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Porlock to Lynmouth Walk

We awoke fully rested in the morning and set off early through the woods, past deer and rabbits, and along the shingle beach of Porlock Bay. The village of Porlock Weir was very pretty, with it's cottages by the sea and a glassblower making vases in a shed on the front whilst listening to trance music. The path returned to the wood, climbed another hill, and crossed a private toll road (one pound per car to be paid at the old gatehouse) into Yearnor Wood. A little further on we came to Culbone Church, which, nestled in the forest, is in the Domesday Book and the Guinness Book of Records as the smallest church in England.

Soon after we came to another fork in the path, and mistakenly, from what we later heard, opted for the more inland route rather than the 'permissable' path which ran closer to the coastline and is, allegedly, more pleasant. We spent some time walking along farm tracks, through farmland, and fields with newly born lambs - one of which could only have been half an hour old, as the path meandered up and down the hills.

Finally, it joined onto the main road at the international border between Somerset and Devon, and there in front of us was the Exmoor Park visitors centre selling cold drinks and ice cream. We hurried towards it, but unfortunately they saw us coming, quickly turned the sign to closed, and locked the door. Disappointed and pissed off at them keeping us away from the ice cream, we had no other choice but to return to the forest and hope that someone from Minehead would come along and exact revenge on the building.

The path, however, immediately improved, and wound it's way through lovely woods and along the edge of cliffs, high above the sea. We passed a few other people, which was a novelty, then sat down and had our sandwiches in the sun. We were beginning to feel tired and sore, but knowing it wasn't far to Lynmouth where we planned to finish for the day, we pressed on.

The path eventually re-appeared from the woods, we followed a route suitable for mountain goats around Foreland Point lighthouse, and then Lynmouth came into view. We climbed over one more hilltop then descended into its river valley and entered the town from there. Lynmouth became famous after 90 million tons of water cascaded down it's valley in 1952, killing 35 people. Only a few years ago it came out that the British government had secretly been carrying out rain-making experiments (BBC news) in the area days before.

Nevertheless, it was good to be there, and we passed a sign extoling that the cliffs we had just walked over were the highest in Britain. We bought ourselves an ice cream, which, at 4.20 for two cones, obviously had to be the most expensive ice cream in Britain as well. I did my best to extract that full value of pleasure from mine and then the bus appeared and we stumbled on board, tired and sore.

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