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Dunkery Beacon and Porlock

Date & start time: Thursday 30th September 2010.

Location of Start :The Blue Ball Inn, Countisbury, North Devon, Uk ( Map Ref: SS 747 496 )

Places visited : Exmoor, Dunkery Beacon, Horner (garden tea), Porlock and Porlock Weir.

Highest point : Dunkery Beacon. 1705 ft - 519 m.

Walked with : Ann and the dogs, Harry and Bethan.

Weather : Overcast but with sunshine on the scones for a short while (till they were eaten)

[ Alter the settings to zoom or change the Map, use Everytrail to download the Gps route ]

 Dunkery Beacon and Porlock at EveryTrail


Today we journeyed onto Exmoor and its valleys and woodlands . . . this is Lorna Doone country.

Unfortunately it has been a while since I read the book so the subtlety of any storyline was lost on me

but like Rogue Herries in the Lakes and Wuthering Heights in Dartmoor

it was a love story based around the real landscape of the area but with fictitious characters.

An old bi-lingual tourism leaflet formed a cheap and effective curtain for a local outhouse window.

This is Malmsmead . . . the building on the other side of the bridge is Lorna Doone Farm (and tearooms)

You could close your eyes and almost hear the sound of horse's hooves clattering through the ford as the heroine is carried away.

( Have I got the plot right ? )



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I'm not sure how you picture Lorna Doone

but a local wood carver

imagined her as a buxom lass . . . that's for certain.


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The Exmoor White Horse Inn, Exford.

It looks like another classic country Inn.

The small white horse statue was in fact on a building

on the opposite of the road from the hotel.


One of the purposes of our drive round today was to reach Dunkery Beacon

the highest moorland summit of Exmoor but one Ann and I have never been to

despite looking across the water at it all the time we lived in Swansea.

Parking on the moorland road . . . it's a mile to the top.
Now where are the dogs ?

Yellow gorse and purple heather.

Delightful colours, if a little faded at the end of the summer.

Looking up the Bristol Channel to where it becomes the Severn Estuary.

The large building on the distant headland is Hinkley Point Nuclear Power Station.

The white object in the foreground is Harry, enjoying the freedom of the heather . . .

well as much as we can allow him at the moment.

Bethan leads the way to the top where there is a large summit cairn.

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No gradual gathering of stones piled high by passing hill walkers

but a well built beehive cairn with a large plaque

recording the handing over of Dunkery Hill

for the benefit of the nation in 1935


Sir Thomas Ackland, Colonel Wiggin

and Allan Hughes Esq.

Thanks fellas !

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There's also a viewing table with most of the visible landmarks named.

No Harry . . . no jumping up today !

The view finder was sponsored by the Automobile Association.

Very nice of them but an unusual choice of sponsor for such a remote site.

Click here or on the photo for a large file version (to enable you to read the words yourself)

The substantial cairn gave a great view from the top . . .

Looking down on Ann and the viewing table . . .

and looking all round at the view.

Click here or on the photo above for a big value, Loweswatercam 380 degree annotated panorama.

A closer look down on Porlock Bay before we depart the summit.

The Old Mill at Horner

The very kind owners had created a permissive path up through the garden

so that people could get a closer look at the old waterwheel.


Mmmm . . . all this travelling makes us feel a little peckish . . .

Tea and Scones were on offer at the Horner Garden Tearooms.

Real Devon Cream Tea even though we were technically in Somerset.

It was a short drive from there over to Porlock Village and then down to the seafront at Porlock Weir.

Another small but famous North coast refuge for yachtsmen . . .
. . . and home for a small local fishing fleet.

The village has a rather nice looking pub . . . but we had just eaten.

There was a surprisingly good selection of artisan shops offering amongst other things

hand-made glass, crafts and up-market Ladies clothing. It also had an aquarium and a rather nice local museum.

Outside . . .
. . . and inside the single room museum.

Walking over the lock gates we ventured onto the back of the beach to an area known as Turkey Island.

Selworthy Beacon is the backdrop to Porlock Bay.

The shifting nature of the stones that make up the raised beach have caused this war-time gun emplacement to adopt a rather jaunty angle.

The timber sea walls and groins attempt to hold back the long shore drift of the stones.

This must be a difficult harbour to enter if the weather is at all unpleasant.

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On the way back to Countisbury we had three road options. The first was the free of charge Porlock Hill (on the steep 1-in-4 main road)

the second was the alternative Porlock Hill toll road (1-in-24) and the third was this . . . the Worthy toll road.

Having never heard of it before, we chanced the two pound charge on the third one.

As it turned out, seeing the thatched toll house alone was well worth the money.

It saved us a few miles too on our journey back to the Blue Ball for the last night of our stay.

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In the morning the weather had turned !

This was the first day of the Welsh Ryder Cup Tournament and the forecast for bad weather had come true.

On the way round to Swansea we diverted to the coast again to give the dogs a walk on the beach at Blue Anchor near Watchet.

One the hill to the right is the Conygar Tower, part of the Dunster Castle Estate

but what caught my eye of course was the steam train of the West Somerset Railway

The line was originally a branch of the Great Western Railway

and now runs a busy schedule of trains from Bishop Lydeard to Minehead on a daily basis.

The up train at Blue Anchor signal box . . .
. . . and entering the station.

Our short walk over, it was time to brave the weather and motorway traffic and head for the Severn Bridge and Wales.

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Technical note: Pictures taken with either Ann's Canon 75 or my Canon G10 digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . another summit achieved, albeit a smaller one.

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Previous walk - 29th September Ilfracombe & Lee Bay

A previous time here - It's been a while since we were last in this area so no photos on-line.

Next walk - 2nd to 4th October Swansea & Gower