Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Exploring Exmoor

The second day of our trip down south was another long day of driving as we made our way through the Exmoor National Park. I am constantly amazed at how quickly the scenery changes in such a short span. Exmoor was so dramatic, with its sheer cliffs, rocky beaches and ponies!

Porlock Weir

Portlock Weir had some really cool views, but my favorite part was the "toll road" right outside the city. You pull up to a gate, get out of your car to open the gate, then deposit two pounds into the hole in the door. The sign read: "Place toll through this slot. Please only ring the bell if change is required. Thank you."

It was so weird, but totally worth it. The road was amazing! We twisted, turned and wound our way through the woods, eventually joining the main road heading to Lynmouth. Nestled in the Valley of the Rocks, the Victorians called Lynmouth "Little Switzerland." We didn't spend a lot of time here, but it was pretty.

A few minutes outside of Lynmouth is a National Trust site called Watersmeet. We stopped there because we saw the sign for its cafe. Now, I've eaten a lot of scones in my time, but this scone was one of the best. What made it so good? The whortleberry jam! I'd never heard of whortleberries before, but they're a wild bilberry (similar to a blueberry) that grows in Exmoor. I could eat a vat full of this stuff. It was sweet and fruity, with whole chunks of whortleberry. YUM!


On our second toll road of the day we finally saw the famous Exmoor ponies! This unique breed, now listed as an endangered species, has been in Exmoor since 50,000 BCE!!! They were hanging out in a parking lot and were just as interested in us as we are in them.

The views down to our hotel in Ilfracombe were spectacular, even if the weather wasn't.

Read about our other stops in south England:
Waterfalls and Castles
Cruising Around Cornwall
Final Days Down South

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