New for 2021

7-Night Exmoor Tread Lightly Guided Walking Holiday

Porlock, Somerset, England
Duration: 7 nights
Type: Tread Lightly
Walking Grade: 2 & 3
from £715pp £590pp

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 breath taking 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.

Download Trip Notes

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.

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 - Selworthy Beacon via Cliffs, Combes & Coastal 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: 6.5 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! 

Option 1 - Prettiest Villages in Somerset

Distance: 7 miles (10.5km)

Ascent: 1,100 feet (340m)

In summary: A circular walk exploring the countryside and villages around Holnicote House. Our route takes us to the coast via the village of Bossington, returning along the wooded slopes to charming Selworthy village. 

Highlight: Selworthy village was rebuilt in 1828 by the Acland family to house the elderly workers of the Holnicote estate. The tea room is a delightful spot to relax in towards the end of the walk.

Option 2 - Lucott Farm

Distance: 9 miles (14.5km)

Ascent: 1,900 feet (580m)

In summary: A circuit visiting Horner packhorse bridge and oak woodlands en route to Lucott Farm and continuing above Hawk Combe to West Luccombe and then to Holnicote.

Highlight: The Horner packhorse bridge is the oldest in Somerset. Beautiful native woodland and moorland views.

Option 3 - Periton Hill

Distance: 11 miles (16km)

Ascent: 2,050 feet (620m)

In summary: After climbing to Webber’s Post, we will traverse the lower slopes of Dunkery Hill before passing through Wootton Courtenay and crossing over the wooded slopes above the village. We skirt Minehead before returning to Selworthy.

Highlight: The beaver enclosure on the Holnicote Estate at the start of the walk. Fantastic views and a possible tea stop on Selworthy Green.

Option 1 - Pop into Porlock

Distance: 5.5 miles (8.5km) 

Ascent: 540 feet (160m)

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 - Exploring North Hill

Distance: 8.5 miles (13.5km)

Ascent: 1,700 feet (520m)

In Summary: A circular walk exploring the eastern end of North Hill. We ascend gradually to the top of North Hill, where we have the opportunity to explore the remains of WWII tank training grounds before descending to return to the house via Lady Acland’s hut.

Highlight: The whole of North Hill was requisitioned by the military during WWII to train British, Canadian and American troops in operating tanks. Traces of where they lived and trained still remain, if you know where to look!

Option 3 - Lucott Farm via Tarr Bull

Distance: 11 miles (17.5km)

Ascent: 2,400 feet (740m)

In Summary: After passing through Horner Wood and following the upper reaches of Horner Water we will emerge onto Tarr Ball Hill with extensive views over Nutscale reservoir and open moorland. We then pass Lucott Farm and return above Hawk Combe.

Highlight: Horner Wood National Nature Reserve and fantastic views across wide open Exmoor moorland.

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

Distance: 9 miles (14.5km)

Ascent: 1,900 feet (580m)

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 - Villages, Beach, Selworthy Beacon and Coastal path

Distance: 11 miles (17.5km)

Ascent: 1,600 feet (500m)

In Summary: A longer circuit through the Holnicote Estate takes us to the coast at Hurlstone Point, then along the ridge over Selworthy Beacon. Eventually we descend from North Hill and return via Selworthy village.

Highlight: Enjoy the great views from the top of Selworthy Beacon - on a clear day you can see across the Bristol Channel to the Brecon Beacons.

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

As we slowly reopen in the wake of the Coronavirus lockdown, our country house stays are set to be organised a little differently; extra steps have been taken to keep our guests, house teams and leaders safe while we return to action. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

Initially the overall capacity of the houses has been reduced. Guests must wear face coverings in public spaces. To adhere to social distancing guidelines, we have taken the necessary steps to space out furniture and seating in public areas. In addition, a one-way system will be in place around the house. Adequate signage will be displayed to support the direction of travel to be followed by guests and house teams.

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 have removed all non-essential and reusable items from our rooms for the meantime including cushions, hairdryers, bathrobes, bed throws, and printed materials to reduce the number of items that need to be disinfected. Hairdryers will be available on request. Clean towels will be available on request. 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.

For now, there is no cream tea on arrival day. We have also adapted our food offering to remove all buffets and open food items. Different sittings may be required for breakfast and dinner due to the occupancy and size of the house. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. The bar in each country house will be open, and we will be offering a table service for drinks. At this time there is no, or only a very limited, evening social programme available. Outdoor swimming pools at those houses that have them will re-open throughout August, except at Freshwater Bay House, where the pool will remain closed for 2020. Indoor swimming pools will remain closed.

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


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 Good, Better and Best Rooms to choose from: 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, 4 or 9 to feel suitably special.

All ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ and ‘Best’ 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.


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. Take a dip in the large heated outdoor pool. For something less strenuous, 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.

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. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at Holnicote House is hearty and has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Once a week the wood panelled dining room with its giant fireplace hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might try classic Porlock oysters or Priddy Oggies, a local pasty of chicken, bacon and cheese. Mains might include Exmoor venison or Bellbrook valley trout, while you could cap it all with a Somerset apple cake, dressed with cream.


For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865

10684_0056 Holnicote House - Exterior

Getting to Holnicote House

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

More Information

What to Bring

“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.


  • 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.


  • 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

All holidays are subject to availability. Prices are subject to change.
Prices based on two people sharing. Supplements may apply.
Non-member fee: £20 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
26 Feb - 05 Mar
7 Tread Lightly £715 £590 Save £125 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
02 Apr - 09 Apr
7 Tread Lightly £799 £699 Save £100 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
10 Jul - 17 Jul
7 Tread Lightly £885 £810 Save £75 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
21 Aug - 28 Aug
7 Tread Lightly £885 £785 Save £100 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
11 Sep - 18 Sep
7 Tread Lightly £885 £810 Save £75 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
24 Sep - 01 Oct
7 Tread Lightly £799 £724 Save £75 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
05 Nov - 12 Nov
7 Tread Lightly £715 Unavailable to Book Unavailable Trip Notes
7 nights
Tread Lightly
Walking Grade:

7 nights from £715pp £590pp

New for 2021

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