7-Night Exmoor Tread Lightly Guided Walking Holiday

Dunkery Beacon on Exmoor
Duration: 7 nights
Type: Tread Lightly
Walking Grade: 2 & 3

We are all well-versed in ‘leaving no trace’ but now we invite you to join us in taking it to the next level with our new Tread Lightly walks. We have pulled together a series of spectacular walks which do not use transport, reducing our carbon footprint while still exploring the best landscapes that Exmoor have to offer. You will still enjoy the choice of three top-quality walks of different grades as well as the warm welcome of a HF country house, all with the added peace of mind that you are doing your part in protecting our incredible British countryside. The sweeping hills, wooded combes and glorious seascapes of the Exmoor National Park reward every footstep with an astonishing range of landscapes and moods to enjoy. Vibrant yellow gorse, purple heather, wild ponies and red deer meet a backdrop of huge blue skies and seas, adding a colourful variety to our Guided Walks.

Holiday Highlights

  • Enjoy breathtaking walks from the doors of our country house
  • Discover the 'model village' of Selworthy, with its collection of 'chocolate box' thatched cottages
  • Enjoy the views from the top of Dunkery Beacon - they make the ascent well worth it!
  • Explore beautiful native woodland and moorland views

What’s included

  • High quality en-suite accommodation in our country house
  • Full board from dinner upon arrival to breakfast on departure day
  • 5 days guided walking; 1 free day
  • Use of our comprehensive Discovery Point
  • Choice of up to three guided walks each walking day
  • The services of HF Holidays Walking Leaders

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

On our Guided Walking holidays, we believe that choice is key. Our walks descriptions will help you choose according to your interests and fitness. The walks are grouped together with care by local experts to give the best experience. While every effort will be made to adhere to the described itinerary, we may occasionally vary the sequence shown here or substitute an alternative route to suit local conditions or for other operational reasons, potentially at short notice.

You're welcome to check in from 4pm onwards.

Enjoy a complimentary Afternoon Tea on arrival.


Option 1 - Hurlstone Point, Bossington and Selworthy

Distance: 6 miles (9.5km)

Ascent: 800 feet (240m)  

In Summary: Walk to the charming villages of Allerford and Bossington, before continuing to the coast at Hurlstone Point. Our return route traverses the wooded slopes to Selworthy village, with time to explore.

Highlight: Wander through the once extensive Holnicote Estate to the 'model village' of Selworthy, with its collection of 'chocolate box' thatched cottages. 

Option 2 - The Beacon & Bratton

Distance: 9 miles (14.5km)

Ascent: 1,750 feet (560m)

In Summary: Our circuit from Holnicote House ascends through the woods to the top of Selworthy Beacon. Having followed the hill-top path we'll return through the fields to Selworthy village.

Highlight: Discover St Agnes Fountain, a small spring dating from 1820, hidden in the beautiful wooded slopes of Selworthy Beacon.

Option 3 - Somerset Coast Path

Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Ascent: 1,300 feet (380m) 

In Summary: Head through the woods to Hurlstone Point, then along the rugged coastal path that meanders along the northern slopes of Selworthy Beacon. We'll then ascend onto the summit and return via Selworthy village.

Highlight: This section of the coast path has a real 'away from it all' feel as it traverses around three deep combes above the sea.


Option 1 - East of Holnicote

Distance: 6 1⁄2 miles (10.5km)

Ascent: 1,100 feet (340m)

In Summary: An interesting circular walk exploring the countryside to the east of Holnicote House. Our route takes us through the pretty village of Luccombe, along the foot of Dunkery Hill and returning via the charming Selworthy village.

Highlight: Selworthy village was rebuilt in 1828 by the Acland family to house the elderly workers of the Holnicote estate.

Option 2 - Porlock and the Coast

Distance: 7.5 miles (12km)

Ascent: 1,250 feet (380m)

In Summary: A varied circuit from the house taking in the historic village of Porlock on the way to the coast. Then a modest climb to Hurlstone Point before returning through picture post-card villages to the house.

Highlight: Coastal views and shingle beach at Bossington and the old Coastguard Station viewpoint at Hurlstone Point.

