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Valley of the Rocks

valley of the rocks

Discover Dramatic Landscapes at the Valley of the Rocks

On the North Devon coast between Lynton and Lee Bay, the Valley of the Rocks delivers one of Britain’s most ruggedly spectacular landscapes where sheer cliff faces loom over grazing goats, eye-catching rock formations shape the valley floor, and panoramic vistas stretch out over the Bristol Channel beyond.

This site poetically dubbed “The Valley of the Savage Forms” by Coleridge invites you to take cliff walks straight from Lynton, climb to the rocky seaside outcrops, search for feral goats and admire the wilderness that once held smuggler secrets. Here’s everything you need to make the most of its wild beauty.

valley of the rocks

Getting There

The Valley of the Rocks is located 1 mile north west of the village of Lynton in North Devon. It sits just off the A39 between Lynton and Ilfracombe with well-posted entrances. There’s a large pay and display car park beside the valley for drivers.

By Car

It’s very easy to reach by car – simply leave the A39 at the signposted Lynton exit and follow tree-lined country lanes for 1 mile to the Valley of the Rocks car park and information centre.

On Foot

Alternatively, take a bracing walk incorporating the dramatic coastal paths into the Valley of the Rocks from Lynton (1 mile) or Lee Bay (2 miles).

Opening Times and Access

The Valley of the Rocks is open to wander daily throughout daylight hours. As a natural landscape, entry is free with donations welcomed. The seasonal cafe and information centre open from 10am to 4 or 5pm depending on the season.

Facilities like the cafe and toilets may close in winter – visit during daylight while weather permits. Livestock graze year-round so take care with dogs.

Valley of the Rocks Walk

The route begins in the charming village of Lynton, leading hikers along well-maintained paths that gradually ascend towards the valley. The terrain is diverse, ranging from meandering trails through lush woodlands to more challenging sections that navigate rocky outcrops and undulating hills.

As walkers approach the Valley of the Rocks, the landscape transforms into a geological wonder, featuring towering cliffs and colossal rock formations. The path winds its way between these ancient rocks, creating a experience that showcases the forces of nature at play over millions of years. The juxtaposition of the rugged terrain against the backdrop of the Bristol Channel adds an extra layer of allure to the journey.

One of the highlights of the walk is the panoramic views that unfold along the route. From elevated vantage points, walkers are treated to sweeping vistas of the North Devon coastline, with the vast expanse of the sea stretching out to the horizon. The contrast between the azure waters and the weathered cliffs creates a visual spectacle that is truly awe-inspiring.

The Valley of the Rocks walk not only provides a physical challenge but also invites contemplation of the natural beauty and geological marvels that shape this enchanting part of North Devon. With each step, hikers are rewarded with a tapestry of landscapes, making it a memorable and enriching experience for nature enthusiasts and avid walkers alike.

Goat Spotting

One of the joys of exploring the Valley of the Rocks is spying the feral goats that roam the rugged cliffs and hillsides. Believed to be ancestors of goats introduced in the 1800s, they are now managed by the National Trust providing a link to the valley’s pastoral heritage.

Kids will love spotting the shaggy white goats against the craggy cliffs. They are surprisingly agile clambering the near-vertical slopes. Early morning and late afternoon are often best times for sightings when the goats are more active.


Top Vantage Points

Several viewpoints around the valley give different atmospheric perspectives:

  • Ruggedalex Point – Peer down the vertigo-inducing sheer cliffs to the shoreline 100 metres below.
  • Castle Rock – This off shore tower rising from the ocean provides one of the valley’s most timeless sights.
  • Goat Castle – Climb the headland approach path for wonderful coastal panoramas towards Culbone Hill and Foreland Point stretching for miles.
  • Lee Abbey – At the valley’s far end, views open to the ocean over Wringcliff Bay’s long sandy beach.

Bring binoculars to scour the heather-covered hillsides for goats and admire the ocean vistas in the distance.

goat at valley of the rocks

Rock Formations

Jurrasic rock debris scattered across the valley floor provides fascinating formations to discover:

  • Devil’s Cheesewring – Piled fin-like stone layers resembling a cheesewring. Kids can climb it with care under supervision.
  • The King and Queen – Two impressive weathered stacks tilting at impossible angles.
  • Mother Melldrum’s Cave – A hollowed rock opening said to be home to the valley’s white witch.

Let the fantastic rock shapes spark imaginations about magic, mythology and the geological forces that created this landscape.

Smugglers and Contraband

With its remoteness and secretive caverns, the valley made an ideal spot for smugglers bringing contraband from the coves along this coastline. Learn about its smuggling past through:

  • The Silent Coast Exhibition – Uncovers tales of French brandy and tobacco landings.
  • Mother Melldrum’s Cave – Linked to smugglers through local folklore.
  • Detached rocks – Provided lookout points to watch for customs ships.

Children love imagining themselves as daring smugglers hiding kegs along the valley’s hidden trails and tunnels while avoiding the excise men.

valley of the rocks walk

Visitor Facilities

The seasonal Old Station Cafe within a converted Victorian train waiting room provides welcome refreshments after exploring the fresh coastal air. Housed in a traditional railway carriage, the servery sells hot food, baked treats, ice cream and drinks.

With washrooms, information panels and parking on site, the facilities meet family needs. Pushchair friendly paths allow access, although some rocky and steep areas require care.

From Amory to Lorna Doone, the Valley of the Rock’s wild cliffs, feral goats and smugglers coves have been inspiring adventurers and authors for centuries. Experience the magic and mystique up close.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the Valley of the Rocks walk? – It is 3.5 miles long

Is the walk accessible for wheelchair users? – It is very steep in places, but the path is well maintained and passable for wheelchairs and prams

Is it a suitable walk for dogs? – There are grazing sheep and goats on parts of the walk, so dogs should remain on a lead in these when you see livestok. The path gets a little thin in places with a steep drop, so be aware of keeping your dog under control in these parts.

rugged jack

Nearby Attractions

There are many great places to visit near the Valley of the Rocks including:

  • Exmoor Zoo – Family friendly zoo focused on wildlife conservation. Get close to endangered species like jaguars, snow leopards and Sun bears.
  • Big Sheep – Popular family attraction with shows, exhibits and sheep races. Opportunity to walk with alpacas and feed lambs.
  • Doone Valley – Picturesque walks in North Devon. Imagine the adventures and romance of Lorna Doone
  • Lynton and Lynmouth – Picturesque twin Exmoor coastal towns connected by a cliff railway. Lynton perched on cliffs, Lynmouth beside the sea.
  • Porlock Weir – Quaint Exmoor coastal village with pubs, tearooms and galleries nestled on the shore. Starting point for scenic coastal walks.
  • Lee Bay and Lee Abbey – Tranquil tiny Exmoor cove perfect for swimming and rockpooling. Nearby medieval abbey and tea gardens.
  • Dunster Working Watermill – Historic working mill powered by the River Avill where you can see the original machinery in action. Local produce shop.
  • Exmoor National Park – Stunning moorland, woodlands and heritage coast offering scenic hikes, cycling, horseriding and wildlife spotting.

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