An A39 road trip taking in some of the most beautiful views in Exmoor, the Countisbury to Valley of Rocks walk is breathtaking.
Sheep, ponies, and birds of prey – all from your car as you drive the A39
- Far-reaching coastal views to Lynton and Lynmouth
- Goats clinging onto the crags and crevices
Getting there is part of the beauty
The 16 mile drive from Minehead to Countisbury along the A39 is a beautiful journey. Watch the landscape reshape and reform. Eventually it will appear as if the sky, sea, and land have merged. As such, be sure to take your time and stop off at the viewing points to breathe in the views.
Your starting point: the Barna Barrow NT car park
You’re heading for the Barna Barrow NT car park, which will be signposted on the left before the cattle grid as you enter the area called Countisbury. Park up and follow the footpath towards the sea in the direction of Lynmouth. This will take you past some far-reaching, spectacular coastal views on the South West Coastal Path.
Picturesque views are worthy of a cover page
The vistas here are absolutely stunning. In fact, they are so glorious that Julia Amies-Green’s photograph of this route graces the front cover of our ‘Little Book of Walks’. As a result of stretching your legs and breathing all that fresh air, you might want to venture into the famous Blue Ball Inn. Here you will find a refreshing pint or meal. However, be careful crossing the road!
Part II – Getting to the Valley of Rocks carpark
Back in your car, and continuing along the A39 towards Lynton, you will come to signs for the awe-inspiring Valley of Rocks. Follow those, rather than heading into Lynmouth. Hug the increasingly steep cliff as you rise uphill and drop gears to do it. You’ll reach one of the most eye-watering right turns you’ve ever seen. Eventually, as the land flattens out into the hit the town, you’ll see signs out the other side to the Valley and its car park.
Climbing mountain goats
Part of the South West Coastal Path, this area is truly a sight to behold, with a giant prehistoric landscape. There are no dinosaurs here. However, you will certainly notice the herd of goats who call this place home. They seem to egg each other on to take ever-more crazy routes around the crags, caves and crevices. Nonetheless, by some miracle they manage to hang on. We strongly advise against rock climbing. Leave that to the goats – and just enjoy the scenery safely.
The Countisbury and the Valley of Rocks walk is just one of the local adventures available here. Find more information, maps, and full directions in our Little Book of Walks, which is available in selected retailers in Exmoor. Similarly, find a copy in your Exmoor Character Cottage.