Option 3 - Dunkery Beacon & Great Rowbarrow

Distance: 11 miles (17.5km)

Ascent: 2,000 feet (620m)

In Summary: A strenuous circular walk visiting the highest point on Exmoor and Somerset. The descent takes us past the tiny Stoke Pero Church, the highest church on Exmoor, and back through Horner Woods alongside Horner Water.

Highlight: There are great views from the top of Dunkery Beacon making the ascent well worth the effort! 


The day has been left free for you to relax or explore the local area.


Option 1 - Exploring Horner Hill

Distance:  miles (9km)

Ascent: 1000 feet (300m) 

In Summary: This circuit from the house takes you through the pretty village of Horner, and then in to Hrner Wood and Horner Hill, before heading back to the house.

Highlight: The village of Horner and Horner Hill

Option 2 - The Beacon & Bratton

Distance: 9 miles (14.5km)

Ascent: 1,750 feet (560m)

In Summary: Our circuit from Holnicote House ascends through the woods to the top of Selworthy Beacon. Having followed the hill-top path we'll return through the fields to Selworthy village.

Highlight: Discover St Agnes Fountain, a small spring dating from 1820, hidden in the beautiful wooded slopes of Selworthy Beacon.

Option 3 - Periton Hill

Distance: 11 miles (17km) 

Ascent: 2,050 feet (620m)

In Summary: Walk from Holnicote House, taking in the village of Selworthy, the edge of Minehead, before heading through Periton Hill woods, before circling back through Luccombe village and back to the house.

Highlight: Take in the lovely villages of Selworthy and Luccombe.


Option 1 - Pop into Porlock

Distance: 5.5 miles (8.5km) 

Ascent: 750 feet (230m)

In Summary: This is a relaxed circular walk across fields and minor roads to visit Porlock and then back along the coast and through the charming villages of Bossington and Allerford.

Highlight: The village of Porlock is a great place to visit with it's church, museum, shops and cafes. On the way back we visit the much photographed packhorse bridge at Allerford.

Option 2 - Porlock and the Coast

Distance: 7.5 miles (12km)

Ascent: 1,250 feet (380m)

In Summary: A varied circuit from the house taking in the historic village of Porlock on the way to the coast. Then a modest climb to Hurlstone Point before returning through picture post-card villages to the house.

Highlight: Coastal views and shingle beach at Bossington and the old Coastguard Station viewpoint at Hurlstone Point.

Option 3 - Somerset Coast Path

Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Ascent: 1,300 feet (380m) 

In Summary: Head through the woods to Hurlstone Point, then along the rugged coastal path that meanders along the northern slopes of Selworthy Beacon. We'll then ascend onto the summit and return via Selworthy village.

Highlight: This section of the coast path has a real 'away from it all' feel as it traverses around three deep combes above the sea.


Option 1 - Selworthy and its Beacon

Distance: 5 miles (8km)  

Ascent: 1,100 feet (340m)

In summary: We pass through Allerford, famous for it’s picturesque pack horse bridge then continue to Lynch and the old Chapel. We then start our ascent to Selworthy Beacon through woodland, finally emerging to cross moorland to the trig point at the Beacon. After taking in the views across to the Welsh coast line, we descend via Selworthy village where we can explore the white-washed church and thatched cottages huddled around the green. Then it’s time to make our way back to the House via an old cobbled track.

Highlight: Spectacular views from Selworthy Beacon, to Nash Point Lighthouse, the Quantocks and beyond on a clear day. 

Option 2 - Dunkery Beacon Circuit

Distance: 9 miles (14.5km)

Ascent: 1,900 feet (600m)

In Summary: This is a circular walk visiting the highest point on Exmoor and Somerset. The walk takes us through woodland and then moorland to Dunkery Beacon and returns on a meandering path alongside the delightful river Horner.

Highlight: The views from the top of Dunkery Beacon are fabulous. The tea room at Horner is also a welcome stopping off point.

Option 3 - Dunkery Beacon & Great Rowbarrow

Distance: 11 miles (17.5km)

Ascent: 2,000 feet (620m)

In Summary: A strenuous circular walk visiting the highest point on Exmoor and Somerset. The descent takes us past the tiny Stoke Pero Church, the highest church on Exmoor, and back through Horner Woods alongside Horner Water.

