Ilfracombe, England, United Kingdom
Exmoor National Park & Narrow-Gauge Railway
Local Sightseeing, All
Information not currently available.
Approximately 3½ Hours
The stunning northern Exmoor coast consists of majestic cliffs plunging into the Atlantic, interrupted only by lush, wooded valleys that carry rivers from the high moorland down to sheltered fishing coves. Inland, sturdy Exmoor ponies, horned sheep and wild red deer graze on rolling hills. Most of Exmoor area enjoys special protection under National Park status, guaranteeing natural beauty of the highest order with undisturbed tranquility and an abundance of wildlife. The natural and diverse beauty of this predominantly rural region is characterized by charming villages and vast swathes of bare, windswept moorland. Magnificent views stretch for miles.
Today you will travel across heather and grass moors -- part of famed Exmoor National Park, which covers 267 square miles.
Arriving at Woody Bay Station, it's all aboard the Lynton & Barnstaple Narrow-Gauge Railway. The railway, known simply as the L&B, is often described as the premier narrow-gauge railway in England. Part of the railway's appeal lies in its glorious Exmoor setting in the delightful Devon scenery. Opened in 1898 and closed in 1935, the railway was thought to be defunct, but in 1979 a small group of enthusiasts formed an association dedicated to rebuilding as much as possible of the legendary line. The association purchased the picturesque Woody Bay Station, which had survived virtually unaltered since 1898 in a sylvan setting of dreamlike quality. Situated on the open moor alongside the main road, it appears to be stranded in the middle of nowhere. From here, on a clear, sunny day you can enjoy sweeping views down the valley to the sea, five miles away.
The restoration work continues and you will ride in a small, narrow carriage as the diminutive steam locomotive puffs its way along the track to Killington Lane Station. Stretch your legs and take photographs of the train as the locomotive unhooks, runs back on the siding and joins up to the front of the train for the return leg to Woody Bay.
From there it's 40 minutes to Combe Martin -- a small resort town situated in a sheltered valley at the western fringe of Exmoor National Park. The town is located among some of Devon's most outstanding coastal scenery. Enjoy an independent stroll here to take in the spectacular views across the bay to the dramatic headlands beyond, and a peaceful cove with boats moored in the harbor.