But millennia of farming, mining, fuel-making, settlement, defence and recreation have left their mark, forming the unique landscape that is now Exmoor National Park.

At just 693 square kilometres, Exmoor is one of the UK’s smallest National Parks. But what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in beauty and variety, thanks to spectacular coastline, expansive moorland, steep wooded valleys with fast flowing rivers and streams, and rolling farmland.

The value of Exmoor is not only aesthetic. From a conservation point of view, the moorlands and oak woodlands are designated internationally for the habitats and species they support. And our archaeological and cultural heritage is remarkable: new sites and discoveries are frequent in the National Park, and we enjoy a rich tradition of local art, literature, music and food.

Then there are the night skies, which really are out of this world. We’re officially an International Dark Sky Reserve, thanks to the wondrous starry roof that’s visible when the sun goes down.

Did you know?

Exmoor has the highest coastline on the British mainland. It reaches a height of 314 metres above sea level.

Getting to Exmoor National Park

First Great Western and Cross Country rail services from London and the Midlands serve both Taunton and Tiverton Parkway stations, around a 60-minute bus journey from the National Park. The Tarka line connects Exeter to Barnstaple – a 30 minute bus ride from Exmoor.

Getting around Exmoor National Park

A number of different bus routes service the area. The nearest mainline rail stations are just outside the National Park in Taunton and Tiverton Parkway. For walkers, around 1000km of Rights of Way traverse Exmoor. The West Country Way – a national cycle route – crosses the moor and provides links with rail stations at Barnstaple, Tiverton Parkway and Taunton.

A number of different bus routes service the area. The nearest mainline rail stations are just outside the National Park in Taunton and Tiverton Parkway. For walkers, around 1000km of Rights of Way traverse Exmoor. The West Country Way – a national cycle route – crosses the moor and provides links with rail stations at Barnstaple, Tiverton Parkway and Taunton.

Summer in Exmoor National Park

Summer is such a beautiful season here in Exmoor and a wonderful time to be getting out and exploring the spectacular moorland and dramatic coastline. There are lots of events going on and plenty of activities to get involved in. Visit fabulous farmers markets packed with lots of delicious local produce. Try a new activity on the water or hire an e-bike to explore on land.

Who will you be bringing?

From towering cliffs and rocky beaches to soft heather-clad hills, there’s something for everyone on Exmoor.

Food and Drink

There is an old proverb that says “Laughter is brightest where food is best” which probably explains the happiness and cheer found across Exmoor!

Our foodie credentials are getting noticed and it’s no surprise. Across the area we have lots of incredible local producers making a variety of food and drink products such as small batch handcrafted gins, handmade marshmallows using fruits grown on Exmoor National Park, and preserves such as the famous Whortleberry jam found as part of an Exmoor cream tea!

If you enjoy eating out you’re spoilt for choice. Exmoor, the Quantock Hills, West Somerset and North Devon boost an abundance of fantastic restaurants, pubs, cafes and tea rooms. Many of the eateries source ingredients using local suppliers where possible and serve or stock produce made locally.

Things To Do Near Wheddon Cross

Wheddon Cross is a thriving, friendly rural community with a cattle market, playing field that has an all-weather tennis / netball / basketball court, and a children’s play area. In the older part of the village (Cutcombe) are the church and school. The Coleridge Way walk passes through Wheddon Cross.

The village is an excellent base to explore Exmoor from on foot or bike, with both circular and linear trails to discover the moors from. Local events include the Snowdrop Valley in February, the Cutcome Horse Show and Gymkhana in June, and the Village Fete in August.