Highlight: There are great views from the top of Dunkery Beacon making the ascent well worth the effort! 


Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home.


You're welcome to check in from 4pm onwards.

Enjoy a complimentary Afternoon Tea on arrival.


Option 1 - Exploring Horner Hill

Distance:  miles (9km)

Ascent: 1000 feet (300m) 

In Summary: This circuit from the house takes you through the pretty village of Horner, and then in to Hrner Wood and Horner Hill, before heading back to the house.

Highlight: The village of Horner and Horner Hill

Option 2 - The Beacon & Bratton

Distance: 9 miles (14.5km)

Ascent: 1,750 feet (560m)

In Summary: Our circuit from Holnicote House ascends through the woods to the top of Selworthy Beacon. Having followed the hill-top path we'll return through the fields to Selworthy village.

Highlight: Discover St Agnes Fountain, a small spring dating from 1820, hidden in the beautiful wooded slopes of Selworthy Beacon.

Option 3 - Periton Hill

Distance: 11 miles (17km) 

Ascent: 2,050 feet (620m)

In Summary: Walk from Holnicote House, taking in the village of Selworthy, the edge of Minehead, before heading through Periton Hill woods, before circling back through Luccombe village and back to the house.

Highlight: Take in the lovely villages of Selworthy and Luccombe.


Option 1 - Pop into Porlock

Distance: 5.5 miles (8.5km) 

Ascent: 750 feet (230m)

In Summary: This is a relaxed circular walk across fields and minor roads to visit Porlock and then back along the coast and through the charming villages of Bossington and Allerford.

Highlight: The village of Porlock is a great place to visit with it's church, museum, shops and cafes. On the way back we visit the much photographed packhorse bridge at Allerford.

Option 2 - Porlock and the Coast

Distance: 7.5 miles (12km)

Ascent: 1,250 feet (380m)

In Summary: A varied circuit from the house taking in the historic village of Porlock on the way to the coast. Then a modest climb to Hurlstone Point before returning through picture post-card villages to the house.

Highlight: Coastal views and shingle beach at Bossington and the old Coastguard Station viewpoint at Hurlstone Point.

Option 3 - Somerset Coast Path

Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Ascent: 1,300 feet (380m) 

In Summary: Head through the woods to Hurlstone Point, then along the rugged coastal path that meanders along the northern slopes of Selworthy Beacon. We'll then ascend onto the summit and return via Selworthy village.

Highlight: This section of the coast path has a real 'away from it all' feel as it traverses around three deep combes above the sea.


Option 1 - Selworthy and its Beacon

Distance: 5 miles (8km)  

Ascent: 1,100 feet (340m)

In summary: We pass through Allerford, famous for it’s picturesque pack horse bridge then continue to Lynch and the old Chapel. We then start our ascent to Selworthy Beacon through woodland, finally emerging to cross moorland to the trig point at the Beacon. After taking in the views across to the Welsh coast line, we descend via Selworthy village where we can explore the white-washed church and thatched cottages huddled around the green. Then it’s time to make our way back to the House via an old cobbled track.

Highlight: Spectacular views from Selworthy Beacon, to Nash Point Lighthouse, the Quantocks and beyond on a clear day. 

Option 2 - Dunkery Beacon Circuit

Distance: 9 miles (14.5km)

Ascent: 1,900 feet (600m)

In Summary: This is a circular walk visiting the highest point on Exmoor and Somerset. The walk takes us through woodland and then moorland to Dunkery Beacon and returns on a meandering path alongside the delightful river Horner.

Highlight: The views from the top of Dunkery Beacon are fabulous. The tea room at Horner is also a welcome stopping off point.

Option 3 - Dunkery Beacon & Great Rowbarrow

Distance: 11 miles (17.5km)

Ascent: 2,000 feet (620m)

In Summary: A strenuous circular walk visiting the highest point on Exmoor and Somerset. The descent takes us past the tiny Stoke Pero Church, the highest church on Exmoor, and back through Horner Woods alongside Horner Water.

Highlight: There are great views from the top of Dunkery Beacon making the ascent well worth the effort! 


