Exmoor may be the smallest of England’s National Parks, but its marvellous diversity of landscape makes it the equal of any other part of the British Isles. Straddling both West Somerset and North Devon, Exmoor encompasses the best that the West Country has to offer; colourful heather-clad hillsides, sun-dappled oak woodlands, quiet river valleys, a splendid coastline and a wealth of unspoilt villages.

Exmoor is home to the last of England’s native red deer herds; its rivers are noted for their salmon and wild trout, and hawks soar above the hillsides. Otters, once persecuted almost to extinction, are making a welcome return to the rivers and native wild ponies still roam the moor.

Our walks will take us to Dunkery Beacon and Selworthy Beacon, Exmoor’s finest viewpoints; along Badgworthy Water and through the Doone Valley to the famous beauty spot of Watersmeet; and along the wooded valley of the river Barle to visit Tarr Steps, an ancient clapper bridge. We shall contour around Bossington Hill with its far reaching views along the coast and visit the moorland hamlet of Stoke Pero with its tiny church and a touching memorial to an uncomplaining donkey.

The villages of Exmoor stand comparison with any in the land and we shall visit a number of the most picturesque such as Bossington; Allerford, with its famous mediaeval packhorse bridge; Selworthy with its whitewashed church and beautiful thatched cottages clustered around a verdant village green; Horner with its welcome tea garden; and lonely Oare where the church provided the setting for the wedding of Lorna Doone and Jan Ridd in R.D. Blackmore’s classic tale of brigands and smugglers.

The medieval village of Dunster, our base for the tour, has a splendid castle, original high street and 17th century yarnmarket. We stay at the 15th century Luttrell Arms [AA/RAC***] in the centre of Dunster. Originally built as a guest house for the monks of Cleeve Abbey, and always a favourite with guests from abroad. The Luttrell Arms has just undergone a major refurbishment but has lost none of its period charm, whilst enhancing its already excellent standard of comfort and cuisine. The restaurant holds an RAC dining award for its food. All bedrooms have ensuite facilities.

Rail: Taunton
Onward travel: Bus or private railway (West Somerset Steam Railway).

What’s Included in the Tour?

  • Accommodation in an ensuite room (private bathroom)
  • Choice of full cooked breakfast or Continental breakfast
  • Picnic lunch to carry on the walks
  • Evening meal; three courses, plus coffee. Vegetarian choices are always available, and we are able to accommodate other dietary requirements upon request.
  • Services of a resident leader
  • A programme of guided walks
  • Any transport necessary for the walking programme
  • VAT at 17.5%.

Our prices are based on guests sharing a twin or double-bedded room, however, we do appreciate that the majority of guests travelling alone prefer their own room, so we do try to obtain as many single occupancies as possible. When the room is a genuine ‘single’ we do not charge a supplement. Single occupancy of a double room does attract a supplement, which we try to keep to a minimum.

Where and when do the tours start and finish?
You are based at a single hotel for the duration of the tour. The tour commences at the hotel with the evening meal on the first day and finish after breakfast on the final day, apart from Easter which finishes after a light tea on the Monday afternoon. You must make your own way to the hotel, and are responsible for making your own travel arrangements.

The day begins with a leisurely breakfast, which is usually available from 8am (earlier at some hotels). After breakfast we set out on our walk (or take the minicoach to the start of the day’s walk) at around 9.30am. We walk until around 4.30pm, taking a 15-20 minute break during the morning and afternoon and a break of around 40 minutes to eat our picnic lunch. Additionally, we have plenty of time to admire views, take photographs, and explore villages. We return to base at around 5.00pm, which allows plenty of time to change and relax before dinner (generally served at around 7.00pm). We do not timetable any evening ‘entertainment’ as we usually find that the multinational make-up of our groups makes for an interesting and sociable evening in its own right.

On the six and seven night tours there is a free day on the Wednesday to enable you to take a rest or pursue your own activities. Your leader and the hotel will be pleased to make suggestions for possible visits, and to help you to find out about public transport if needed.

How big are the groups, and who are my fellow guests likely to be?
Our groups are small in size, the maximum number of guests is usually around sixteen, plus the leader. The groups generally consist of a mix of new clients and ‘regulars’ from the United Kingdom and worldwide. This provides the already informal atmosphere with an interesting variety of cultures and viewpoints, which we feel adds greatly to the experience for all concerned. We are very proud that 80% of our guests return to join further holidays. Several people have now exceeded fifty tours! We feel that our tours are equally well suited for married couples, friends travelling together or single guests. It would be most unusual for someone to find themselves as the only ‘single’ on a tour.