Exploring woodland, fields, and moorland, this 11km loop walk from Wheddon Cross to Dunkery Beacon was a great introduction to walking on Exmoor.
I started and finished at the hamlet of Wheddon Cross, 299m above sea level, which had a mural covered public toilet, a pub, and a war memorial.
Thankfully the route didn’t go down this very over grown footpath, though some of the ones later on weren’t far off. I was glad to be wearing trousers and a long sleeved shirt to protect from ever present stinging nettles and brambles.
I headed along this road instead, before dropping down to leaf and then bracken lined footpaths.
There was plenty of signage at every junction, essential as there were so many junctions! Walking in Europe is quite different to New Zealand, where there usually few options other than the main path.
Foxgloves were a common sight.
After about an hour I started to climb out of the woods across fields of bracken, with gorse starting to appear.
I then headed up through moorland, home to a few cattle, thankfully at some distance.
There were some big views behind as I steadily climbed.
The moorland is covered with heather with purple flowers.
More views as I headed higher.
Before reaching Dunkery Beacon, which at 519m above sea level is the highest point on Exmoor and one of the highest in southern England, beaten only by a few spots in Dartmoor to the south.
From here there were views across the Bristol Channel to southern Wales, though it was somewhat hazy so these photos are looking inland.
It was then back down the hill, leaving the beacon before a couple of groups arrived. It was quite busy up there but otherwise I saw less than half a dozen people all day.
There was a short section of road walking before returning to footpaths, and this sign warning about a suspected adder (Britain’s only poisonous snake) biting a dog.
There were a few houses and this little used public phone box at Luckwell Bridge before the final stretch through fields back to Wheddon Cross.