The day has been left free for you to relax or explore the local area.


Option 1 - Hurlstone Point, Bossington and Selworthy

Distance: 6 miles (9.5km)

Ascent: 800 feet (240m)  

In Summary: Walk to the charming villages of Allerford and Bossington, before continuing to the coast at Hurlstone Point. Our return route traverses the wooded slopes to Selworthy village, with time to explore.

Highlight: Wander through the once extensive Holnicote Estate to the 'model village' of Selworthy, with its collection of 'chocolate box' thatched cottages. 

Option 2 - The Beacon & Bratton

Distance: 9 miles (14.5km)

Ascent: 1,750 feet (560m)

In Summary: Our circuit from Holnicote House ascends through the woods to the top of Selworthy Beacon. Having followed the hill-top path we'll return through the fields to Selworthy village.

Highlight: Discover St Agnes Fountain, a small spring dating from 1820, hidden in the beautiful wooded slopes of Selworthy Beacon.

Option 3 - Somerset Coast Path

Distance: 10 miles (16km)

Ascent: 1,300 feet (380m) 

In Summary: Head through the woods to Hurlstone Point, then along the rugged coastal path that meanders along the northern slopes of Selworthy Beacon. We'll then ascend onto the summit and return via Selworthy village.

Highlight: This section of the coast path has a real 'away from it all' feel as it traverses around three deep combes above the sea.


Option 1 - East of Holnicote

Distance: 6 1⁄2 miles (10.5km)

Ascent: 1,100 feet (340m)

In Summary: An interesting circular walk exploring the countryside to the east of Holnicote House. Our route takes us through the pretty village of Luccombe, along the foot of Dunkery Hill and returning via the charming Selworthy village.

Highlight: Selworthy village was rebuilt in 1828 by the Acland family to house the elderly workers of the Holnicote estate.

Option 2 - Porlock and the Coast

Distance: 7.5 miles (12km)

Ascent: 1,250 feet (380m)

In Summary: A varied circuit from the house taking in the historic village of Porlock on the way to the coast. Then a modest climb to Hurlstone Point before returning through picture post-card villages to the house.

Highlight: Coastal views and shingle beach at Bossington and the old Coastguard Station viewpoint at Hurlstone Point.

Option 3 - Dunkery Beacon & Great Rowbarrow

Distance: 11 miles (17.5km)

Ascent: 2,000 feet (620m)

In Summary: A strenuous circular walk visiting the highest point on Exmoor and Somerset. The descent takes us past the tiny Stoke Pero Church, the highest church on Exmoor, and back through Horner Woods alongside Horner Water.

Highlight: There are great views from the top of Dunkery Beacon making the ascent well worth the effort! 


Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home.


Holnicote House

Lying near the attractive village of Selworthy, in the heart of the Exmoor National Park, historic Holnicote House stands within a series of peaceful gardens with spreading lawns. Once the centrepiece of an extensive 12,500 acre estate, the charming and characterful house was gifted to the National Trust in 1944. Since then it has been reimagined as a walkers’ retreat, with wonderful access to the countryside. As well as 32 delightful bedrooms, there are two comfortable lounges and a sociable bar. The landscaped gardens are still part of the wider Holnicote Estate and provide a wonderful area to wander. Outside the house, explore wild Exmoor, walk in the Quantocks, climb Dunkery Beacon and stroll on the Somerset Coast Path with the opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, drop in Dunster Castle, ride a Victorian cliff railway and watch for wildlife including the majestic red stags.

Need to know

Important Covid-19 steps we have taken for guest safety: Please Read

We are continuing to take extra steps to keep our guests leaders, and staff safe in our HF country houses. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

The English, Scottish and Welsh governments are not in sync, so measures in our country houses will vary between the nations. With the relaxation of social distancing in England, from 19 July we will be allowing larger groups to dine and relax in the bar together. However, we will still give guests space e.g. we will seat 6 people at a table where pre-pandemic we may have seated 8. We will ensure our public rooms are well ventilated by opening doors and windows wherever possible. If you have any concerns about distancing, please speak to the House Manager. The government recommendation for England is to wear face coverings in crowded areas. You must wear a face covering by law in public areas in hotels in Scotland. This is mandatory in public spaces; however, face coverings will not be required whilst eating and drinking in the restaurant and bar areas or whilst you are outside our houses. In Wales face coverings will remain a legal requirement indoors, with the exception of hospitality premises.

