I didn’t think it had been that long since I last visited Lynmouth, as we walked around the town, but checking my photographs (which is always a good indicator of when things happened for me) I realised that the last time we had visited Lynmouth was in 2011. Was it really nine years ago we had driven along the A39 along the coast to this pretty North Devon town? I felt we had been there more recently.
So it was a sunny Sunday in September when we thought it would be nice to visit Lynton and Lynmouth again. Once we were all ready we set off, Waze gave us directions via Tiverton and then up the A361, which in theory, though longer in distance, would be quicker than travelling along the A39. I am not quite sure it was. However I thought I would give this route a chance and it would be different. If we didn’t like it, I would drive back along the A39 past Minehead (which in the end is exactly what we did do). Driving this route I was reminded of our journey home once from the Barnstaple area many years ago where we got delayed by some trucks loaded with the huge blades of a wind turbine. The turbines always look small, but that’s because they are far away. Driving next to one reminds you how big these things are.
It wasn’t too long before we were directed by Waze off the A361 and onto the A399 and we headed towards Lynmouth.
What was nice, was as we passed Woody Bay Station we saw the Lynton & Barnstaple steam train. I had read about how the heritage railway now had a replica of the trains that use to run there in the 1920s before it closed and along with original coaches, looked very much the way it did when it was operating as a commercial railway. I would certainly like to visit there again in the future. Though we hadn’t been to Lynmouth since 2011, we had been to Woody Bay in 2014, but even that doesn’t feel like six years ago!
The road into Lynmouth is quite steep and narrow, but with care we got through the traffic and parked cars. Arriving at around lunchtime it was a little challenging to find somewhere to park, as the car park was not only quite full, but our car is quite big and the spaces didn’t seem big enough. We eventually found a space right at the end of the car park (typical).
You could tell how thing have changed since we last came, as I paid for our parking using an app on the phone! We grabbed our packed lunch and headed to the beach.
It was slightly windy and shady, but as we sat the wind calmed down and it got sunnier. The beach is not sand, not even pebbles, but appears to be made up of large stones and rocks. Not the most comfortable beach I have sat on, but sit we did have eat.
We had a lovely picnic lunch on the beach. As our children are gluten-free so though the idea of fish and chips on the beach was appealing, this wasn’t going to happen. After lunch, we did some exploring of the beach, looking in rock pools and I built a stone tower (as one does).
Afterwards I took all the stuff back to the car, the car park was now full and it was for those wanting to park, a matter of waiting until a car left, before you could find a space.
After spending a little time finding each other again, we explored the town of Lynmouth.
There is a small tidal harbour and various boats were sitting on the mud.
We bought some fudge and was tempted by a few things in some of the other shops. The place was quite crowded but the shops were restricting access and people were wearing their masks in the shops.
As we walked down the shopping street it felt smaller than we remembered. I was also reminded of the terrible flooding that had swept through the town in 1952 with marks in the shops indicating the height of the floodwater and mud.
We had been before, but this time we walked further into the town we crossed the East Lyn River Bridge and looked up to Glen Lyn Gorge.
I thought the combination of rushing water, rocks, lush foliage and trees was really impressive. It looked like something out of Jurassic Park, I did think I might see a dinosaur coming through the mist from the fountains of water from the Glen Lyn Gorge attraction.
We then walked back and up by the West Lyn River.
We hadn’t done this before, and in the sun it was lovely to walk along the riverbanks and admire the scenery.
I did think that it might be nice on another day to walk further up West Lyn River.
There are quite a few hotels and guest houses along the river.
I did think it might be nice to come and stay for the weekend, explore more of Lynmouth and even head up to Lynton on the top of the hill.
I don’t think I had seen Lynmouth from the other side of the harbour and it was interesting to see how different it looked.
We walked pass the boats of the yacht club, though some looked a little unloved and tired.
The cliff funicular railway was open and operating, but there was a bit of a queue. After we had walked around Lynmouth, we realised we didn’t really have the time to both queue and ride the railway to the top, and then explore Lynton. So we decided to leave that to a future visit to the town.
We did a little more exploring of the harbourside, before buying a tea towel and going back to the beach.
Our children had a great time playing on the beach, but soon our parking ran out and we headed back to the car to drive home.
This time I decided to go the way I knew, which was to drive to A39 along the coast, past Minehead and then join the M5 at Bridgwater.
This is a beautifully scenic route, with the North Devon (which becomes North Somerset) coastline providing magnificent views of both the Bristol Channel and Exmoor.
Overall we had a lovely day and hopefully we won’t leave it another nine years before we go again.