As a temporary measure, we will not be servicing rooms during a stay. Extra tea, coffee, milk, and toiletries will be made available on request for all guests. It is recommended that guests bring their own toiletries for the duration of their stay. We will though be increasing the frequency of cleaning in our public areas providing particular attention to frequently touched items including door handles and handrails.

Menus for the week will be available in your room on arrival. A self-service breakfast will be served from 7.45am – 9am. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. Evening meals will be table service. A dinner order form will be available in each room for completion. Dinner is served at either 7.15pm or 7.30pm. Please check at the house for details. The bar will be open. We will be offering a table service but guests can also come to the bar to order (depending on local restrictions).

Join our team after dinner on Wednesday evenings for the HF Big Pub Quiz. There will be one other evening of entertainment at the start of the week, which will vary depending on the country house that you are staying at. Our Walk Leaders will also be on hand in the bar or lounge for individual or small group walks talks briefings, which allow guests to talk through the following day’s walk options and ask any questions. Swimming pools will be operated in line with maximum capacities.

For more information and to see all the steps taken, visit our page on how house stays will be adapted.

Rooms

Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in one of the main building’s bright, beautifully presented rooms or in the thatched cottages in the grounds, called Butlers and Guns respectively. With 32 bedrooms, Holnicote House has plenty of space and there’s a range of Classic, Premium and Superior Rooms to choose from: the best rooms are on the first floor and decorated in keeping with the National Trust estate, with plenty of space and great views over the back garden, reaching out across Crawter Hill and Dunkery Hill, Somerset and Exmoor’s highest point. Ask for numbers 1 or 4 to feel suitably special.

All ‘Classic' rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Premium’ and ‘Superior’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress and larger television – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-25 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.

Facilities

Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, attractive garden, outdoor swimming pool, multi-purpose activity room, lounge, library and board games to borrow

After a day walking on Exmoor or exploring the heath and moorland, come back to the house and its specially tailored walkers’ facilities. Relax by sitting in the pretty gardens or challenge a fellow guest to a game of croquet. For something equally relaxing, snag a comfy chair in one of the cosy lounges, borrow a book, join a game of cards or scour the countryside through the large telescope. Head to the bar before dinner for a drink and a chance to catch up with your companions, best enjoyed by the windows overlooking the estate. Please note, the large heated outdoor pool will be out of service during the 2022 season in order to allow for extensive repairs.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Food at Holnicote House is varied with a strong emphasis on the use of seasonal British produce. Our experienced chefs create each dish using only the freshest ingredients and, when in season, use home grown herbs and vegetables taken from our own gardens to give a true taste of the local area.

Accessibility

For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865 or view the accessibility information online for Holnicote House

10684_0056 Holnicote House - Exterior

Getting to Holnicote House

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

Essential Information

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong type of clothing!” goes the adage. Come prepared for all eventualities and you’ll walk in comfort as well as safety. Britain’s famous for its changeable weather, so here’s our advice on what to wear and bring.

Essentials

  • Waterproof walking boots providing ankle support and good grip.
  • A waterproof jacket and over-trousers
  • Gloves and a warm hat (it can be chilly at any time of the year)
  • Rucksack
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre capacity)
  • A small torch (everywhere in winter, year round in mountains)
  • Sun hat and sunscreen
    Denim jeans and waterproof capes are not suitable on any walks.

Recommended

  • Several layers of clothing, which can be added or removed
  • Specialist walking socks to avoid blisters.
  • A first aid kit inc plasters– your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication
  • Sit mat (insulated pad to sit on when you stop for a break)

You might also want

  • Walking poles, particularly useful for descents.
  • Insect repellent
  • Flask for hot drinks
  • Rigid lunch box
  • Gaiters
  • Blister kit (eg Compeed) just in case
  • Waterproof rucksack liner

Guest Reviews

Duration:
7 nights
Type:
Tread Lightly
Walking Grade:
2

Fully Booked

020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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